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.