Following the airing of "Lost at Sea" program on Australia’s Dateline television program, a newspaper in Australia published a short article entitled: "Cruise Ships Perfect Ground for Predators – Investigation."
The Herald Sun mentions our firm and the case of Rebecca Coriam who disappeared from the Disney cruise ship Wonder. The article also mentions case of members of the International Cruise Victims (ICV) organization:
"Criminals are more likely to get away with serious crimes on cruise ships than anywhere else, a maritime lawyer has warned, with 200 people vanishing at sea worldwide in the past decade.
Jim Walker said about half the disappearances have some factor of foul play.
"The place to get away with a crime is on a cruise ship,” he told the SBS program Dateline.
"The place to be a sexual predator and prey on children is on a cruise ship."
"If you’re a rapist, you’re more likely to get away with committing the crime on a cruise ship on the high seas.
"All of this is happening out in international waters, typically.
"There are no policemen on the scene . . . You can’t summons a police officer who will run onto the crime scene. So they’re out there by themselves.”
In Australia, the death of Australian woman Dianne Brimble received widespread media coverage with strong criticism of the party culture that existed aboard cruise ships.
Ms Brimble died aboard a P&O Cruise ship of a drug overdose after consuming a date rape drug and is alleged to have received callous treatment from passengers she was with at the time of taking the drug.
Mr. Walker said the cruise industry knew it had a problem more than a decade ago and tried to fix it through slick advertising and marketing, rather than taking the hard steps they needed to really clean their act up.
"You have cabin attendants now who are being hired from Third World countries – no disrespect to small Caribbean islands – that have no databases.
"You can’t track them even if you wanted to."
"You don’t know what you’re getting. But you’re hiring a 28-year-old man to be responsible for 12-year-old girls’ cabin.
"Mum and dad don’t know what’s happening. They’re at the casino, they’re at the show, they’re up at the nightclub, and the cabin attendant gets back into the cabin – that’s still happening. Those cases are still happening.”
While the cruise industry has followed some guidelines, such as installing peepholes in cabin doors, Dateline reporter Nick Lazaredes said few ships had upgraded their video systems or installed man-overboard alarm systems.
Those who have gone missing at sea include 23-year-old English woman Rebecca Coriam, who disappeared while working on the Disney Wonder cruise ship.
Her family was shocked to learn that there would be no US involvement in investigating her disappearance.
When the family of 20-year-old son Blake Kepley, who went missing on a family cruise to Alaska, requested that the captain review footage from security cameras, they were told that wasn’t possible.
Ken Carver’s 40-year-old daughter, Merrian, also vanished off a Celebrity Cruises voyage to Alaska in 2004.
Mr Carver, who is now president of an activist group called International Cruise Victims, said he was stonewalled at every turn as he searched for answers to her disappearance.
The story eventually became the subject of five congressional hearings, which resulted in America’s cruise, vessel and safety act.
The newspaper contained links to some of the more disturbing stories the cruise lines would prefer you not know about:
CBS: Woman Speaks Out About Cruise Ship Crime
BBC: Cruise Passengers ‘Not Protected From Serious Crime’
Guardian: Rebecca Coriam – Lost at Sea
I am also posting the Dateline Special "Lost at Sea" in case you have not seen it yet: