The Family Cruise Companion

Crime on Cruise Ships: Unpacking the Hidden Dangers at Sea

By: Author Family Cruise Companion

Posted on Last updated: April 10, 2024


Wherever large groups of humans gather, the odds are very high that criminal activity will transpire. Sadly, this is also true for crime on cruise ships. The situation can be more complicated due to the isolated environment and international waters adding layers of complexity to jurisdiction and law enforcement issues. Despite these challenges and reports that crimes on cruise ships may have increased in recent years (particularly sexual assaults) , overall incidents are rare, and cruise lines continue to take comprehensive security measures to protect passengers and prevent or reduce crimes.

Cruise operators adhere to strict safety protocols, including surveillance systems and onboard security personnel. They are also regulated by legal standards, notably the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) , which oversees crime reporting and response protocols. Awareness of these security measures, understanding your rights onboard, and knowing how to report crimes promotes a safer journey for everyone.

Key Takeaways

  • The overall incidence rate of serious crimes on cruise ships is relatively low.
  • Fellow passengers commit the majority of reported crimes.
  • Crimes on cruise ships are managed through various security personnel, protocols, and international laws.

An Overview of Crime on Cruise Ships

crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

When you board a cruise ship, you’re stepping into a unique jurisdictional environment where maritime law applies. While the setting might suggest a break from everyday concerns, you must know that crime can occur at sea just as it does on land.

Statistics and Frequency of Crimes

Recognition that serious crimes, including sexual assaults, occur on cruise ships can be alarming. But some context is important. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, the risk of violent crimes on cruise ships runs 95% lower than crime rates found in typical American cities .

crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

Types of Crimes Committed on Cruise Ships

Cruise ships witness a wide range of criminal activities. High-profile types often include:

  • Sexual Assault : This is a severe crime often reported on board, ranging from harassment to rape.
  • Theft : Personal belongings of passengers or crew can be targeted for theft, leading to financial loss and distress.
  • Violence : Incidents can encompass everything from simple altercations to serious homicides or suspicious deaths , demanding investigation from authorities.

Each type of crime carries its own implication for the safety and well-being of individuals on cruise ships, underlying the importance of stringent security measures and legal protocols in these international waters.

Legal Framework

Understanding the legal framework governing crimes on cruise ships involves a complex mix of jurisdiction, international agreements, and specific legislation.

Jurisdiction and Laws

Jurisdiction over a crime committed on a cruise ship typically depends on the ship’s location at the time of the incident, the nationality of the victims and perpetrators , and the country of the ship’s registration . Most cruise ships are registered under foreign flags, which complicates jurisdiction.

Under admiralty and maritime law, the laws of the country whose flag the ship flies are generally applicable. If a crime occurs in another country’s territorial waters, that country may also have jurisdiction.

International Agreements

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides a framework for maritime jurisdiction. It describes the rights and responsibilities of nations in using the world’s oceans and establishes guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources. However, the enforcement of laws while at sea can often be governed by bilateral or multilateral treaties between nations.

United States Legislation

The U.S. Code, Title 18, section 113 covers penal code offenses applicable to the maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. This includes crimes on American ships or foreign ships involving U.S. citizens. Additionally, crimes on board cruise ships may fall within the scope of Admiralty and Maritime Jurisdiction, allowing the United States to exercise authority over contractual and tortious actions at sea.

Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act

The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act was signed into law in the United States in 2010. This legislation requires cruise lines to comply with certain security and safety measures. It mandates reporting crimes to U.S. authorities, implementing security technology such as surveillance systems, and ensuring vessel design includes features to prevent and respond to crimes at sea.

Crime on Cruise Ships | photo of Miami-Dade Police boat approaching cruise ship

Safety and Security Measures

When you embark on a cruise, your safety and security are upheld by strict policies, a dedicated security team, and encouraged common sense practices. These layers ensure that the likelihood of incidents is minimized and that you can enjoy your vacation with peace of mind.

Cruise Line Safety Policies

Most cruise lines have comprehensive safety policies to protect you, the passenger. After the passing of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 (CVSSA), cruise ships were mandated to implement safety measures, which include the presence of peepholes on doors, the use of security cameras in public areas, and the availability of shipboard medical staff capable of performing forensic sexual assault examinations.

  • Peepholes on cabin doors
  • Railings designed to prevent accidental falls
  • Security cameras in public areas
  • Confidential reporting mechanisms for crimes

Onboard Security Personnel

Major cruise lines typically maintain sophisticated security departments run by former professional law enforcement officials and have a staff of competent, qualified security personnel available 24/7.

crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

Cruise security personnel are trained to handle various incidents and ensure your safety. These teams are prepared to address security issues rapidly and are often comparable to land-based law enforcement officers. The presence of these teams is to deter potential security threats and to provide immediate assistance when needed.

According to CLIA, all major cruise ships have security that meets the following criteria:

  • At least one onboard crew member trained in crime prevention and investigation
  • Security Patrols conducted 24/7
  • The security team collaborates with the port authority and international law enforcement when required.

U.S. federal laws also require cruise lines to maintain a video surveillance system to detect and deter crime. Robust video surveillance plays a key role in cruise ship security . The presence of these systems not only deters crime but also provides forensic documentation of incidents and activities. We are also seeing an increased use of cruise ship security officers routinely sporting body cameras .

Passenger Safety and Common Sense Practices

Your personal safety onboard a cruise also depends on your actions and vigilance. Employing common-sense practices similar to those you would employ at home significantly helps maintain a safe environment. Strategies such as:

  • Securing personal belongings in safes
  • Maintaining control of your cabin key
  • Being mindful of alcohol consumption and potentially predatory environments

crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

Crime Reporting and Response

The FBI has jurisdiction over crimes committed at sea when the cruise ship is bound for or departed from a U.S. port. The U.S. Coast Guard also plays a vital role in this process, assisting with law enforcement duties. They are responsible for supporting the investigations and liaising with local police authorities when needed.

Data and Transparency

One key feature of the CVSSA concerns the data collection and reporting requirements. The Act mandates that cruise lines report allegations of crimes to the FBI and that the Department of Transportation (DOT) makes statistical crime data available to the public. These quarterly reports are readily available on the DOT’s website.

We have reviewed the public reports posted for calendar years 2022 and 2023 and summarized key data points below.

Summary chart of cruise crime data for 2022 and 2023 based on reports on DOT website.

Prevention and Education

Cruise lines implement various preventive measures such as security cameras and regular security patrols. Crew members receive training on these systems to promptly detect and respond to potential threats. This training covers the use of surveillance technology, personal safety drills, and crime response protocols .

Who Commits Crimes on Cruise Ships?

When you encounter media coverage of criminal activity on cruise ships, it often features crimes committed by cruise line employees. While such crimes do occur, they are not the greatest source of danger.

 Most onboard crimes appear to be committed by fellow passengers rather than crew. For example, in the calendar year 2023, more than 70% of the cruise ship crimes reported were identified as passenger-committed crimes. So, for instance, focusing on the statistics from 2023 quarterly reports:

Crime on Cruise Ships | Data chart of cruise ship crimes committed by passengers in 2023

Process Considerations

  • Prosecution Challenges : Legal outcomes often hinge on the complexity of international law and jurisdictional challenges. Victims may find themselves in a web of differing legal systems based on where the ship is registered and the waters it is in.
  • Outcome of Sexual Assault Cases : Many sexual assaults on cruise ships lead to extensive investigations, with varying results—some lead to convictions, while others remain unresolved due to jurisdictional complications.
  • Physical Assaults and Murder : Physical assaults can result in rigorous shipboard investigations and potential involvement by the Coast Guard or FBI when docked in U.S. ports. Cases that reach a verdict often hinge on clear evidence and witness testimonies.
  • Thefts and Prosecutions : Cruise lines often handle minor thefts internally, and this may involve focusing on having property returned to its rightful owner rather than punishing would-be wrongdoers. However, if the crime is significant (e.g., more than $10,000), larger theft incidents can trigger law enforcement involvement.
  • Preventive Measures : Cruise lines have increasingly implemented advanced security protocols and crew trainings to prevent and respond to crimes. For instance, an increasing number of onboard security personnel wear body cameras.

Safety Tips for Parents

If you’re sailing with children, staying informed about the ship’s safety features and the available children’s programs is essential. Employ these tips to protect your family further:

  • Ensure your kids know their cabin number and how to always contact you.
  • Educate your children about who the safe staff members are, should they need assistance.
  • Familiarize yourself with the children’s activity centers and the qualifications of those in charge.
  • For kids who are allowed to roam the ship independently, ensure they know they are not to enter staterooms of passengers not traveling with you — even if invited to do so.
  • Never climb or sit on railings. It’s not even if it looks “safe” to do so.

Key Takeaways and Recommendations

When embarking on a cruise, your safety is paramount. Here are essential strategies to enhance your security and ensure a more enjoyable journey:

  • Be Informed : For peace of mind, familiarize yourself with the safety procedures and the ship’s layout.
  • Alcohol Consumption : Be mindful of circumstances where alcohol consumption can place you in a vulnerable position.
  • Contact Numbers : In case you need to report a crime, Keep the contact details for the relevant authorities, such as the FBI, at 202.324.3000.
  • Personal Belongings : Safeguard your valuables using the safe provided in your room and minimize the cash on hand.
  • Vigilance : Stay vigilant about your surroundings and report any suspicious activity to the ship’s security.
  • Crew Interaction : Limit personal interactions with crew members to professional contexts and avoid accepting invitations to crew quarters.
  • Companions : Travel with a trusted friend or group and establish check-in times.

At a minimum, apply at least the same vigilance about your surroundings and activities as you would at home. Your proactive approach contributes significantly to the safety and well-being of everyone onboard.

Closing Thoughts

While the prospect of crime on cruise ships may understandably cause concern, cruise lines have implemented many security measures to protect passengers. While the overall incidence of crimes on cruise ships is generally less than what you see on land, it is not zero. Passengers should remain aware of their surroundings and take personal safety precautions as they would at home.

Keep up with the latest cruise tips and insights! Follow us on Pinterest:

Related articles.

crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

Integrity First, Compassion, and Excellence in All We Do

Cruise Ship Law Blog

' src=

Cruise Ship Law: What You Need to Know


Written by LM&W Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. is made up of attorneys who are nationally recognized industry leaders in the field of maritime and admiralty law. Our team of cruise lawyers has well over two centuries of combined experience, has successfully handled over 3,000 cases, and has recovered over 300 million dollars in damages for our clients. Several of our attorneys have even been selected to “Best Lawyers” ® by US News & World Report every year as far back as 2016.

crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

The Nation’s Leading Cruise Ship Accident Lawyers can Help You Demand Total Compensation

justice scales with law books

For many vacationers, going on a cruise is an exciting and novel experience. Even those who have sailed before find something special about spending time at sea. While it is true that a cruise vacation can be one of the most relaxing vacation options, it is also true that cruise ship law  and jurisdiction can be some of the most complex.

But, if you’re preparing to set out on a cruise, it is important to understand what rules and regulations apply to you and your traveling companions. We always advocate for cruise-goers to obtain as much information up front as possible. Although your chances of accident and injury are slim, being prepared with a basic understanding of your legal rights puts you in a much stronger position from which to move forward. With this knowledge in mind, you will be better equipped to have the most enjoyable and stress-free experience you can, while navigating any unexpected events that come your way. Whether you are a cruise ship crew member or passenger, when you suffer injuries due to the ship’s negligence, you have the right to total reimbursement of your damages. Continue reading to find out more about how our dedicated cruise ship accident attorneys can help you recover fair compensation in your case. Connect with our personal injury attorneys as soon as possible to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

Why is Cruise Ship Law So Complex?

One of the main reasons that prosecuting a crime at sea can be more challenging than prosecuting a crime on land is that maritime law is known for being one of the least updated and most intricate of the legal sectors. In many cases, laws that govern sea-based operations are decades–or in some cases hundreds of years–old.

In that time, a lot has changed on the high seas, meaning that these old laws may no longer be relevant or beneficial to passengers and crewmembers. Yet, without any new legislation to clarify or modernize maritime law, attorneys and their clients are left to wade through the often murky legal waters.

Lawsuits over incidents occurring aboard cruise ships are usually filed in courts in specific jurisdictions that are selected by the cruise line and specified in the cruise passenger ticket.  For most of the major cruise lines ( Carnival , Royal Caribbean , Celebrity , Norwegian ) the jurisdiction is in the Federal Court in Miami (United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida); for Princess , it is in California; for Holland America it is in Washington State.  Also, the federal law allows cruise lines to shorten the statute of limitations within which passengers are allowed to file lawsuits for personal injury to 1 year from the date of the incident, from the normal 3 year maritime personal injury statute of limitations.  Also, the cruise lines are allowed to require that they be provided written notice of a claim within 6 months of the incident.  You can see how quickly navigating cruise ship laws and jurisdiction can get complicated. It is very important to refer to your cruise ticket for all of the terms and conditions related to your cruise!

Additionally, the international itineraries of many cruises can throw an extra layer of confusion on cruise ship cases, causing many to wonder where to sue for incidents occurring in ports of call; and who exactly who is allowed to enforce the law at sea?

When is the FBI involved?

Cruise ship law and jurisdiction is a curious thing. Due to the fact that cruises do not have official police, it may seem as though crimes can take place with little oversight. After all, cruise security is not quite as intimidating to criminals, nor as equipped to handle the more serious crimes that take place at sea. Especially if you are an American citizen, you may be wondering when the FBI gets involved in cruise crimes? According to official testimony from the FBI, the United States has jurisdiction over investigating a crime at sea if:

  • The ship is a U.S.-owned vessel. This is true regardless of the flag, nationality of the victim or the perpetrator. This applies when the ship is still within U.S. maritime jurisdiction, but outside of the jurisdiction of any particular state.
  • The crime was committed against or by a U.S. national but took place outside of the jurisdiction of any nation.
  • The crime took place in the sea under U.S. jurisdiction (within 12 miles of the coast). This applies regardless of the nationality of the ship, the victim or the perpetrator.
  • The individuals involved–either the perpetrator or the victim–are U.S. nationals on a ship that has departed form or will arrive in a U.S. port.

Since 2010, the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act has required cruise ships that embark and disembark in the United States to report all crimes that take place at sea. In general, when crimes are committed in territories under U.S. jurisdiction, the FBI focuses its efforts on incidents that have specific penalties as specified under Title 18. These crimes include: assault, murder, attempt to commit murder or manslaughter, kidnapping, sexual abuse , robbery, and theft. These crimes and more are included in the cruise crime statistics reported by the Department of Transportation.

That said, crimes in international waters may also require the involvement of the FBI.

Crimes in International Waters

Once a cruise ship sails more than 24 miles off of the coast of any given country, it is considered to be in international waters. This means that the laws governing crimes on the ship are determined by the flag that the ship is sailing under. It is not uncommon for a ship to be flagged in a different country than the one from which it departed. In fact, cruise lines often flag their ships in countries where the laws are less stringent, so as to avoid greater oversight.

If a crime occurs at sea, outside of U.S. waters, senior level agents in the FBI will work with the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs to determine the level of FBI involvement. In most cases, the FBI’s role in an international investigation will largely depend upon the country where the crime took place, as well as FBI resources in that particular region. It is forbidden for the FBI to enter a foreign flag vessel outside of U.S. territory to enforce U.S. criminal laws, without the permission of the flag state.

Crimes that take place outside of the U.S. in international waters require cooperation from all countries involved. This includes coordination of investigation efforts, evidence collection, and agreement upon the jurisdiction of all impacted countries. When given permission, the FBI will come on board the ship as soon as possible after a crime has taken place in order to examine and make proper notation of all available evidence associated with the event.

Failure to promptly notify cruise security of a crime can result in missed opportunities for the proper personnel to board the ship and conduct the necessary investigations. Regardless of which jurisdiction you are under, the sooner you report the incident, the greater chance you will have of creating a strong legal case in your favor.

Crimes in a Foreign Port

Although you may feel safest with the knowledge that the FBI will be investigating your case, as you can see, there are many times when this is not possible. Crimes in foreign ports can be one of those times. If a crime should take place in a foreign port, you should notify cruise security as soon as possible. The most likely scenario is that the local authorities will then board the ship in order to investigate the crime scene, gather evidence and receive testimony from all those involved. In some cases, the cruise may be delayed in its departure from the port, until the investigation is complete.

The moral of the story, and one of the biggest takeaways for passengers and crewmembers on international cruise journeys, is that regardless of whether you are on the high seas or in a foreign port of call, prompt reporting of crimes is key.

How To Abide By the Law When On A Cruise Ship

Often, it can feel as though the laws that govern behavior at sea are constantly in flux. After all, the laws that apply while sailing internal and territorial waters shift once the vessel enters the contiguous zone, and shift again when the ship enters international waters. In addition to their particularity, laws when aboard cruise ships are exceptionally complex, often containing unforeseen loopholes and little known exceptions that can make prosecuting a crime a time consuming endeavor even for skilled and experienced attorneys.

Due to the many unexpected ways that cruise ship law can turn your incident into a lengthy legal expedition, most cruise passengers and crew do their best to stay out of harm’s way. A good rule of thumb is to refrain from any behavior that may have negative repercussions on land. After all, it is far better to be safe than to unintentionally find yourself committing an international transgression.

That said, if you find yourself a victim of accident or injury at sea, you should know that the law is on your side. Do not hesitate to report the crime to the nearest cruise security, so that the investigation process can begin as quickly as possible. You can also make note of any evidence and do your part to ensure that the proper information has been saved, to help you when you speak with your maritime lawyer . Regardless of what crime has occurred, you will want to give yourself the strongest possible foundation for your attorney to build your legal case.

Recovering Maximum Compensation for Your Cruise Ship Accident Injuries

Whether you were attacked, sexually assaulted, or suffered catastrophic injuries due to dangerous conditions on the ship, when you are aboard a cruise line and suffer injuries, you have the right to compensation for your damages. This is particularly true if the cruise line’s negligence or misconduct contributed to the injuries you sustained. Depending on whether you are a passenger or crew member, your opportunities for financial recovery will vary. Some of the top ways to recover compensation after a cruise ship accident include:

  • Filing a worker’s compensation claim
  • Filing a claim under the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA)
  • Filing a claim with the cruise line’s insurance company
  • Filing a lawsuit against the cruise line or other liable party

In any case, you are entitled to total compensation for your damages. Although the ways in which you recover compensation for your losses can vary, the types of damages you have the potential to recover are generally the same. Some of the most common recoverable damages could include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical bills
  • Personal property damages
  • Permanent disability
  • Embarrassing skin scars
  • Disfigurement
  • Emotional trauma and mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Loss of household services
  • Loss of employee related benefits
  • Diminished earning potential
  • Future healthcare costs
  • Reimbursement for your cruise tickets

These are only a few examples of potentially recoverable damages. When you discuss the details of your case with our respective cruise ship accident lawyers, you can learn more about how much your cruise ship injury claim could be worth and the steps you should be prepared to take to pursue the compensation you are entitled to.

Our Top Rated Cruise Ship Accident Attorneys Will Work Tirelessly to Get You the Compensation you Deserve

Our cruise ship accident law firm has had multiple attorneys recognized as “Best Lawyers” 2016-2024 ® and has been named to “Best Law Firms” ® by US News & World Report annually since 2016. Our leading cruise ship accident lawyers have more than 200 years of experience handling maritime law and cruise ship accident claims. We are uniquely equipped to go up against profit driven cruise lines and maximize your financial compensation.

At Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A., we understand that laws when aboard cruise ships can cause even the most level-headed individual to feel overwhelmed. That is why we are here to help. We know what you are facing and the best way to get you the resolution you deserve.

When you work with us, you can rest assured that we know the ins and outs of cruise ship laws, so that you don’t have to. So no matter the size or scope of your case, if you or someone you love is ready to face your legal burden head on, do not hesitate to contact us today to get started. Fill out our secured contact form or call our office at 877-233-1238 to schedule your free consultation and start working on your cruise ship accident lawsuit today.


Request Free Consultation

Don't forget to share this post!

Published on November 3, 2019

Categories: Cruise Ship Law

Get Free Consultation

Related Articles

crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

When the Worst-Case Scenario Happens, Our Maritime Injury Lawyers Can Help You Demand Justice If you have suffered a recent …


The cruise ship accident attorneys at Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. work tirelessly to get results for injured cruise ship …

Charles R. Lipcon

When you need maritime lawyers with extensive accolades and more than two centuries of combined experience, you need Lipcon, Margulies …

Blog posts by LM&W

Best cruise ship lawyers

Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. (LM&W, P.A.) has been named to Best Law Firms® in Admiralty & Maritime Law for 2024. LM&W, P.A. …

LM&W, P.A. Congratulates our New Partners

We could not be more proud that three of our attorneys have been promoted to Partner and Senior Partner. Lipcon, …

crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

  • Name * First Last
  • I would like to receive news from LM&W, P.A. and participate in the firm’s marketing programs
  • Phone This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

Crime on Cruise Ships

In 2010, Congress passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 (CVSSA) to address safety issues on cruise ships, including sexual violence prevention and victim response. RAINN helped to advocate for the Act, which ensures that passengers have access to necessary resources to receive medical attention, have a sexual assault forensic exam on board, and make a report, should sexual violence occur.

Cruise passenger rights

As part of CVSSA , passenger rights were established to increase safety for travelers on cruise ships. Knowing these rights before you board may help you feel more secure, and they can help you speak up if something happens. You can learn more about these rights from information published in the Code of Federal Regulations .

  • You have the right to receive a security guide, a written summary which describes where to go and who to talk with if a crime occurs. The security guide must also include criminal law procedures for crimes committed in any waters the vessel might travel through during the voyage, as well as a list of U.S. embassy and consulate locations in foreign countries the cruise ship will be visiting.
  • You have the right to have a sexual assault forensic exam on board. Cruise ships must have the equipment and materials for performing this medical exam, should a sexual assault occur.
  • You have the right to confidentiality when you request and receive support services. Any information you provide to medical staff, counselors, and other support staff while receiving services after a sexual assault must remain confidential; this includes information disclosed during a sexual assault forensic exam and any other support services available.

Security on board

Cruise ships typically have security personnel on board who are employees of the cruise line, not law enforcement officials. These security officers are usually trained in areas necessary to maintain safety on the ship and protect evidence, such as sealing off a room where a sexual assault took place, but it is not their role to conduct a law enforcement investigation.

Investigating crimes on cruise ships

If the victim or perpetrator of a sexual assault is an American national, and their ship sails from or to a U.S. port, then the FBI will have jurisdiction over the case. In other circumstances, it's more complicated to determine which agency—or even which country—has jurisdiction. The location of the vessel, the nationality of the perpetrator or victim, ownership of the vessel, the points of embarkation and debarkation, and the country in which the vessel is flagged may all have an effect on jurisdiction. You can read more about crimes committed on cruise ships, and other circumstances in which the FBI has jurisdiction to investigate, from the FBI .

If you experience sexual assault on a cruise ship

  • You may wish to seek medical attention to treat any possible injuries and to check for injuries you may not be able to see. If you are at sea, you can receive care from the ship’s medical facilities. If you are shore side, visit the nearest emergency room or hospital.
  • You have the right to a sexual assault forensic exam to collect DNA evidence that may help prosecute the perpetrator. If you wish to have an exam performed, try to avoid showering, changing your clothes, or cleaning the area where the assault occurred.
  • From the U.S. & Canada: 1.888.407.4747
  • From overseas: +1 202.501.444
  • You can report the crime to the FBI. If you are on board the ship when the crime occurs, contact the FBI and U.S. Coast Guard about the crime to receive advice on how to proceed. You can reach the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC at 202.324.3000.
  • You can report the crime to the Department of Transportation. You can file an incident report of criminal activity to the Department of Transportation  and review past cruise line incident reports  online. 
  • You can report the crime on board. If the crime occurred on board the ship, you can report the incident to a cruise ship security officer as soon as possible. You have the right to insist that the scene of the crime be secured until law enforcement officials arrive. It may be helpful to write down the names and contact information of any individuals, both crew members and passengers, who witnessed or were involved in the incident.
  • You are not alone. To speak with someone who is trained to help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at .

Legal Disclaimer

The rape abuse and incest national network (rainn) website provides general information that is intended, but not guaranteed, to be correct and up-to-date. the information is not presented as a source of legal advice. you should not rely, for legal advice, on statements or representations made within the website or by any externally referenced internet sites. if you need legal advice upon which you intend to rely in the course of your legal affairs, consult a competent, independent attorney. rainn does not assume any responsibility for actions or non-actions taken by people who have visited this site, and no one shall be entitled to a claim for detrimental reliance on any information provided or expressed., related content, safety tips for traveling.

Whether you travel often or you’re getting ready for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, it’s important to think about safety as part of your travel preparations. 

Airport Security for Survivors

Airport security can be stressful for any traveler, but for some survivors of sexual assault the security screening process is a little more sensitive.

Your Role in Preventing Sexual Assault

Whether it’s giving someone a safe ride home from a party or diverting a person who is engaging in uncomfortable behavior, anyone can help prevent sexual violence.

What are the warning signs for child sexual abuse?

Every 68 seconds, another american is sexually assaulted., 91¢ of every $1 goes to helping survivors and preventing sexual violence..

Cruise FAQs

What happens if you commit a crime on a cruise ship.

' src=

Hello! Have you ever thought about what happens if you find yourself in hot water or engaged in illegal activities while on a cruise? Fear not, my friend, because I have compiled all the crucial information and details you need.

In this article, we’ll dive into the legal jurisdiction and international laws that come into play, as well as the reporting and investigation procedures that cruise lines follow.

We’ll also explore the different types of crimes and offenses that can occur onboard, and what happens when you’re arrested and detained. Of course, we can’t forget about the legal consequences and punishments you may face.

Plus, we’ll take a look at the security measures in place to prevent crime and how cruise lines cooperate with law enforcement agencies.

So, sit back, relax, and let’s sail through the world of what happens if you commit a crime on a cruise ship!

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Strict security measures, including surveillance cameras, access control systems, and trained security personnel, are implemented on cruise ships to prevent crime.
  • The controlled environment and security measures contribute to relatively low crime rates on cruise ships.
  • Cruise lines have zero tolerance for criminal behavior and take immediate action against illegal activities, including conducting thorough investigations.
  • Victims of crimes on cruise ships have legal rights and support, including the right to consult maritime law specialists, receive legal representation, and access resources for recovery.

Legal Jurisdiction and International Laws

If you commit a crime on a cruise ship, you’ll find yourself in a legal labyrinth where jurisdictional lines blur and international laws come into play, making the consequences of your actions even more complex and intriguing.

When it comes to legal jurisdiction, things can get tricky. Cruise ships typically sail in international waters, which means they’re subject to the laws of the country where they’re registered. However, they also need to abide by the laws of the countries they visit. This can lead to confusion when determining which country has the authority to prosecute a crime.

Additionally, extradition processes can be challenging due to the involvement of multiple countries and their respective legal systems. Furthermore, diplomatic immunity can complicate matters, as certain individuals on board may be immune from prosecution.

These factors make reporting and investigation procedures even more crucial in ensuring justice is served.

Reporting and Investigation Procedures

When an incident occurs on a cruise ship, the reporting and investigation procedures are swiftly activated, ensuring that all parties involved are held accountable. The cruise ship staff will immediately notify the ship’s security officer, who will then initiate an internal investigation. This investigation involves collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and documenting the incident. If a crime has been committed, legal representation is essential for both the victim and the accused. The cruise ship’s legal team will assist in providing guidance and support throughout the process. In some cases, where the crime committed falls under the jurisdiction of a specific country, extradition procedures may be initiated to transfer the accused to the appropriate legal authorities. These procedures ensure that justice is served and that the necessary legal actions are taken. Moving on to the subsequent section about types of crimes and offenses…

Types of Crimes and Offenses

An overview of the various types of crimes and offenses that can occur on a cruise ship will now be presented. Cruise ships are not immune to criminal activities, and it’s important to be aware of the potential risks.

One major concern is cybersecurity threats, as modern cruise liners heavily rely on technology for communication, navigation, and entertainment. Hackers may target the ship’s systems, compromising personal information or even taking control of critical operations.

Additionally, drug trafficking is another serious crime that can occur on a cruise ship. Criminals may use the ship’s numerous ports of call as opportunities to smuggle narcotics. It’s crucial for cruise ship authorities to remain vigilant and cooperate with law enforcement agencies to prevent and address these offenses.

Moving forward to the next section about ‘arrest and detention procedures,’ it’s important to understand how these crimes are dealt with onboard.

Arrest and Detention Procedures

Cruise ship authorities have established strict protocols for the arrest and detention of individuals suspected of criminal activities, ensuring that justice is served and the safety of passengers and crew members is maintained.

When a crime is committed on a cruise ship, the first step is to notify the ship’s security personnel or the captain. They’ll initiate an investigation and collect evidence to build a case against the suspect.

If the evidence is sufficient, the authorities may detain the individual and restrict their movements on the ship. The detained person will be kept in a designated area under constant surveillance.

In serious cases, the ship’s authorities may also contact local law enforcement agencies to assist with the arrest and detention procedures.

The next section will explore the legal consequences and punishments that individuals may face for committing crimes on a cruise ship.

Legal Consequences and Punishments

The legal ramifications and penalties one may face for engaging in criminal activities on board a cruise ship can be severe and far-reaching. Depending on the nature and severity of the crime, individuals can be subject to international extradition and face prosecution in the jurisdiction where the ship is registered or where the crime occurred. Cruise ships operate in international waters, which can complicate legal proceedings and make it difficult for individuals to assert their rights. To navigate these challenges, it is crucial to seek legal counsel and develop effective criminal defense strategies. This may include gathering evidence, challenging jurisdiction, and presenting a compelling defense. It is important to understand that committing a crime on a cruise ship does not exempt individuals from legal consequences. In the next section, we will explore passenger rights and support services available to those who may find themselves in such situations.

Passenger Rights and Support Services

When it comes to passenger rights and support services on a cruise ship, two key areas to consider are victim support and counseling, as well as compensation and insurance claims.

If anyone becomes a victim of a crime or experiences any form of harm while on a cruise ship, it’s essential to have access to proper support and counseling services to help cope with the trauma.

Additionally, understanding the process of filing for compensation and insurance claims is crucial to ensure that victims receive the necessary financial assistance for any damages or losses incurred.

Victim Support and Counseling

If you ever find yourself in need of support or counseling after being victimized on a cruise ship, there are resources available to help you navigate through this difficult time. Victim advocacy organizations can provide you with invaluable support and guidance, helping you understand your rights and options.

They can connect you with trauma counselors who specialize in assisting victims of crimes, offering a safe space for you to express your emotions and work through the aftermath of the incident. These counselors can help you process the trauma you’ve experienced and develop coping mechanisms to aid in your recovery.

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone, and there are professionals who are trained to help you through this challenging period.

Transitioning into the subsequent section about compensation and insurance claims, it’s crucial to explore your legal options to seek the justice and compensation you deserve.

Compensation and Insurance Claims

After receiving support and counseling, victims of crimes on cruise ships may be eligible for compensation and insurance coverage. Compensation eligibility varies depending on the specific circumstances of the crime and the cruise line’s policies.

Some cruise lines have established victim compensation funds to provide financial assistance to victims. These funds may cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.

Additionally, victims may be able to seek compensation through insurance claims. Cruise lines typically have liability insurance to protect themselves from legal claims, and victims may be able to file claims to seek compensation for their injuries and damages.

It is important for victims to consult with legal professionals who specialize in maritime law to understand their rights and options for compensation. This ensures that victims receive the appropriate support and resources to recover from the crime.

Moving forward, it is crucial to address security measures and crime prevention on cruise ships.

Security Measures and Crime Prevention

One effective way to prevent crime on a cruise ship is by implementing strict security measures. Cruise lines have comprehensive security protocols in place to ensure the safety of passengers and crew members. These measures include a combination of physical security, such as surveillance cameras and access control systems, as well as trained security personnel patrolling the ship.

Additionally, cruise lines often partner with local law enforcement agencies to enhance security during port visits. Crime statistics show that the incidence of crime on cruise ships is relatively low compared to other forms of travel. This can be attributed to the security measures in place, as well as the fact that cruise ships are essentially floating communities with a controlled environment.

However, cruise lines continue to invest in security technology and training to further improve safety onboard. In terms of cooperation with law enforcement agencies, cruise lines work closely with local authorities in the event of a crime. They have established procedures for reporting and investigating incidents, and they fully cooperate with law enforcement agencies to ensure justice is served.

Cooperation with Law Enforcement Agencies

After discussing the security measures and crime prevention on cruise ships, it is important to understand the cooperation between cruise lines and law enforcement agencies. In cases where a crime is committed onboard, cruise lines work closely with international law enforcement agencies to ensure that the perpetrator is brought to justice. This cooperation involves sharing information, providing evidence, and assisting with investigations. International cooperation is crucial as cruise ships often sail in international waters and may visit multiple countries during a voyage. Extradition procedures may also come into play if the crime is committed in one country but the suspect is apprehended in another. This ensures that individuals who commit crimes on cruise ships cannot escape legal consequences by simply disembarking at a different port. With this understanding of cooperation between cruise lines and law enforcement, let’s now delve into the cruise line policies and disciplinary actions.

Cruise Line Policies and Disciplinary Actions

Cruise line policies and disciplinary actions are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all passengers and crew members. Here are some key points to understand:

Zero Tolerance: Cruise lines have a zero tolerance policy towards criminal behavior. Any illegal activity, such as theft or assault, will result in immediate action.

Investigation: When a crime is reported, the cruise line’s security team conducts a thorough investigation to gather evidence and identify the perpetrator.

Legal Representation: If charged with a crime, passengers have the right to legal representation. Cruise lines provide access to legal advice and assistance during the legal process.

Appeals Process: In case of dissatisfaction with the disciplinary action taken by the cruise line, passengers can appeal the decision. This ensures a fair and transparent process for resolving any disputes.

Moving forward to the next section about case studies and notable incidents, it’s important to examine real-life examples to understand the gravity of committing a crime on a cruise ship.

Case Studies and Notable Incidents

Imagine being on a cruise and hearing about the jaw-dropping case studies and notable incidents that have occurred. It’s important to be aware of these incidents to understand the safety measures that are put in place on cruise ships.

One notable case is the disappearance of George Allen Smith IV in 2005. He was on his honeymoon when he mysteriously vanished from the ship.

Another incident involved the Carnival Triumph in 2013, where an engine fire left the ship stranded for days without power.

These incidents highlight the importance of safety precautions on cruise ships. Cruise lines have implemented various measures such as security cameras, trained personnel, and emergency response plans to ensure the safety and well-being of their passengers.

It’s crucial for everyone on board to be familiar with these safety measures in case of any untoward incidents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a person be extradited from a foreign country if they committed a crime on a cruise ship.

