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New Law Targets Dangers Aboard Cruise Ships

December 1, 2010

Cruising is one of America’s favorite vacations, but there are cruise safety issues that have been ignored for years. Missing persons, assaults, child molestations, rapes and unexplained deaths are things that have occurred on cruise ship lines, yet are rarely reported to the public.

Last year, 349 cruise ship incidents were reported to the FBI including 32 “serious crimes”, one death, three missing persons, twenty sexual assaults and six assaults with great bodily injury. Additionally, an FBI database available on sun-sentinel.com shows 363 incidents reported between December 2007 and October 2008. Just a few weeks ago a woman was found dead aboard the Carnival Liberty which is based out of Miami. Between 1999 and 2007, the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office reported 97 cruise ship deaths, while the Miami Dade County Medical Examiners Office reports 33 deaths between 2004 and 2007 alone.

Jurisdiction has always been an issue for crimes committed on cruise ships. AOL News reports that as of next year, a new federal law called the Cruise Vessel and Safety Act of 2010 will give the FBI authority over crimes that occur on ships that have docked at U.S. Ports. This new law will be fully implemented 18 months from July 27th, however parts of it will begin to be enforced next year. The U.S Secretary of Transportation will create guidelines to carry out enforcement and new training standards for personnel will begin next summer.
AOL News reports that the new law will require the following:
• Peep holes and security latches on all passenger and crew doors
• Electronic video surveillance that documents crimes to be made available to law enforcement
• Passenger security guides with information on reporting crimes to U.S. law enforcement
• Limits on crew access to passenger cabins
• Staff with knowledge and equipment to perform rape exams
• Free and immediate access to law enforcement
• Prompt reporting of crimes, which must be contained in a log

This new law will help to bring justice to crimes committed on cruise ships as well as implement safety precautions for passengers.

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