Before embarking on a cruise ship you have to think about safety measures you should implement and the legal issues regarding safety. When you board a ship in the United States, it does not necessarily mean you have all of the legal protection as if you were on land. As well, once at sea, U.S. laws may not apply.
Ensuring Your Safety on a Cruise Ship
The purpose of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act is to ensure safety and security for all Americans aboard cruise ships. The Act was passed last year to provide cruise ship passengers with increased protections. For instance, current legislation mandates rail heights to be at least 42 inches, cabins must have peep holes on doors, and there must be a sophisticated video surveillance system. However, passengers should implement safety measures such as: bring luggage with a lock on it to prevent theft. Create an inventory of the contents of the luggage, be sensible about where you walk on the boat such as avoiding isolated dark areas, and store valuables in a safe. As well, keep an eye on children and their whereabouts.
The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act require cruise ship personnel to contact the FBI and the U.S. Coast Guard in the event of a serious crime. Serious crimes would include assault, sexual assault, homicide, kidnapping, suspicious deaths, and missing passengers. Rape kits and a sexual assault forensic expert should be on board each ship. The Secretary of Transportation and the FBI, have a program that train all crew members in prevention, detection, reporting and preserving evidence on all cruise ships.
Princess Cruise Lines Cancels Port of Call Due to Safety Concerns
USA Today this summer reported that Princess Cruise Lines canceled any visits by their ships to the port in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the remainder of the year. The reason given is safety concerns. This move to cancel Puerto Vallarta as a port of call happened at about 3 months after Princess and other cruise lines stopped visiting nearby Mazatlan, Mexico because of safety concerns. Princess is the first of the major cruise lines to cancel visits to Puerto Vallarta,
There are many reports indicating the high crime that is taking place in the ports in Mexico, which is a popular stopping point for the cruise lines. The cruise line has stepped up their efforts to avoid high risk ports due to an incident where a passenger was shot and killed during gang violence in an area widely known for violence and crime. A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family of the deceased passenger alleged a failure on the part of the cruise line to warn passengers of the dangers, and alleged negligence on the part of the cruise line for taking the passenger into a known dangerous area.
If you sustain a serious accident or injury due to the negligence of the ship staff or poor conditions on the ship, you should consult with a cruise ship attorney who can advise you of your rights and help protect your interests, which includes seeking fair financial compensation.