Thursday, July 20, 2017

Crimes on Cruises

Related imageGoing on a cruise? What those enticing advertisements don’t tell you is that it is almost impossible to get justice if a crime happened on any of these ships. Who is the cruise ship police and what country or state do you prosecute the criminals even if you can prove that the crime was committed? None of these issues are ever discussed in their flashy advertisements full of good times and pleasure but in reality crimes do happen in the confines of a cruise ship. Cruise ship crimes poses jurisdictional challenges. Days at sea is always relaxing and pleasurable until you get raped at sea. Sexual assault is easy to happen since everyone is drinking or just simply in a romantic mood until the advances get to be too extreme and unwanted or violent. History shows that when victims get assaulted at sea they get nowhere on land. Many reported cases get barely investigated or never get prosecuted.
One of the main reason cases do not get prosecuted is because it is unclear what place has jurisdiction. For example say the cruise ship leaves from North Africa, then the crime happens in international waters in the Atlantic Ocean, then gets reported in a stop in Italy but the cruise line is registered in the Bahamas with its headquarters in Miami. Compound that confusion and add to it that the victim is a British citizen living in the United States. This mess amounts to a jurisdictional no man’s land. The FBI admits that on board cruise crimes are hard to investigate Law enforcement doesn’t have immediate access to the ships, they don’t have access to the crime scene or access to witnesses. Well then maybe it is time the United Nations addressed this issue and that there should be an international police force to be present on every cruise ship. These massive vessels hold about 5,000 drunken horny passengers on every trip and like the airlines, ships are constantly traveling the oceans with new boat loads of people every day.
It is important to report crimes of rape and kidnapping and murder. Last year 92 of these crimes were reported and 62 additional sexual assaults in the United States. What is being reported in other countries and parts of the world? Unfortunately rape, kidnapping and murder is a universal thing among humans all over the world. These terrible events should not go un-reported and un-solved. The Cruise Line International Association, Inc. says,” Cruise lines have a robust system of security.” How do they keep the 24 million passengers each year safe? They go on to say, “Allegations of serious crime on cruise ships are rare, and a small fraction of comparable rates of crime on land.” So that makes un-reported crimes at sea acceptable with that logic? At least you can run away perhaps. You are confined on a boat. Throwing yourself overboard is not an option. Sigh!

Senator Blumenthal from Connecticut has at least proposed legislation to demand that cruise ships notify the FBI within 4 hours of a crime. They don’t do this anyway?  He also wants them to turn over video evidence and have sea marshals onboard all ships. Victims of rape are never the same person they were before the assault. In the case of the British passenger, no criminal charges were given to the bar tender who raped her, the cruise line was unresponsive to questions and the man who raped her is still working in the cruise industry. Human ethics have gone overboard with the trash apparently. 

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