PHOENIX, AZ – International Cruise Victims (ICV) is pleased to announce new steps toward improving safety on cruise ships. This new measure initiates more accurate accounting of all reportable crimes including, but not limited to crimes of sexual assault. In addition, the FBI will implement a proactive process enabling passengers who become victims of crime to establish direct contact with the FBI while they are still on board the ship that leaves from or arrives at a United States port.
Regarding crime reporting, new cruise ship crime reporting requirements took effect. These new Cruise Line Incident Reports are being issued by the Department of Transportation. We consider this a major step forward in providing some measure of transparency in the form of the disclosure of actual sexual crimes committed on cruise ships.
For example, the six months’ report issued under the new law indicates the following (please note the contrast between the reports issued in 2015 vs. 2016):
Sexual Assault Crimes
Total reported in the first six months of 2015: 6
Total reported in the first six months of 2016: 39
Total Reported Crimes
Total reported in the first six months of 2015: 12
Total reported in the first six months of 2016: 61
For the first time, actual reported alleged crimes under the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) will be made public by cruise lines, according to International Cruise Victims. In addition, the FBI will implement a proactive process for victims to have direct contact with the FBI. This is a major step forward to make sure victims are given their rights as required under the CVSSA.
Under this new proactive approach, the responsible case agent and/or victim specialist will reach out to victims directly by phone or email as soon as possible after receiving a report of a crime from the cruise ship security point of contact.
The agent and victim specialist will determine who is best suited to make the outreach based on the circumstances. The purpose of the initial FBI contact is to advise the victim (or family if the victim is a minor, incapacitated, or deceased) that the FBI received the report and will meet the ship upon arrival back in the U.S., according to International Cruise Victims.
Also, during the initial contact, the victim or family will be provided with the name and contact information for the FBI victim specialist.