Crimes On Cruise Ships Under-Reported; Could Be Putting Public At Risk

Only a tiny portion of alleged crimes on cruise ships is ever publicly disclosed, according to a report by the Senate Commerce Committee.

CNN reported that as a consequence of crimes on cruise ships being under-reported, passengers have an incomplete picture of crime on board of ships.

According to USA Today:

“A report issued Wednesday by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation found that of the 959 alleged crimes the industry voluntarily logged with the FBI – including 130 that were serious enough to require reporting – only 31 were made public.”

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat said in a statement, “I’ve been told time and again that cruise lines will change, that things will get better for passengers.”

He continued on to say, “But according to our investigation, it doesn’t appear to me that passengers are substantially safer.”

The CNN report stated that in 2007, the Coast Guard, the FBI, and the cruise lines all agreed that the industry would voluntarily report to the FBI incidents involving serious violations of US law.

These incidents include homicide, suspicious death, missing U.S. nationals, kidnapping, assault with bodily injury, sexual assaults, firing or tampering with vessels, and theft greater than $10,000.

The CNN report continued on to say that in 2010, Congress ordered the Coast Guard to maintain a web-based statistical record of alleged crimes.

Rockefeller said that the site only discloses incidents no longer under investigation, “giving the public an incomplete picture.”

Reports say that Rockefeller has introduced legislation that would require industry to disclose all crime alleged on cruise ships, and beef up video surveillance of public areas.

“If someone steals your property or assaults you on a cruise ship, you cannot call 911 and have the police there in a few minutes. You can only call the ship’s security officers, who also happen to be employees of the cruise line,” he said in written remarks.

“Under current law, cruise ship crime report data is not available to the public. That means consumers have no way to find out what their real risks are before they book a cruise.”

What do you think about the lack of cruise ship crime reports? Do you think it puts the public at greater harm because hey are less informed?

[photo credit: R.Duran via photopin cc]