How a Cruise Ship Rape Lawyer Can Help Victims of Sexual Assault at Sea Obtain Justice

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

Justice ScaleWhen you board a cruise ship, the last thing you are thinking of is what could possible go wrong. You’re there to relax, have fun, and explore new destinations, not to worry about whether or not the ship is safe and whether you will be at risk for an accident or crime. But unfortunately, these are concerns every cruise passenger should have. Not only are cruise accidents and crimes occurring in greater frequency and at a rapid pace – despite technology that’s available to reduce the number of incidents and despite the maritime laws that are in place to protect passengers from harm.

Even if something does go wrong on a cruise, no one really books a cruise vacation thinking that anything more than just a couple of bumps and bruises will occur. Unfortunately, the reality of the fact is that accidents and crimes do happen and when they do, they aren’t usually minor. Many would be surprised to learn that sexual assault is the number one crime on cruise ships. It is also one of the most underreported crimes, with cruise lines often failing to document incidents to avoid liability and failing to report incidents to the public to avoid bad publicity.

One of the reasons sexual assault is so common on cruise ships is because there are dozens of hidden corridors that perpetrators can use to their advantage. Another reason is that, despite the fact that many cruise lines are equipped with surveillance cameras, tapes aren’t monitored as much as they should, allowing criminals to get away with their wrongdoings. By the time many sexual assaults are reported – and counting the hours it can take for cruise lines to investigate the incident (if at all) – the assailant will already likely have disembarked the ship at the nearest port and avoided persecution. There also aren’t any actual police officers on board cruise ships who can provide victims the protection they need from harm, or who can assist once a sexual crime is reported. The fact that there aren’t real police officers on ships means that critical evidence can be lost or destroyed, possibly hindering the victim’s case.

Oftentimes, a victim will try to report a sexual assault or rape to cruise ship authorities, only to be dismissed. There have been numerous cases of underage sexual assault on ships where cruise line officials declined to believe the victims’ stories and did nothing to hold the assailant at fault for their crimes. Furthermore, the fact that most cruise ships are registered in foreign countries allows cruise operators the opportunity to avoid having to report to U.S. maritime authorities regarding sexual crimes. Whatever nation’s flag is flown is the authority that will be responsible for investigating the crime, and this can spell disaster for victims. Other nations do not have as stringent of a legal system, especially when it comes to persecuting sexual predators. Additionally, it will be near to impossible for victims to obtain assistance from foreign governments as to the status of their case. Many victims may not even be able to reach authorities to discuss their case in general.

Because of all these reasons, it’s imperative that anyone who has been sexually assaulted consult with a cruise ship rape lawyer for assistance in filing a case. Cruise lines will fight tooth and nail to avoid liability for sexual crimes, despite the fact that many occur because cruise operators do not provide a sufficiently safe onboard environment for passengers, or often fail to properly investigate sexual crime reports.

Pursuing a sexual assault claim without the help of a cruise ship rape lawyer is usually an uphill battle. An experienced attorney knows what evidence to look for and obtain on the victim’s behalf and knows the ins and outs of cruise ship law and the steps cruise lines should take when investigating crimes so that if there is any discrepancy, they can fight the cruise company on their inability to protect the safety of their passengers. The cruise passenger ticket contract is wrought with fine print and loopholes that can allow a cruise line to escape liability for an accident or crime on board a vessel, but an attorney who knows the law will be able to demonstrate how the cruise line’s negligence in protecting the victim from harm violates maritime safety regulations.

Aside from bringing to light any act of negligence that the cruise line may have committed that could have contributed to the sexual assault – and which could hold the cruise line responsible (at least in part) for the incident – a knowledgeable cruise ship rape lawyer can also help victims recover compensation for the wrongs they have suffered and will not rest until victims obtain justice.

Anyone who has been the victim sexual assault or rape on a cruise ship has the right to contact a cruise ship rape lawyer to discuss their options and rights. With solid legal counsel, a victim will have a much higher chance of obtaining justice as swiftly as possible.