The Dark Side of Cruises: Sexual Assaults

Cruises are supposed to be fun, carefree getaways, but there is a dark side to the cruise industry. According to a recent article in The Seattle Times, during the one-year period from Oct. 1, 2007, to Sept. 30, 2008, the FBI received 421 reports of crimes onboard cruise ships, which included 154 sex-related incidents. Moreover, the rate of sexual assaults on Carnival cruise ships during 2007 and 2008 was an alarming 115 incidents per 100,000 passengers.

Cruise ship sexual assaults have made headlines recently, as there have been several incidents involving minors during the past few months. In March, a Norwegian Star employee was arrested for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old female passenger and keeping sexually explicit pictures of her on his computer. In January, a Royal Caribbean employee was indicted for sex abuse of a minor related to an incident involving a 14-year-old female passenger. Also in January, two male Royal Caribbean passengers, ages 20 and 15, were arrested for allegedly raping a 15-year-old female passenger.

Victims of cruise ship rape may have a case against the cruise line if:

  • A cruise line employee perpetrated the attack
  • The cruise line employee had a history of sexual incidents, complaints or assaults and the cruise line failed to punish or remove the employee
  • Unsafe conditions or a lack of security helped to facilitate the attack
  • The cruise line failed to have proper locking or security mechanisms on doors or prevent cruise line employees from having access to master keys
  • The cruise line failed to have proper lighting, recording instruments and security on the ship in unoccupied or unsafe areas
  • The cruise line failed to properly investigate or report the sexual assault or did not provide appropriate medical attention to the victim, including a rape kit

An experienced maritime attorney can review the facts of the case and determine whether the victim may be entitled to compensation from the cruise line for his or her medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Did a cruise line fail to keep you safe? Contact a compassionate Boston maritime attorney today to learn about your rights under maritime law.

Latti & Anderson LLP –Boston maritime trial lawyers