Behind all the fun of cruise ship vacation, there is a danger lurking aboard these vessels which cruise lines do not advertise and passengers tend not think about – sexual assault. The rate of incidents of sexual assault and rape claims on cruise ships – by crew members, entertainers or by other passengers – is much higher that most people think. The combination of late night activity, private bedrooms, close quarters, and possibly alcohol consumption fuels an environment that creates a dangerous risk of sexual assault. Although cruise ships have only begun to publicly release statistics on these types of crimes, there have been hundreds of documented incidents of alleged rape and sexual assault aboard cruise ships since 2010 alone.
You do not forfeit your rights to be in a safe environment when you board a cruise ship. Indeed, it is the cruise line’s responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of their passengers. Cruise companies have a legal duty to provide a safe environment for their passengers and the failure to do so may entitle the injured party to compensation. Furthermore, when a crime is committed by a cruise ship employee or agent, the company is responsible. Our attorneys are experienced in handling cases involving sexual assault on a cruise ship.
Sexual assaults on cruise ships can be particularly frightening and traumatic because the victims are often in middle of the ocean with nowhere to go or near a foreign county with unfamilar laws. Moreover, there may be no local police department and the victim is confused as to whom to report the crime. A cruise ship (which may resemble a small city in population size) typically hires security personnel, but they do not necessarily have a law enforcement background, and you cannot assume that ship personnel will collect evidence to support your case. The security guards are not independent. They are employees of the cruise ships, not deputized law enforcement officials with the skill and responsibility to investigate crimes. Our lawyers have handled all of these circumstances and are prepared to protect your rights. Now more than ever, cruise passengers are advised to exercise extreme caution while traveling onboard a vessel and to document any incident, no matter how minor, the instant it occurs so evidence is captured and a legal claim can be brought.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted on a cruise ship, it is important to have experienced legal counsel. For instance, most passengers do not realize that by purchasing a ticket on the cruise line, they may have agreed to bring all legal claims within a short window of time (called a statute of limitations) and bring their case in a specific jurisdiction (called a venue restriction). In most circumstances, you will have uknowingly agreed to bring any claim (including a sexual assault claim against the cruise line) within just one year in the Federal Court for the Southern District of Florida or in the State Courts of Florida.