Cruise Ship Crime Victims
Crime at sea is a serious international problem. Cruise ship crimes present a wide range of different legal hurdles for victims as opposed to criminal acts that occur on land. For instance, cruise ship vessels like the Carnival Sensation, Carnival Breeze, and Carnival Splendor are vessels all flagged pursuant to Bahamian and Panamanian law. These are referred to as flags of convenience. Similarly, cruise ship companies incorporate themselves in foreign jurisdictions as well. This means that the cruise line companies are not required to abide by all of United States laws thought many of their principal places of business are located in Miami, Florida and operate substantial business activities throughout United States ports such as the port of Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Fl.
As the cruise ship industry has grown, so has the incidence of victimization of both passengers and crew members. Multi-cultural backgrounds of both passengers and crew members have made violent crimes, disappearances, rape, and sexual assaults common place on board cruise ships. There are no police on a cruise ship. Everyone from passenger to crew is subject to the control of the master or captain who answers only to the cruise line. The cruise line industry has orchestrated a public campaign to mislead the vacationing public here and abroad about the risk of crime and dangers at sea.
Our cruise ship attorneys specialize representing crime victims. We also want the public to know the truth. Despite ambiguous jurisdiction at sea, difficulty in gathering evidence worldwide and stubborn resistance by cruise ship operators, Gerson & Schwartz, PA has successfully fought for justice for crime victims at sea just as we are well known for on land. Our work inside and outside of the courtroom speaks for itself.Legal Representation for Crime Victims at Sea
Cruise ship operators are subject to civil liability resulting for criminal acts committed by crew members and in many cases by other passengers. Under general maritime law, cruise ship companies are strictly liable for criminal acts committed by ship employees. That means if a crime such as a rape or sexual assault was committed by a crew member then the cruise line is automatically legally responsible to the victim for their damages under United States federal maritime law. For other crimes such as rape or assault committed by other passengers victims need to prove negligence of the cruise line was a cause.
Our law firm continues to fight for cruise ship passenger safety reforms. Many people don’t realize the lack of safety and security measures in place on cruise ships. Security cameras are not required in passenger corridors but they are located throughout cruise ship casinos. Passenger to crew member safety officers ratios are also disproportionate. Studies have shown that some cruise ship operators have a 900- 1 passenger to crew member ratio. Cruise ship security personnel are usually foreign based employees with little formal security training or security experience compared to United States security professionals. Security personnel are not even required to have a security license.
Many people would be astonished over the quality of training that cruise ship security officers possess and measures the cruise ship industry has gone to prevent information about the number and nature of cruise ship crime incidents from the general public. Studies have shown that reasonable safety and security measures can prevent and deter criminal acts. Gerson & Schwartz lawyers are committed to helping cruise ship crime victims obtain justice.
If you were the victim of a criminal act on a cruise ship or marine going vessel we can help. Gerson & Schwartz PA, attorneys providing aggressive legal representation for cruise ship injuries. Our lawyers can help crime victims at sea. Our lawyers have a wide range of experience representing crime victims on cruise ships due to:
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Assault
- Missing Persons
- Claims against the perpetrators
- Rape and sexual assault by crew members
- Criminal acts by ship personnel
- Violent Crimes
- Sex crimes due to alcohol consumption
- Service of alcohol to minors
Cruise ship crimes are difficult to pursue because many of the incidents occur offshore in international waters. Law enforcement is not readily available. Only cruise ship security staff members. In land based environments, crime preservation is usually conducted by local law enforcement with specialized training and experience investigating crime immediately to the extent possible. However, when a crime at sea occurs, cruise ship staff initiate the investigation and usually complete their investigation before federal or local police authorities are able to reach the vessel. Law enforcement tends to rely on the cruise ship company “investigation”. Our cruise ship crime attorneys understand how to overcome these obstacles so that victims on cruise ships can get justice in the court room. Our firm knows how to find the truth and use it so that cruise ship crime victims get the justice they deserve.
Cruise ship staff members are trained and reports are usually written in favor of the cruise ship companies. Ship employees are usually foreign based labor selected from India, Romania, Philippines, and other foreign lands. This also makes locating witnesses difficult. Only recently were cruise ship crime victims are required by federal law to be provided the opportunity to contact the FBI via a special 1-800 hotline, regardless of whether the crime occurs on international waters. Other important safety measures that our law firm helped pass under federal law includes the passage of the Cruise Ship Vessel Safety and Security Act of 2010. Until enactment of this legislation, cruise ship companies were not required to carry a sexual assault exam on their vessels. Nor, were cruise ship companies required to notify the Federal Bureau of Investigations when a serious crime would occur. Because of law firms like ours and other victims organizations, cruise ship companies are legally required to provide additional safety measures for the protection of all.More About Our Commitment to Crime Victims on Cruise Ships
At Gerson & Schwartz PA our law firm is committed to seeking justice on behalf of crime victims at sea and on land. Founding partner Philip M. Gerson has served as the board chair for the National Center for Victims of Crime in Washington D.C. Our attorneys contributions to crime victims’ rights at sea has also not been limited to the United States. In 2012, Philip M. Gerson made a presentation to the World Conference on Victimology at the Hague in the Netherlands. Victims rights supporters from around the world attended and learned about the work being done in the United States. Our involvement also included meetings at Parliament in England, the European Economic Union (EEU) in Belgium, and at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which regulates maritime commerce worldwide. Progress was made in awareness and understanding but much work remains to be done before we can expect international cooperation to match our efforts at home.
Most people don't know how much time and effort we have provided to International Cruise Victims Association, a grass roots group of victims and their families who have banded together to press congress to pass new laws to force industry reform. Our founding partner serves on the board for this dynamic reform movement. As mentioned earlier, we are also proud of our contributions helping the passage of the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act of 2010 which was signed into law. Now we are working with congressional staff and others to pass additional measures to make cruising safer and more secure.
Cruise Ship Crime? Don't Wait! Contact Us Today - (877) 475-2905
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a crime contact the law offices of Gerson & Schwartz PA. Our firm specializes representing crime victims at sea. At Gerson & Schwartz, PA all of our lawyers licensed to practice law in all Florida state and federal court. We provide aggressive quality legal representation. For more information and a free consultation call us toll free at (877) 475-2905 or contact us online.