Sexually Assaulted On A Cruise Ship? Call Cruise Law in Miami.

There has been a lot of news lately about cruise ship disasters, like ship fires, groundings and sinkings. But the most likely danger that a passenger, woman or child, faces during a cruise is rape.

Cruise ships are essentially floating cities.  Increasingly larger floating cities at that. Like any city, a cruise ship has crime.  Over the past decade the most likely crime on a cruise ship we have seen is rape.

Cruise lines deny that rapes occur frequently.  Just two days ago the cruise lines issued a PR release Cruise Ship Crime - Rape - Sexual Assaultstating that cruising is "absolutely safe." This is part of the problem.  The cruise lines are so motivated to portray an image of an "absolutely safe" vacation experience that they will go to great lengths to protect that marketing image, including cleaning crime scenes and covering the crimes up.

A decade ago, we obtained a confidential internal study (pursuant to a court order) in which one cruise line concluded that sexual crimes occurred "routinely" in its fleet of cruise ships.  It then embarked on a campaign of representing to the public that such crimes were "rare."

During a series of Congressional hearings several years ago, the same cruise line told Congress that it had 66 rapes over a period of 3 years, for an average of 22 rapes a year.  But during a court case, a trial court in Miami ordered the cruise to to produce its internal documents which revealed the truth - the cruise line actually 273 incidents of sexual assault, harassment and "inappropriate sexual touching."

All of the major cruise lines track sexual crimes and know that there are hundreds of incidents of sexual assault and battery each year during cruises.   

Walker & O'Neill maritime lawyers in Miami handle cases exclusively cases against cruise lines.

Our firm has handled many sexual assault cases and molestation cases involving against Carnival, Celebrity, Cunard, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean cruise lines.

In the cases we have handled, the shipboard rapes were committed by a wide variety of cruise employees - staff captain, ship doctor, chief engineer, hotel director, security guard, cabin attendant, bartender, cleaner, and child supervisor.  The sexual assaults occurred in various locations on the cruise ship, with the most common locations being the passenger cabin, storage room, and crew bathroom.  The most likely assailant?  A male cabin steward from a country outside of the U.S. where it is impossible to conduct a meaningful background check.

Don't expect the cruise lines to be your friend.  They will take the side of their employees every time. And for a number of reasons, law enforcement, especially the FBI, has a terrible record of prosecuting crimes which occur on the high seas.   

Jim Walker - Walker & O'Neill Maritime Lawyers - Cruise LawJim Walker and Lisa O'Neill are both cum laude graduates from Duke University where they met 34 years ago. Jim attended Tulane Law School in New Orleans and has practiced maritime law since 1983. Lisa was a member of law review at the University of Florida Law School and has practiced law since 1985.

Jim and Lisa have represented several sexual assault cruise victims who testified before our U.S. Congress.  These women were assaulted by a bartender, a part-time security guard and even a diving instructor during a cruise sponsored excursion.  

Examples of settlements for cruise ship rape and molestation we obtained include: over $3,000,000, $2,500,000, $1,500,000, $1,000,000, $900,000, $650,000, $500,000, $385,000 and $250,000. (All cases are different, depending on the facts.  These settlements may not be reflective of the reasonable compensation in your case).

Here are what people are saying about Jim:

"Top Maritime Lawyer" - ABA Journal.

"Top Cruise Lawyer" - USA Today.

"Prominent Private Practice Maritime Attorney" - Fox News.

"Prominent Cruise Plaintiff Attorney" - Law.com (America Law Media).

If you or your child were assaulted during a cruise, don't hire a lawyer who practices "cruise law" on a part time basis. Contact the Cruise Law attorneys in Miami and let us be your advocates.

If you have a situation to discuss, email us right away: jim@cruiselaw.com or call our toll free number for a free and confidential consultation: 1 800 256-1518.

 

Photo credits:  Carnival cruise ship at Government Cut, Miami - Jim Walker 

Was a Passenger Sexually Assaulted on the Carnival Victory?

Carnival Victory Cruise Ship Rape  Several people have informed us that Carnival is investigating an incident where a cruise passenger awoke on the Carnival Victory cruise ship in a crewmember's cabin with bruises and little recollection of events.

The issue of cruise ship rape is one the cruise industry nastiest secrets.

Was a passenger raped on the Carnival Victory?

We have reason to believe that two crewmembers are under scrutiny.

There are online reports that a Maitre'd from Macedonia and a waiter from Croatia were arrested for the alleged rape of an underage girl.

Our Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a spotty history of investigating shipboard rapes.  Was the alleged incident timely and accurately reported by Carnival to the FBI?  Has there been an arrest?

