DOT Releases Statistics of Serious Crimes on Cruise Ships

Cruise Ship Accidents/Injuries
Cruise Ship Assault

By Zac Pingle, Staff Writer

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has recently released information regarding serious crimes in on cruise ships as a part of required legislation passed in 2014.

The statistics show a shocking jump in crime rates on cruise ships. Specifically, the latest numbers show a 408 percent increase in serious crimes within the first six months of 2016. Further statistics show:

  • One homicide occurred this year.

  • Five suspicious deaths have occurred.

  • Three missing US nationals.

  • Nine assaults involving a serious injury.

  • Four thefts of more than $10,000.

  • 39 cases of sexual assault.

In previous years, the responsibility of reporting crimes aboard cruise lines was shared by the FBI, the US Coast Guard, and the cruise lines themselves. However, this system resulted in varied statistics that were sometimes not available to the public. Thanks to the Cruise Passenger Protection Act (CPPA), statistics are now far more accurate and are available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. This may explain the sudden jump in crime statistics, as crimes are now more thoroughly recorded.

Kendall Carver, founder of the International Cruise Victims Association and pioneer of the CPPA, stated “If you go back three years ago, when we raised the question with the FBI: ‘What are you going to do if someone is raped on the high seas?’ The answer was ‘nothing.’ Now they are doing something.”

Further protections have also been provided to passengers under the CPPA. According to the bill, there is a new four-hour limit in which cruise ships must report a crime to the FBI. Furthermore, cruise ship crime victims will have access to video surveillance records, cruise lines will be required to have a trained physician on board, and will allow families of a deceased crime victim to request a return of the deceased remains.

Cruise ship accident and assault attorney Jack Hickey stated: “Transparency is a good start, but victims who have been assaulted or killed on cruise ships also deserve compensation when the cruise lines fail to protect their passengers.”

Representative Doris Matsui sponsored the CPPA, and stated “I have advocated for this type of reporting for years, because people deserve to have access to information that impacts the safety of themselves and their families.”

“The disclosure of crimes, and the FBI follow-up, are the most significant things we’ve accomplished. It means you can finally see what crimes are occurring on these ships… We can finally start getting valid numbers,” said Carver.

Currently, the DOT gathers reports from nine specific cruise lines, which are:

  • Carnival

  • Celebration

  • Celebrity

  • Disney

  • Holland America

  • Mediterranean Shipping

  • Norwegian

  • Princess

  • Royal Caribbean

Add new comment