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.
The Government Accounting Office (GAO) has released a major report based upon its extensive review of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010. This study was requested by Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV) and Rep. Matsui (D-CA). This report confirms the ICV’s concerns regarding the lack of progress on many of the safety issues that were part of the original legislation.
The GAO report indicates the cruise lines have failed to implement key provisions of the CVSSA. As stated in the report, allegations for which investigations are not opened are never published. ICV has been very concerned about this deficiency since without complete data on cruise ship crime occurrences, the public does not have the necessary statistics to make informed decisions when considering a cruise vacation.
The report goes on to indicate that the reported data is not timely. Since a crime is not reported currently until a case is closed, months and years can go by before this information is made public.
Other provisions which have not been implemented include man overboard technology, which detects and alerts the crew to a person falling overboard. The legislation requires that if MOB systems are available, they must be installed. ICV’s position is that these systems are available currently.
During 2013 there were 18 cases of overboard passengers, but unfortunately, without these systems in place to alert the ships, there is little chance of saving the individual. Sadly, in just the last three weeks, five persons have gone overboard. ICV feels this sharply illustrates the need for compliance.
While the report covers other major items, these highlight just a few of the issues that need to be addressed. Legislation has been introduced in Congress to tighten up these provisions. Rep. Matsui and Rep. Poe have introduced H.R. 2800 in the House, and Sen. Rockefeller has introduced S.1340 in the Senate. If the cruise industry is truly interested in passenger safety, we would like to see them support these needed changes. So far they have shown little if any interest in making these essential changes to improve crime reporting and MOB systems.
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