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Cruise Ship Sexual Assault Discusses Assault Facts

Since 1971, our cruise ship rape law firm has represented a large number of victims of sexual assault on the high seas. While the facts are not pleasant, they highlight the need for a victim to retain a cruise ship sexual assault attorney experienced in this area of law. Several patterns emerged among the many incidents of sexual assault over the years.

Some of the facts are:

  • One major cruise line documented 173 reports of sexual assault or rape in a five-year period. Not a single alleged perpetrator was prosecuted in any of these cases.
  • A February 2013 article in Newsweek quotes Jim Hall, head of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) during the Clinton administration:
    • Hallsays the industry is watched over by “paper tigers” like the International Maritime Organization and suffers from “bad actors”. “The maritime industry is the oldest transportation industry around. We’re talking centuries. It’s a culture that has never been broken as the aviation industry was, and you see evidence of that culture in the [Costa Concordia] accident,” Hall said.
    • Ships may feel American but are mostly “flagged” in countries like the Bahamas or Panama, in order to operate outside of what Hall says are reasonable safety standards. “It is, and has been, an outlaw industry,” says Hall. “People who book cruises should be aware of that.”
  • Cruise ship sexual assault data released in August 2013 by four of the largest cruise ship operators in the industry, representing over 80 percent of the United States domestic cruise ship market share, revealed that the industry is not being entirely truthful with the cruising public about safety statistics. The issue surfaced when the Senate introduced legislation that will require accurate disclosures, if passed.
  • Before the issue of transparency in reporting crimes to the public was raised, cruise lines reported 29 sexual crimes to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2012, but reported only 11 to the public. In the first six months of 2013 alone, 14 rape cases and 11 sexual assault cases were reported. This a significant difference between what the crime data provided by cruise lines to the FBI over the past few years has suggested.
  • According to the FBI, sexual assault is the leading crime reported to and investigated by the Bureau in the high seas (comprising 55 percent of the crimes at sea that are reported to the Bureau).
  • Sexual assault is one of the least reported violent crimes. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, as many as 60 percent of onshore sexual assault victims decline to report the crime. It is likely that many cruise passengers who experience sexual assault on a cruise also will not report the crime, and therefore such crimes never become part of industry cruise safety statistics.
  • The cruise industry maintains that the rate of sexual assault at sea is significantly lower than the onshore rate of sexual assault. However, there is no reliable way to assess whether the cruise lines are fully and accurately reporting all onboard sexual assaults to federal authorities. The cruise industry is already expected to report cruise crime to the authorities, but what is reported to the FBI is not automatically made public. It is virtually impossible for passengers or independent third-parties to confirm whether each incident of sexual assault has been fully and properly recorded.

Unless you or someone close to you experiences a sexual assault or rape on a cruise, it is easy to forget that the risk of sexual assaulted is very real. When you leave U.S. waters on a cruise ship, you also leave behind some of the protections that you enjoy on land as a U.S. citizen.

If you were the victim of rape or sexual assault on a cruise ship or other vessel, contact our experienced cruise ship sexual assault attorneys for a free confidential consultation. Allow us to put our experience to work for you.

Take a look at some of our actual cases in this area and let our cruise ship sexual assault attorney put his or her experience to work for you.

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    I would like to thank all of the staff at LMAW, P.A., especially Jason Marguilies and his paralegal Maggie, for their support and hard work during my lawsuit. They were extremely helpful throughout the whole experience.

    - Annette Guzman

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