Cruise ship safety and security is an important issue for you and the cruise line. Comparing crime committed in your own U.S. city and a cruise ship, you are safer on a cruise ship. Learn why this is the case in Cruise Ship Safety and Security.
Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009
Any day now, President Barack Obama will sign the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009 into law. Requirements for cruise ship safety and security of this new bill include:
1) Ship rail heights to be no lower than 42 inches
2) Peep holes in cabin doors
3) Video surveillance systems
4) Alleged crimes are to be recorded by crew and reported to the Coast Guard and FBI. Passengers are provided with information packets on reporting crimes.
On the first day, a Coast Guard cruise ship safety drill is conducted with mandatory attendance. When aboard a ship, the same behaviors you exhibit on land with strangers are the same behaviors you use for cruise ship safety and security.
From 2002 to 2007, FBI opened 184 cases on cruise ships according to a Congressional testimony of Salvador Hernandez, FBI deputy assistant director. Of these cases, 84 or 46 percent involved employees as suspects. Of reported crime cases, most have been sexual or physical assault cases, 55 percent and 22 percent, respectively. Most were alcohol-related and took place in private staterooms. Of the 24 employee involvement cases, 65 percent of the cases were non-U.S. citizens. Of the sexual assault cases, 60 were not prosecuted because of indications the act was consensual or lack of evidence. Most of the physical assaults were between adult males and took place in the casinos, bars, ship decks and crew members’ living quarters. Most disputes were alcohol-related or domestic disputes. Missing persons, homicides, natural causes, suicides and accidents were a relatively small percentage of the rest of the cases.
FBI Jurisdiction of Cruise Ship Safety and Security
The FBI has jurisdiction over a crime committed on a ship that has U.S. citizens on aboard, regardless of flag and the nationality of the perpetrator or victim. If the crime occurs within the territorial waters or 12 miles of the U.S. coast, then it is under the FBIs jurisdiction. If the perpetrator or victim is a U.S. national on a ship that departed from a U.S. port, then the FBI has jurisdiction over the crime. The FBI has jurisdiction over any acts of terrorism against the U.S. If the crime occurs outside of U.S. territorial waters, international laws or laws of sovereign nations will apply. The FBI legal attaches assist local authorities in evidence collection and other duties.
Coast Guard Jurisdiction of Cruise Ship Safety and Security
The Coast Guard inspects each cruise ship’s safety and compliance to regulations. It covers lifesaving equipment, hull structure, watertight integrity, firefighting and safety navigation of the ship to name a few. If the ship passes cruise safety inspection, it is issued a validation certificate. This certificate is displayed for passengers to view. Twice a year, the Coast Guard administers a vessel compliance program of all international and U.S. standards including environmental protection, cruise ship safety and security. In September 30, 2009, the Coast Guard established the Coast Guard National Center of Expertise or CSNCOE to increase the Coast Guard’s expertise in the cruise shipping industry and specifically the enforcement of foreign passenger vessel safety standards. The Coast Guard’s objective is to educate its personnel as well as the cruise line industry in proper vessel examination training through the Advanced Foreign Passenger Vessel Examination course or AFPVE. The Coast Guard and Cruise Line International Association or CLIA have been successfully working together for over 12 years.
Cruise Ship Safety and Security – CLIA
More than 12 million passengers board cruise ships every year. Cruise Line International Association or CLIA puts safety and security of passengers as one of its highest priority. Every passenger and crew member passes through a security checkpoint through only one door when embarking or disembarking the ship. An official manifest is kept of every single person aboard the ship.
Crew members are pre-screened by the U.S. State Department overseeing the issuance of work visas of foreign nationals. U.S. Embassy personnel conduct background checks of foreign nationals in their origin countries.
Common Sense Precautions for Safety and Security
For your cruise ship safety and security if you are single, go with an organized group. Visiting unfamiliar countries alone may not be safe or secure if you get lost or have any health issues. Tips for cruise ship safety and security include:
• Only invite people you know into your stateroom. Do not give out personal information to someone you do not know well.
• Leave valuables at home. Usually staterooms have a cabin safe for cash, watches and jewelry.
• Women should not leave a drink unattended or accept a drink from someone they have never met before because someone could spike it.
• Consume alcohol in moderation. Overindulgence can cause falls and confrontations.
• Do not lean or climb on railings, especially after drinking excessive alcohol.
• Remove yourself from passengers who are too boisterous or engaging in excessive drinking.
Norwegian Epic Has a Police Station for Cruise Ship Safety and Security
The 2010 Norwegian Epic has a police station on board according to editor in chief Carolyn Spencer Brown of CruiseCritic.com .It is a holding cell for a ship with 7,000 people, a small city.
Personal Experience with Cruise Ship Safety and Security
Personally, I found the cruise ship to be safety conscious. You can feel confident that procedures are in place to report crimes to the FBI. Be responsible for yourself without a false sense of security. If you have problems, the cruise staff is ready to help. Many people continue to cruise without incidents with cruise ships at 100 percent capacity.
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