Crewmembers were arrested recently for engaging in sexual abuse of a 16 year old girl on the NCL Norwegian Star, a child on a Cunard cruise ship by a child activities supervisor, a 14 year old girl on Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas, a 15 year old girl (by another passenger) on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, and a 14 year old girl aboard the Carnival Freedom.    All of this in just three months.

A rape is the last thing that Carnival wants to deal with after the Costa Concordia disaster and the Costa Allegra ship fire.      

The Carnival Victory is sailing a 7 Night Southern Caribbean itinerary and departed San Juan today.

You can read about cruise ships rapes here.  Rapes of children on cruises here.

We have represented over 75 women and children raped on cruise ships including Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean cruise lines, among others. 

The last time the Carnival Victory was in the news was following the murder of a 14 year old passenger ashore in St. Thomas last year.  We are representing the victim's family in a case we reported on here

Were you on the cruise last week?  If you have information to share, please leave a comment below.  

January 23, 2013 Update: Bad Times Aboard the Fun Ships: Passenger Alleges Rape Aboard Carnival Victory Cruise Ship 

Cruise Ship Accident Google Lawyers

I read an interesting article today about the high prices that some attorneys are paying to advertise on Google.  The paid ads, sometimes called "sponsored listings," appear at the top or the top right side of the Google search engine search results.

There are two types of search results on Google: (1) "organic" listings which rank sites based on the value of their content and popularity of the site, and (2) paid listings which list results based on how much the lawyers pay for certain words or phrases.

The article, "Lawyers Outspend Obama On The Web," discusses a study conducted by the Institute for Legal Reform for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The study found that some lawyers are spending as much as $79 for a single "click-through" ad word.  When the sponsored ad is "clicked-on," the lawyer is charged the amount bid on for the word or phrase.   

Google Lawyer AdsSome 25 lawyers across the country are spending over $100,000 for Google click-through ads.  The report states that one law firm in Houston is paying $16,600,000 for Google ads.

The report also identifies one of our main competitors in Miami as most closely associated with the phrase "cruise ship assault" both via paid ads and search engine optimization.  Some other Miami attorneys are paying to advertise phrases on Google like "cruise rape," "cruise sexual assault" and so forth.

There is nothing wrong with Google ads, although we do not pay for any advertisements like this or any advertisements at all for that matter.   Our blog is strictly "organic" in nature, meaning that it is ranked solely on the relevancy and current status of the content, the number of sites which link to it and so forth.  Based on the Alexa/AVVO ranking system, Cruise Law News is a top ten most popular law blog in the U.S.  In the first two months this year, Cruise Law News had 289,530 visits and the visitors read 862,721 pages.

My only criticism about the concept of Google ads is that there are law firms which I have never heard of who probably have handled only a few cruise line cases at best.  Nonetheless, they are advertising themselves on Google as "cruise lawyers."  I call these lawyers "Google lawyers."  

I saw this happening after the Costa Concordia cruise ship crash.  All types of lawyers across the U.S. began billing themselves as "cruise ship accident lawyers" on paid Google ads.  An internet marketing company has an interesting article about what it calls ambulance chasing marketing

If you want to see where a law firm's website or blog is ranked based on objective criteria, download the Alexa toolbar here.  It's easy to install and will take less than 30 seconds.

If you are looking for a lawyer to handle a cruise ship case, don't be fooled by the top listings on the click-through Google ads.  Many of these lawyers are not even licensed to practice in Florida where most cases have to be filed. Be certain to inquire into how many cases they have actually handled and the success of those cases.  Be sure to ask to speak to former clients for their opinion on how their cruise line cases turned out.   

 

Image: Avalanche Internet Marketing

Cruise Law Clients - From All Over The World With Every Imaginable Problem

Local Miami news station WSVN - 7 News ran a story that a record 52,000 cruise passengers sailed to or from from Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) on nine cruise ships today.

The news station reported that "travelers from around the globe arrived at the port to set sail and help break a world record." 

The story reminded me of the diversity of our law firm's clients and the wide variety of their problems. 

In the past few days, we were contacted by a passenger seriously injured on the Oasis of the Seas' flow-rider, another passenger who underwent surgery after a glass door shattered, several seriously injured crew members sent back to their home countries without medical treatment, and even a newly-wed couple abandoned at a port when the cruise ship left early without informing them.

The most heartbreaking story comes from a mother whose daughter was sexually abused by a crew member - a problem we have addressed in many prior articles.        

There is no doubt that the cruise industry is a juggernaut - big, rich and growing.  There also is no doubt that there remain fundamental problems on cruise ships - inadequate medical treatment, an indifference to the passengers and crew after they have been injured, and sexual predators who prey on children.

 

 

 

 

Credits:

Video         WVSN News 7 Miami