September 17, 2007 —Chances are you know someone who is planning a vacation on a cruise line this year. In 2007, over 12 million Americans will travel on cruise lines. Unfortunately, few of these vacationing “cruisers” fully appreciate their potential vulnerability to crime while on an ocean voyage. Citizens who are victimized often do not know their legal rights or who to contact for help in the immediate aftermath of the crime.
In recent years, the media has reported a number of high profile cases of passengers falling overboard, passengers gone missing and passengers being raped and sexually assaulted. Sadly, many of these cases remain unresolved. Worse yet is many cases go unreported because there is no industry reporting mechanism.
Congress has been holding hearings on this important issue during this session. Most recently the Coast Guard and Maritime Subcommittee received testimony from the President of the International Cruise Victims Association, Kendall Carver, and Ms. Laurie Dishman during a March 27, 2007 hearing about the many problems they experienced as relatives and victims of crime on cruise ships.
For more information on Help for American Victims of Crime Overseas, contact the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs.