Cruise lines see more crime than you might think. Sexual assault cases are the most common, but finding anything concrete about them is no easy task, prompting some to wonder whether or not the FBI has a stake in covering them up.
Now this may sound like conspiracy at first blush, so let’s back up a bit. Several years ago, a group called the International Cruise Victims pushed for legislation that would make cruise line rape cases a matter of public knowledge. They won, but over time fewer and fewer cases of this nature were reported, reports Newser. This prompted the same group to do some investigation of their own, and they discovered that the FBI had put a phrase into the law that more-or-less made the whole thing pointless.
The phrase basically says that the cases will only be made public after the FBI has opened and then closed it. The problem here is that the FBI only opens such cases between 10 and 20% of the time, and most of them never close at all. Why would they close at all, you ask? Enter Matthew Harwood of Salon, who alleges that the FBI is in bed with the cruise lines. Among the suspicious evidence Harwood explores: the hiring of a retired FBI big-wig in 2006 by the cruise line business, and perhaps oddest of all, a closed dinner meeting with the Coast Guard and FBI hosted by cruise lines every couple of months.
Some journalists are calling the Salon article the “smoking gun” in what could be a very real conspiracy. Bizjournals complimented the article, saying that it “details how some victims have won judgments from cruise lines despite assaults not being counted as part of the official statistics. In one case, no investigation was launched because it was a ‘she said, he said’ accusation, despite ligature marks on her body and a hygenic device being shoved into her body.”
In any case, cruise ship crime might become a hot-button topic in the coming months. We’ll keep an eye out for you.