Cruise Ship Crime - Cruise LawThe Seattle Times published an article today raising the issue of whether cruising is really safer, and crime reporting more transparent, following the passage of the Cruise Vessel Safety & Security Act which came into effect this year.  The article is Concerns Linger About Cruise Line Safety.

The article was written by Christopher Elliott.  Mr. Elliott interviewed me, Ken Carver – the Chairman of the International Cruise Victims (ICV) organization, and David Pelkin – a spokesperson for the cruise line’s trade organization, Cruise Line International Association (CLIA).

The CLIA spokesperson dodged the question.  But my thoughts about the issue, as well as those of ICV President Carver, came through loud and clear.

The language of the new cruise safety law was watered down by the cruise lines to the point that reporting crimes alleged on cruise ships is less transparent than ever.  Mr.Elliott writes:

"The International Cruise Victims Association’s Carver is also skeptical of the crime statistics. He alleges that the actual number of crimes is hundreds of times higher. "That’s the most disappointing part of the new law," he says. "The statistical database is largely incomplete."

The problem is a clever loophole in the law, which stipulates that the FBI doesn’t have to include open files in crime statistics. As long as a case isn’t closed, it doesn’t get reported. "Many travel agents are now marketing cruises by referring their clients to the Coast Guard database for the proposition that there are virtually no crimes at all on cruise ships," Walker adds. "It makes a mockery of the law." 

You can read the article here.