Cruise News - International Cruise Victims Association - Challenge of FBI Statistics
June 12- 2012 : International Cruise Victims Association (ICV) Challenges Cruise Crime Statistics Provided
The International Cruise Victims Association, Inc. (ICV) a not-for-profit corporation formed by victims and families of victims of cruise ship crime, and the voice promoting safety on cruise ships, call into question the fact that despite their many trips to Washington DC, the submission of written material and video conferences with the FBI and US Coast Guard, their recommendations as well as the true intent of the CVSSA (Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act) is being ignored.
One example of concern for ICV is that the intent of the CVSSA was that all alleged crimes should be reported just as they are on land in the United States so that potential cruise passengers could judge for themselves the safety of a cruise vacation.
The following was reported in a front page article in the Sunday edition of the Arizona Republic dated June 8, 2012, by Robert Anglen:
“Crime reporting language was added at the request of the FBI and the U.S. Coast Guard which feared that reporting on pending cases could impact on-going investigations and endanger lives and efforts to bring criminals to justice.”
Why would the reporting of alleged crimes as practiced throughout the United States, affect the FBI’s efforts at sea? ICV is concerned over who might benefit from these changes and other provisions not being properly enforced. Clearly, not the U.S. citizens, but the cruise line industry would be the beneficiary.
Without a doubt, the change in the wording substantially altered the intent of the original legislation. Through a Freedom of Information Act request, submitted before the CVSSA was passed, material was obtained showing over 400 alleged crimes being reported to the FBI/CG over a one-year period of time. However, last year, after the passage of the legislation to protect US cruise ship passengers, a total of only 16 crimes were shown to have been reported for the entire year of 2011.
“Americans have no idea that they leave their constitutional rights behind when they board a cruise ship heading for foreign waters, under foreign registry, with a foreign crew,” said Dr. Will Marling, Executive Director of the National Organization for Victim Assistance. “ICV has tirelessly sought to provide federal protections for Americans on cruise ships, including those who become victims. To see the intent of the original federal provisions altered not only can subvert the cause of justice, it affirms that injustice can prevail simply because law enforcement appears to treat criminal investigations as optional.”
Kendall Carver, Chairman of ICV indicated the following, “One of ICV’s major accomplishments has been the passage of the CVSSA in July 2010, which was passed . because of the efforts of the victims and families of ICV. They did this in spite of the fact that the cruise industry spent millions to hire professional lobbyists to undercut this legislation. In contrast, ICV with no paid staff and limited funds, travelled to Washington at their own expense to lobby for this much-needed legislation. It has been, for ICV, like David and Goliath going up against this giant industry. To see various provisions ignored or not enforced makes it a sad day for all Americans.”
Clearly, the ICV goal is to continue to work with these agencies, but together in good faith so that all US citizens might experience the safety and security they deserve and rightfully assume is theirs.
Phone 602 852 5896 or 602 989 6752
For more information about the issues of safety at sea and the legislation surrounding this, take a look at the unique Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine section about Safety and Crime at Sea