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The Federal Bureau of Investigation fielded more complaints of serious crimes on cruise ships during the three-month period between July and September than at any other time in the last three years, according to a new report.
The crime spree included 35 sexual assaults, five thefts of at least $10,000 in cash and goods, and two disappearances, Rich Thomaselli of Travel Pulse reported.
That’s a 35% increase in sex assaults from the previous quarter, and a 67% increase from the same time period in 2018, according to the New York Post.
The data came from the US Department of Transportation’s Cruise Line Incident Report. A dozen cruise lines were monitored by the FBI; six suffered the crime wave, and six had no serious crimes.
Cruise lines are mandated by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act to report alleged homicides, suspicious deaths, missing persons, assaults with serious injuries, theft over $10,000, and incidents of people tampering with the ship.
The 40+ incidents during the three-month monitoring period still represent a fraction of the number of people who travel on cruise ships.
Last year, for instance, 14.2 million North Americans took a cruise, a 9% increase from 2017 according to Cruise Lines International Association. That’s 3.55 million passengers every three months; thus, the crimes were committed by less than 1% of passengers.
Royal Caribbean was one of the few cruise lines to respond to the report, releasing a statement that noted “the safety and security of our guests is our top priority, and we take every allegation of wrongdoing seriously,” adding that it offers “extensive security” and sexual-assault-victims-assistance training for employees, in addition to counseling for “guests or crew in need of support.”
Unfortunately, many cruise lines operate under flags of convenience — countries outside of the jurisdiction of police and investigative agencies. More often than not, no suspects are arrested and no charges are handed out.
Google “cruise ship crime,” and you may be shocked to see 23,200,000 hits.
Lately, TV talk show hosts, including Doctor Oz, are awash in cruise ship victims telling tragic stories of rape, assaults and even murder to shocked television audiences.
Sadly, the cruise industry is doing little or nothing to help the situation. Victims say cruise officials are more concerned with their public image and keeping things quiet, rather than bolstering security for passengers.