International Cruise Victims Association (ICV) is an all-volunteer victim advocacy group that is committed to representing victims and families of those who have experienced crime on cruise ships. Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, ICV has amassed hundreds of members across 25 countries who share a common goal: improving safety on cruise ships. The organization and its members strive to protect and uphold cruise passenger and crew member rights and safety, be it through proposing legislative reform or by increasing awareness of cruise ship crime, including sexual assault and rape. ICV also makes it their mission to provide support to those who have experienced crime on ships through its extensive community and network of resources.
The Reality of Cruise Ship Crime
Each maritime lawyer at our firm knows it can be extremely difficult for cruise crime victims to obtain the help they need from cruise lines following an incident, especially the extensive assistance they deserve in order to obtain justice and compensation for the pain, suffering, or losses they have endured. Though many cruise lines are based in the United States, the vast majority are registered in foreign countries. This means that most cruise lines are not regulated by U.S. laws, but instead, are under the jurisdiction of the countries whose flags their vessels fly – a reality which can pose a number of obstacles for victims.
Many foreign countries do not have either the extensive law enforcement bodies that we have in the United States to investigate crimes and persecute assailants, nor the same types of laws that would otherwise protect the victims of a crime. Because they aren’t subject to stricter U.S. laws, cruise lines tend to negate accountability for any crimes that occur on their vessels.
What’s worse, there is a huge discrepancy in cruise crime reporting. Cruise lines often tend to underreport crimes that transpire on their ships and may even fail to fully investigate a victim’s allegations. Though some crimes are reported in the media, a large percentage never become public knowledge. The frequency of crime and accidents on cruise ships in general, including robberies, homicides, man overboards, and sexual crimes, is far greater than anyone can imagine. And without the proper resources or legal representation from an experienced maritime attorney, victims may never be able to obtain the justice they rightfully deserve.
Yet, all cruise lines, regardless of where they are registered, are required to uphold the highest standards of safety to the best of their ability. Cruise ship crime victims are not alone, and have several options and resources available to them.
How ICV Can Assist Cruise Crime Victims
Aside from the number of incidents on ships that are underreported by cruise lines, several are also unaccounted for because victims do not report them. Sometimes, it is because victims do not believe they will get the help they need. Other times, it is because they have been threatened by their attackers. Then, there are times when passengers and crew members are embarrassed to admit they have been the victims of a crime, especially those who have suffered a cruise ship rape or sexual assault.
However, the important thing to remember is that change cannot occur unless victims, loved ones, and concerned members of the public come forward. That’s where the ICV steps in to assist.
ICV volunteer members are committed to taking on these issues, personally advocating for improved safety protocols and procedures on cruise ships so these kinds of tragedies can be prevented. The organization fights to protect victims’ rights, as well as to promote safety legislations, including the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 , a law aimed at making cruise ships safer and more secure for passengers.
ICV Community Features
The ICV community offers several useful resources to cruise passengers and crew members alike who have either personally been the victims of a crime aboard a cruise ship, family and friends of those who have suffered a crime on the high seas, as well as anyone who is interested in learning more about the reality of cruise crime and how they can help prevent incidents from happening. These resources are free to the public and can be easily accessed via the organization’s community forum.
The forum features several posts, blogs, and news articles pertaining to recent incidents, as well as ICV proposals and information on passenger and crew member rights.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a crime aboard a cruise ship, ICV can help you obtain the information and assistance you need. Our maritime lawyers encourage you to visit their site so you can learn more about your rights, as well as how you can help propel a positive change within the cruise industry.