Last week we attended a reception at the Capital buillding in Washington D.C. with over 30 congressional offices in attendance, honoring the International Cruise Victim ("ICV") organization.
The ICV was founded in January 2006 following the Congressional hearing in December 2005 regarding the disapperances of Merrian Carver from the Celebrity Mercury and the murder of George Smith III on the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas.
In attendance at the reception were our friend and former client Laurie Dishman and her Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) who was a co-sponsor of the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act. Also in attendance were Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Congressman Jim Hines (D-CT), from the Smith family’s home state. Senator Blumenthal was an original supporter of the pending Cruise Passenger Protection Act, He stressed the need for fair, accurate and accurate information regarding crimes on cruise ships.
Appearing at the reception were Georgia and Dean Ananias who barely escaped the sinking of the Costa Concordia with their two daughters in January 2012. Their remarkable story is on the ICV website. They wrote S.O.S. Spirit of Survival: One Family’s Chilling Account of the Costa Concordia Disaster. They survived physically but heard the screams and witnessed many crew members and passengers needlessly die.
One mother talked about the sexual assault of her teenage daughter in which the FBI botched the investigation including not prosecuting the rapist and leaving the rape kit on the NCL cruise ship.
Another family, the Ricci family, in attendance discussed the medical delay and neglience of Carnival cruise line which refused to send their daughter, Christina, a young healthy woman,who hit her head and experienced strokes on the Victoriy, ashore to a medical trauma unit via a medevac helicopter resulting in her untimely death.
The reception was moderated by ICV president Jamie Barnett who also lost her daughter, Ashley Barnett, aboard a Carnival cruise due to medical negligence.
ICV Chairman Ken Carver testified at a hearing regarding the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime entitled "Transportation.Maritime Transportation Safety and Stewardship Programs." Mr. Carver addressed, among other issues, the cruise industry’s refusal to fully implement the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act with an effective date of January 2012 and the need to pass the Cruise Passenger Protection Act . You can read his testimony here.
Video credit: ABC News 7 Los Angeles via Jamie Barnett