It’s no secret that crime onboard cruise ships is reaching disturbing levels. Even though technology has drastically improved since the first cruise ships set sail over 100 years ago, our maritime lawyers here at Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A. continue to worry about the cruise industry’s safety standards.
Make no mistake, we think cruises are generally safe and an excellent, affordable vacation, but given what we do on a daily basis (help those seriously injured or harmed on cruise ships), we keep a laser-like focus on what is really on out of the public’s view.
Cruise lines are required by maritime law to keep both passengers and crew members safe from harm. But how exactly do they go about protecting those onboard?
For one, there are cameras onboard that monitor common areas. Unfortunately, these cameras aren’t monitored on a consistent basis. There are also certain safety protocols that cruise lines require their crew members to follow. Crew must be trained on how to properly handle emergency evacuations and must pass a background check, but even then, dangers can still be faced by everyone onboard. Some checks fail to provide the full scope of a potential new hire’s background, which means cruise lines can – and often do – inadvertently hire individuals with a criminal past or who have a history of mental disease.
The next line of defense the cruise industry has against crime onboard ships is to hire experienced security personnel. Let’s face it, even though crew members should be trained on how to monitor areas for signs of crime and how to apprehend suspects, many of the individuals who are involved in shipboard crimes are the crew members themselves! Enter security personnel to the rescue.