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Cruise Ships May Be Liable for Crimes aboard Vessels

Written by Ankin Law Office

Cruises are a popular vacation choice for many people. Travelers expect to rest, relax, enjoy good food, and visit interesting places. Despite the fact that travelers want their cruise ship to be a floating paradise, unfortunately, accidents and crimes happen on cruise ships just like they do elsewhere.

Pursuant to the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010, cruise companies must report serious crime and missing persons to the FBI when such crimes involved a U.S. citizen, but a new congressional committee report found that since 2011 cruise lines have reported 959 alleged crimes to the FBI even though the Coast Guard has publicly reported only 31.

Amidst pressure from consumers and safety advocates, three cruise lines – Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian cruise lines – began voluntarily posting crime stats recently. According to this article, Royal Caribbean reports that 16 thefts of over $10,000, five assaults with serious injury, 10 rapes and 11 sexual assaults occurred between January 2012 and June 2013. Norwegian Cruise Line reports one theft over $10,000, four serious assaults, one rape and four sexual assaults

The most common allegations were rape and sexual assault, followed by thefts, with no homicides reported. The numbers provided by the cruise lines only reflect allegations, and not whether investigators concluded that a crime had actually been committed.

Cruise ship passengers who are the victims of a crime during their vacation may have a cause of action against the cruise line or tour company affiliated with the cruise line. Depending on the perpetrator of the crime, various legal issues can arise. For instance, laws regarding crimes committed by a crew member are generally more favorable to passengers, with the cruise lines often held strictly liable. On the other hand, if the crime was committed by a passenger, the cruise line cannot be held strictly liable; rather, the cruise line can only be liable if it was negligent in creating a dangerous situation in which the crime took place.

Cruise line liability may also vary depending on the type of crime. For instance, it is more difficult to hold cruise lines liable for robberies since most cruise lines limit recoverable damages on the passenger ticket.

Cruise ship accidents and crimes aboard cruise ships often involve several complex laws, such as personal injury/negligence, wrongful death, premises liability, the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010, the Jones Act and/or workers’ compensation laws. Accordingly, it is important to consult with an attorney that is knowledgeable of all applicable laws if you were the victim of a crime or accident aboard a cruise ship.

The Chicago cruise ship accident attorneys at Ankin Law Offices are familiar with the wide spectrum of laws and legal theories surrounding a cruise ship accident or crime and we are highly-trained, experienced litigators with the legal skill necessary to pursue your claims following a cruise ship accident.

If you were the victim of a crime or accident aboard a cruise ship, do not hesitate to contact the Chicago cruise ship accident lawyers at Ankin Law Offices at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and remedies.

Categories: Personal Injury