The U.S. Department of State has issued a warning of dangers while traveling to the Bahamas, including sexual assaults on cruise ships in the port in Nassau:
"CRIME: The Bahamas has a high crime rate . . . the U.S. Embassy has received reports of assaults, including sexual assaults, in diverse areas such as in casinos, outside hotels, or on cruise ships. In several incidents the victim had reportedly been drugged."
This type of warning, although certainly warranted, is not what the Bahamas wants to hear. Nassau is a preferred port of call for many cruise ships, which line up like cars in a crowded parking lot.
Today's the headline in the Washington Post's travel section is also not what the Bahamas or the cruise lines which sail there wanted to hear: "Violent Crime Is Up In The Bahamas" Here is a portion of the article:
"Bahamas-bound travelers, beware.
Crime in the popular tourist destination is on the upswing, especially on New Providence Island, where the capital city, Nassau, is located. And we're not talking just petty thefts or purse-snatching, but far more serious violent crime.
This island nation finished 2009 with a record 87 murders -- a statistic tourism officials probably won't be trumpeting in their next "It's Better in the Bahamas" ad . . .
The criminal activity has prompted the operators of the world's largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, to warn its passengers to "be mindful of their personal safety," the Nassau Guardian newspaper reported . . .
Some Bahamians attribute the crime wave to high unemployment (hovering around 15 percent on New Providence Island, according to the Guardian) and the nation's status as a gathering spot for drug traffickers."
We have warned passengers cruising to Nassau about crime for the past 6 months:
The problem with crime in Nassau is real. Many passengers let their guard down and think Nassau is safe for no reason other than the cruise line is sailing there. But we have represented passengers raped in Nassau, passengers raped on cruise ships in the port in Nassau, and multiple passengers robbed in Nassau.
A major problem is when young women go into Nassau and drink at the popular bars near where the cruise ships dock. Many women have been sexually assaulted after leaving the bar even though it is a short distance from the cruise ships. The cruise lines do not provide security at the port nor do they warn about the dangers of date rape drugs and sexual assaults while in Nassau.
The U.S. Department of State warns about young women being sexually assaulted after leaving the cruise ships in Nassau:
"Visitors should exercise caution and good judgment at all times. Engaging in high-risk behavior such as excessive consumption of alcohol can ultimately be dangerous as it greatly increases the vulnerability of an individual to accidents or opportunistic crime. Visitors should not accept rides from strangers or from unlicensed taxi drivers."
Oasis of the Seas - Nassau Bahamas Press
Senor Frogs Casch52 Flickr photostream
Cruise ships in Nassau Elenor Snow