'Ships of Shame" - Australia's 60 Minutes Looks at Cruise Ship Crime

Yesterday, Australia's 60 Minutes aired a special program investigating crimes on cruise ships.

The program mentioned the disappearance of Rebecca Coriam (from the Disney Wonder) and Merrian Carver (from the Celebrity Mercury), the outrageous circumstances surrounding the death of Dianne Brimble on a P & O cruise ship, and the sexual assault of a 15 year old girl aboard the Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas.

The program focuses on the problems posed by flags of convenience.  U.S. based cruise ships do not fly American flags but the flags of countries where the cruise ships are registered in order to avoid taxes, labor laws, and safety regulations. If you are on a victim of a crime on a cruise ship flagged in the Bahamas, Panama or Liberia, these countries have jurisdiction and will either do nothing or eventually assign a single policeman to investigate.  Not surprisingly, there are virtually no convictions in most cases of cruise ship crime.

The cruise lines refused to appear in the program, but sent a representative of the trade organization, the Cruise Line International Association, Michael Crye.  Mr. Crye is a lawyer who often appears in public for the cruise lines.  Appearing very nervous, he admitted that most Americans have no idea that a police officer from a third world country would be the representative who may (or may not) appear on the cruise ship following a crime.    

Take a few minutes and watch the program here: Ships of Shame.  

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Comments (7) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Teddy - April 9, 2012 12:11 PM
alex - April 10, 2012 1:21 AM

It is a funny world when an ex second jeff can be interviewed when he was fired for harassment on p & o, fired for assault on hollan and america, has a history of violene in australia...and he is sixty mins expert..regards Alex s

Richard Davey - April 10, 2012 6:48 AM

This segment was a sensationalist piece which cited the well publicised and unfortunate death of Mrs Brimble which happened 10 years ago. It is fair to judge that this incident should never have happened and could have been prevented, as the perpetrators had previously cruised with P&O Australia and clearly should have been blacklisted. However the program's claim that one person goes overboard from a cruise ship on average once every fortnight failed to point out the reasons why and that these are good odds, as by my calculations, the industry carries hundereds of thousands in any one fortnight. The inference was that a cruise ship is an unsafe place to be and it is obvious to most of the millions it has carried that this is far from a from true and rational statement. This episode has been produced and aired by Nine Network Australia who owns the Australian 60 Minutes franchise which has sadly drifted aimlessly from its once proud anchorage of credible, news-breaking journalism. It's former leviathan owner, the late Kerry Packer would be turning in his grave.

mandy cantwell - April 11, 2012 5:20 AM

I've been on 4 cruises and I have come back to shore feeling refreshed and very satisfied with my cruise.Everyone is responsible for their own safety in all walks of life land or sea. If an adult leaves themselves open to dangers and risks expect the worst. We are not all drunken hasbeans they just give it a bad name its surely not the cruise industry's fault if you don't lock your cabin door, fall overboard come on.I think having there own policing would be a good idea instead of waiting to get to shore as it really seems quite useless for all involved. Can't wait for my next sensible cruise alcohol free.

Peter Stapleton - April 13, 2012 7:41 AM

This was just a rehash of the SBS dateline program 4 weeks ago. My experience on cruises is that the ships security staff are on top of things and take a real interest in the safety and wellbeing of the passengers.

P & O Australia has put in place many procedures following the Dianne Brimble affair and safety and security is better than in on shore night clubs and venues/hotels.

200 in 10 years is 1 every 3 weeks. How many passengers cruise every week around the world? What are the figures on deaths on Aircraft?

I have booked 3 more cruises in the past 3 weeks, best value and safest holiday I've ever had!

Toni - April 25, 2012 10:10 AM

I, unlike Mandy or Peter will NEVER cruise again. I have been on 3 cruises and although nothing outrageous or tragic occured I have read too much and seen too much of what the cruise industry sweeps under the rug to ever want to put my hard earned money into this greedy shady industry ever again. What about all the innocent children who have been assaulted or molested in some way by a CRUISE CREW MEMBER. I suppose thats not the cruise ships fault either, Mandy? Really? Because I have come across several articles that mention just that. What type of screening goes on for the employees that watch people's innocent children?Maybe these incidents are few and far between but they shouldn't be happening AT ALL. It is the way these cruise ship owners respond to terrible incidents that leave such an awful taste in my mouth. The fact that events such as the Costa Concordia can even happen this day in age is a disgrace, with no one taking the blame for their actions while captains are fleeing ships and owners are whooping it up at basketball games but at home sits family members who will never get to know what happened to their loved ones. Did it happen to me directly? No. But it's enough to make my stomach turn. It's enough to make me never step foot on a cruise ship again. Is it coincidence the cruise lines refuse to be apart of the TV special? I hardly think so. Cowards. Call it what you will. but that is my stand on the pitiful lying cruise industry.

deb - June 13, 2012 12:11 AM

not sure whether thisnwas mentioned on the above mentioned program but wouldnt a good percent of these missing people be people that go missing volountarily? Perhaps been up to no good in there country and step off the ship never to be seen again.
As a past cruiser i have never witnessed anything but proffesionalism from any crew member and as for drunken misshaps, this is surely a choice for which cruise companies cant be blamed. Maybe bars should stop service as nigt clubs do to alleviate this problem. And if you are worried for your saftey, lock your cabin door.,

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