Cruise News - International Cruise Victims Association - About Safe Heights for Railings

 International Crime Victims Association (ICV)October 17 - 2012 : Safe Heights for Cruise Ship Railings

The International Cruise Victims Association, Inc. (ICV), constantly working to increase the safety of cruise passengers against crime on cruise ships, is now also concentrating on the general safety of cruise passengers by tackling the issue of the safe heights of cruise ship railings.

The recommendation of the ICV has always been that the railing height on cruise ships be raised to 54 inches to deter people from going overboard.

Sadly, the Cruise Lines Association (CLIA) has now successfully lobbied against this so the railing height at 42 inches is deemed acceptable.

With incidents of someone going overboard about every two weeks while cruise ships sail the world, this is not an issue of rare occurances, but somthing that needs to be addressed and rectified.

Here is the latest press release from the ICV detailing all the issues concerned this very worrying state of affairs.

Time to Raise the Bar on Cruise Ships?
The International Cruise Victims Association, Inc. (ICV) a not-for-profit corporation formed by victims and families of victims of cruise ship crime is a unique organization.
In the original draft of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA), our legislation required the railing height on cruise ships be raised to 54 inches to deter people from going overboard. The Cruise Lines Association (CLIA) successfully lobbied against this provisions so the railing height was lower to 42 inches.

However, with the passage of the CVSSA, a  provision was added which indicated the following:
“The vessel shall integrate technology that can be used for capturing images of passengers or detecting passengers who have fallen overboard, to the extent that such technology is available.”
In effect, this provision requires that a Man Overboard System (MOB) be put on all cruise ships to detect someone going overboard the moment it happens.  As of October 15, the sad news is that 19 people have gone overboard and this number just keeps growing.  For the latest update, you can go to the link on our home page for Cruise Junkie at the following:
In a recent blog put out by the cruise promoter, Paul Motter, the question was raised again. Since this is a pro cruise line blog, it was most surprising to see such a topic…especially given that this blogger has been opposed to this in the past. The title of his blog was “Time to Raise the Bar on Cruise Ships?” and can be read at the following link:  
Guess what!!! In 2011, the Coast Guard requested proposals for MOB systems and by July of that year they were in receipt of them.  Here we are 15 months later and the Coast Guard has yet to respond to or contact these companies.  In meetings with the Coast Guard, they indicated that they must first do a cost benefit analysis and our estimate is that it will be years before they address this matter.  If they were not going to even look at these proposals, why did they request them???
In carefully reading the law, nowhere does it say that these systems must be approved by the Coast Guard in advance of being placed on a cruise ship.
In the blog mentioned above, one of the MOB system vendors indicated the following:
“We developed a system of laser sensors with cameras that are always active but do not alarm unless it is body mass. The theory being that the moment the sensor goes off the camera video rolls back 7 frames so that the bridge can see the actual event. The video feed is not only maintained on the ship but is automatically uplinked to an offsite call center allowing for there to be no manipulation of the data.have showcased this at Sea Trade and at other venues. We have also spoken with numerous Cruise Lines and even cruise ship builders to no avail. We presented our papers and technology to the Coast Guard when they came out with a directive that stated if the technology is available then Cruise Ships calling on ports in the US must have this technology on board.”
The link to this proposal can be found at the following:

With someone going overboard about every two weeks why would there be no apparent effort to move forward?   In a blog put out October 3, 2012 - The Legal Examiner titled “Is It Time for Cruise Ship Companies to Utilize Technology to Detect If A Persons Goes Overboard? This was written by Maritime lawyer, Brett Rivkind. The entire article can be read by the following link:
One conclusion of this article is that because of the Death on the High Sea’s Act, the cruise lines are protected from most claims.  Does this mean it is cheaper to not move forward with the MOB systems because of the legal protection DOSHA affords them?
In addition, the search and rescue attempts by the Coast Guard are paid for the US Taxpayers and not the cruise lines.  Under Freedom of Information Act requests, in just two cases of search and rescue by the Coast Guard the costs were over $900,000 and the victims were never found. 
ICV’s position is that the law requires this system to be added and system certainly does appear to be available; so it is time someone is held accountable for not taking action to add these systems to cruise ships to protect human life.

For more information about the International Cruise Victims Association, please visit or contact the following:

Kendall Carver
E-Mail [email protected]
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


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