Monday, January 6, 2014

International Cruise Victims, Association, Inc Newsletter on Safety on Cruise Ships

 Safety on Cruise Ships - 2014
(SAMMAMISH, WASHINGTON)-January 6, 2014- The International Cruise Victims Association, Inc. (ICV) is an all-volunteer not-for-profit corporation formed by victims and families of victims of cruise ship crime, with membership in 24 countries around the world.
On December 17, 2013, Anderson Cooper aired an amazing show titled:

Again, it exposed Carnival Cruise line’s failure to deal with known safety issues.  The segment included a discussion of passenger’s rights accentuated by the following

Take the time to watch this show. It discussed that fact that Carnival was aware of the deficiencies which caused the fire for a year and yet they failed to  correct them.  In fact, they were in violation of SOLAS, the international laws  under which they operate.   Also mentioned in the broadcast was the fact that the ship was inspected two weeks before the ill-fated sailing by either the Coast Guard or the government of Panama. No fine was levied against them and what is even more egregious is the fact that they were certified to sail.   What other safety issues are being ignored??
ICV, as the voice of victims, must raise the awareness of all of these issues and concerns.  Following are some of those issues which are not being dealt with by the cruise line industry.
1.    The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 (CVSSA) provides that victims be given the right to contact the FBI directly via a private line to report any crimes.  This is out of concern that the only law enforcement or security on a cruise ship is not independent but rather an employee of the cruise line. The worrisome results of this one-sided arrangement  were dramatically illustrated when ICV obtained, under a FOIA request, the total number of cruise ship cases opened by the FBI in 2012.  This showed that ONLY 18 cases were ever opened and only 4 convictions were obtained.  This is out of all of the crimes committed on a cruise ship. Clearly, it would appear that a cruise ship is the perfect place to commit a crime.
2.    In another example, the CVSSA required cruise lines to install Man Overboard Systems (MOB) once they are available. The Miami Herald reported in a November 16th article titled Overboard cases on Cruise lines often under-reported to public  that whereas one manufacturing company has installed over 30 such MOB systems on other types of ships, the cruise lines have failed to install these systems in  disregard of the new laws.   
3.    While we could go on with this list, the above serves to illustrate a disregard of many of the laws that are intended to govern an industry who’s compliance unfortunately rests within the jurisdiction of a legal vacuum known as a FLAG State (Panama, Bahamas, etc) who fail to take any action regarding crimes and other safety issues on cruise ships. This results in the public unknowingly being put at risk every time they take a cruise.   
What is ICV doing in the face of these major concerns?  As we discussed in our ICV update on November 25, 2013, the introduction of the Cruise Vessel Passenger Safety Act (H.R.2800 and S.1340) which we are supporting seeks to strengthen laws already in place and their compliance.  Clearly, the cruise industry does not want this additional legislation to be passed.
In addition, ICV does not see this as an issue limited to the U.S.  Under the direction of Mark Brimble, ICV is working to have legislation introduced in Australia.  This has already been proposed by a government committee charged with reviewing this issue.  On January 1, 2014 a major article published in Sunday Mail in Brisbane titled, “Death, Assaults, Lawlessness … the Dark Side of the Cruise Industry discussing this very issue.  
In addition, during 2014 Capt Michael Lloyd will be heading up our efforts in the EU to bring awareness to this issue and take action to move this process forward.
We at ICV appreciate the support from our members, friends and the media.  Our mission is far from finished. 
Kendall Carver, Chairman                                     Jamie Barnett, President

602-852-5896                                                              818-355-6462

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