As millions of vacationers head out on exotic cruises during the busy summer season, few give a thought to becoming a victim of assault while on board a cruise ship.
According to the FBI, in recent years the leading crimes reported on cruises have been physical and sexual assaults. In March of this year, a 42-year-old female passenger on the Coral Princess claimed that a Portuguese man, who was a member of the ship’s crew, sexually assaulted her, the FBI noted. Coral Princess is owned by Princess Cruises.
The woman allegedly met the 38-year-old man for drinks in a ship dining room, and according to her statement, the encounter turned into a terrifying one when the man blocked the doors, trapped her inside the room and forced her into performing oral sex.
Charles Lipcon, a Miami-based maritime lawyer, noted: “Travelers have this idea they are in a special cocoon where nothing bad can happen,” adding: “That’s just not true.” Lipcon is currently representing the Coral Princess passengers and has previously handled over one hundred cruise assault cases.
As the $22 billion cruise industry continues to grow, addressing the issue of on board assaults has become increasing important to lawmakers.