Overview of Law on Sexual Assault and Rape on a Cruise Ship

Unfortunately, most people who read this have likely experienced some form of rape or sexual assault on a cruise ship. This isn’t the kind of research that folks do when they are looking to book a cruise. But the best cruise ship rape lawyers in Miami would urge potential cruise ship guests to be fully informed before any incident happens to them or a loved one.

At Gerson and Schwartz in Miami, our cruise ship rape attorneys will speak to you for free before, during or after your cruise and answer any questions that you may have about the law on sexual assault and rape on a cruise ship. Just call us toll-free at (877) 475-2905 and allow us the opportunity to assist you in becoming an informed cruise ship consumer.

Law on Cruise Ship Rapes and Sexual Assaults

There is no specific federal governmental agency that regulates or controls cruise ship customer service complaints or issues. The Federal Maritime Commission provides assistance to passengers of cruise ships as well as additional resources from other governmental departments and agencies.

The Department of Transportation also publishes information from the various agencies that impact cruise ship passenger issues such as the US Coast Guard, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the afore-mentioned Federal Maritime Commission. The most important source of information provided by the Department of Transportation are the cruise line incident reports. These reports became mandatory because of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010.

A criminal act such as rape, sexual assault or harassment that occurs on a cruise ship has the potential to be a complex matter involving jurisdiction, choices of laws, strict liability and statutory rape. That is why it is so important to consult with an experienced cruise ship rape lawyer who has represented clients who have been injured and violated on a cruise ship.

Most cruise ship tickets restrict any lawsuits against the cruise ship company to being brought in the federal courts in Miami. This venue selection is contained within the terms and conditions of the ticket when purchased. Therefore, it is always recommended that victims of cruise ship rape or sexual assault contact a Miami cruise ship rape and sexual assault attorney.

Jurisdiction for Cruise Ship Sexual Assault or Rape – Who to Sue and Where

As for criminal prosecution, an alleged criminal who commits a crime aboard a cruise line may be prosecuted in Florida State Court, in certain circumstances, or in Federal Court.

Federal law, under Title 18 United States Code, Chapter 7, provides for special maritime jurisdiction when a criminal act is committed in a place outside the jurisdiction of any nation against or by a U.S. citizen. This Code also applies to foreign vessels that have a US departure or arrival port.

When a sexual assault or rape happens on a cruise ship and the victim wants to pursue civil damages, the first issue is who to sue and where. As previously mentioned, most cruise ship contracts require any lawsuit against the cruise ship company be filed in federal court in Miami.

The identity of the criminal assailant also impacts the cause of action the victim may be entitled to bring. If the individual who committed the sexual assault or rape was a crew member of the cruise ship, then strict liability applies. What that means is the victim is not required to prove intent or negligence only that the act took place.

If a crew member sexually assaults, rapes or commits some other act against anyone on a cruise ship, then the cruise ship company is strictly liable for the actions of its employees and crew members. If you or a loved one were harassed, sexually assaulted or raped by any crew member, then the cruise ship would most likely be strictly liable and responsible for those actions.

Another form of criminal assault or rape that could give rise to strict liability is statutory rape. Statutory rape includes of any type of sexual actions involving a minor child under 16 years of age. When a child is below the age of 16, the law regards the child as legally incapable of providing consent. Thus, the actions are regarded as a strict liability criminal acts. If a crew member engages in sexual acts with a minor under the age of 16, then the cruise ship will most likely be held to be strictly liable for the crew member’s actions once the conduct is established.

Sexual Assault or Rape by a Passenger

If the cruise ship rape or sexual assault involves another passenger, the same criminal jurisdictional decisions apply as with a crew member. But the civil considerations may be different. The civil liability of the cruise ship for a passenger on passenger sexual assault or rape will involve extensive investigation.

Cruise ships may be responsible where the assailant had committed other acts onboard and the cruise ship did nothing even though they had notice that this was a dangerous individual. Another area of potential liability is where the cruise ship created a danger by overserving alcohol. Only after an in-depth investigation will your Miami cruise ship rape lawyer be in the position to advise you on the potential areas of recovery.

Miami Injury Lawyer Helping Victims of Cruise Ship Rapes or Sexual Assaults

If you or a loved one was sexually assaulted or raped while on a cruise ship, the single worst thing you can do is to do nothing. You could be placing yourself and others at risk. The criminal assailant is not being held accountable. Don’t be a silent victim. Call the Miami cruise ship rape attorneys at Gerson and Schwartz today at (877) 475-2905 for your free and confidential consultation when we can answer your questions.

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