Sadly, sexual assault does occur on cruise ships. In order to protect passengers, Congress passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010. According to this law, all criminal activity must be reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Cruise Passenger Protection Act, passed in 2017, is an international cruise line passenger bill of rights. It was also adopted by the members of the Cruise Lines International Association.
What To Do If You Are A Victim Of Sexual Assault On A Cruise Ship
Danger On Board
Being under the influence of alcohol makes a person more likely to become a victim of sexual assault. There are a lot of bars on cruise ships, many open very late into the early hours of the morning. Passengers who are trying to return to their cabins are at a higher risk of being sexually assaulted because of their vulnerable state when they walk back to their cabins.
But minors are also extremely likely to be assaulted while on a cruise. This is because they are seen as vulnerable by predatory crew members, or other drunk passengers. There is a lot of dark, contained spaces on cruise ships where these horrific acts are committed. Families consider cruises to be safe and will let teenagers roam the ship on their own. While many times this is fine, sometimes it can lead to a traumatic event for the victim.
Reporting Sexual Assault On A Cruise Ship
According to the Cruise Line Incident Report, which is compiled by the Department of Transportation and updated quarterly, the following alleged criminal activity occurred onboard cruise vessels between January 1, 2020, and March 31, 2020:
- There were 9 alleged incidents of sexual assault involving passengers that occurred onboard Carnival Cruise Line ships
- 3 assaults involving passengers occurred on Norwegian Cruise Lines
- 1 case of sexual assault involving a passenger was alleged on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Celebrity Cruise Lines
- 1 crewmember on Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines and one from Celebrity Cruise Lines reported being sexually assaulted
- Carnival Cruise lines had the most incidents of sexual assault, with a total of 10. Norwegian Cruise lines had a total of 4, Celebrity Cruise Lines had 2 and Royal Caribbean had 2 in total as well.
- Often the victims were under the age of 18.
However, the real numbers may be much higher because the incident may have been reported as a lesser crime, often because of how egregious a crime rape is. Cruise lines have an incentive to make the public believe that they provide a safe and fun vacation for all passengers. For example, in January 2007 the Los Angeles Times published an article reporting that there were 250 sexual assault incident incidents on Royal Caribbean cruises during a 30 month period. It’s important to remember that these are cases that have been reported, so there is no way to know for sure how many others occurred where the victims got no recourse whatsoever.
One of the biggest issues with reporting is that there is no clear law enforcement on a cruise ship. A cruise ship may be sailing in waters across the globe from where the company is headquartered, so that raises the question of who the practical authority is.
If You Are A Victim Of Sexual Assault On A Cruise Ship
If your rights have been violated, or your child’s, then you must contact a cruise ship rape lawyer immediately to defend your rights.