If I commit a crime on a cruise ship, I can be extradited from a foreign country through the extradition process. The legal jurisdiction for prosecuting the crime would depend on the country where the offense occurred.

Are there any limitations on the cruise ship’s liability for crimes committed onboard?

When it comes to cruise ship liability, there are limitations in place. These limitations outline the extent to which the cruise ship can be held responsible for crimes committed onboard.

What happens if someone commits a crime on a cruise ship but escapes before authorities can apprehend them?

If someone commits a crime on a cruise ship but escapes before authorities can apprehend them, it can be challenging to hold them accountable due to legal jurisdiction issues. They may face escape-related repercussions if caught.

Are crew members subject to the same legal consequences and punishments as passengers if they commit a crime onboard?

Crew members are subject to the same legal consequences and punishments as passengers if they commit a crime onboard. They are held accountable under the legal jurisdiction of the country where the ship is registered.

How does the cruise line handle cases where a crime is committed by a minor passenger?

As a minor passenger, you’re protected on a cruise ship if a crime occurs. Cruise lines ensure your safety through strict security measures, trained staff, and collaboration with law enforcement.

In conclusion, committing a crime on a cruise ship can result in serious legal consequences and punishments. From theft to assault, no crime goes unnoticed, thanks to the cooperation between cruise lines and law enforcement agencies.

The security measures in place aim to prevent crimes from happening, but if they do occur, thorough reporting and investigation procedures are followed.

Remember, the consequences of your actions can have a lasting impact, so it’s always best to follow the rules and enjoy your cruise responsibly.

crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

Claire, a creative soul with an unquenchable thirst for storytelling, is an integral part of the Voyager Info team. As a dedicated writer, she weaves captivating narratives that transport readers to enchanting cruise destinations and beyond.

Claire’s love affair with writing began at an early age when she discovered the magic of words and their ability to craft worlds and emotions. Her innate curiosity led her to explore various literary genres, but it was travel writing that truly captured her heart. Drawing inspiration from her own globetrotting adventures and encounters with diverse cultures, Claire embarked on a journey to become a travel writer par excellence.

How Much Is The Nkotb Cruise

Which Cruise Lines Go To The Amazon

' src=

Claire, a creative soul with an unquenchable thirst for storytelling, is an integral part of the Voyager Info team. As a dedicated writer, she weaves captivating narratives that transport readers to enchanting cruise destinations and beyond. Claire’s love affair with writing began at an early age when she discovered the magic of words and their ability to craft worlds and emotions. Her innate curiosity led her to explore various literary genres, but it was travel writing that truly captured her heart. Drawing inspiration from her own globetrotting adventures and encounters with diverse cultures, Claire embarked on a journey to become a travel writer par excellence.

crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

You may like

Enhanced central park: a tranquil oasis on icon of the seas.

' src=

Did you know that Royal Caribbean is planning 15 exciting updates for the Icon of the Seas?

One of these changes is an enhanced Central Park, which will offer live plants and trees on a cruise ship.

As someone who loves nature and enjoys a peaceful atmosphere, this news immediately caught my attention.

Imagine being surrounded by lush greenery and the soothing sounds of nature while cruising on the open sea.

The enhanced Central Park will not only provide a tranquil oasis but also offer signature dining and music, creating an even more enhanced experience for passengers.

And if that’s not enough, the Central Park cabins will allow guests to enjoy serene views of the park from the comfort of their own accommodations.

With these enhancements, the Icon of the Seas is set to become the ultimate destination for relaxation and rejuvenation.

  • Central Park on Icon of the Seas offers a serene and tranquil environment for guests to relax and recharge.
  • The enhanced Central Park features live plants and trees, creating a vibrant garden experience.
  • Signature dining options cater to diverse tastes, offering upscale and casual dining with delectable dishes prepared with fresh ingredients.
  • Live music performances in Central Park create an enchanting atmosphere, with musicians playing jazz, rock, and classical music.

Icon of the Seas’ Central Park Enhancements

I can’t wait to experience the enhanced Central Park on Icon of the Seas. It will have more lush greenery, signature dining, and music, promising an even more tranquil oasis on the ship.

Imagine strolling through a vibrant garden, surrounded by live plants and trees, while enjoying a delectable meal accompanied by soothing melodies. The Central Park experience on Icon of the Seas will be a true escape from the hustle and bustle of the ship.

And for those lucky enough to book one of the Central Park cabins, they’ll be treated to serene views of the park right from their own room. Waking up to the sight of lush greenery and the sounds of nature will truly be a dream come true.

The enhanced Central Park is set to be a highlight of the ship, offering a peaceful retreat for guests to unwind and recharge.

Live plants and trees

Surrounded by greenery and nature, the live plants and trees create a serene atmosphere on the ship. Central Park on Icon of the Seas offers a unique experience, providing a tranquil oasis amidst the bustling activities onboard.

The lush greenery not only enhances the beauty of the space but also offers numerous benefits. The plants help to purify the air, creating a healthier environment for guests to enjoy. Additionally, the trees provide shade and a cool breeze, making it a perfect spot to relax and unwind.

Moreover, these live plants and trees are part of Royal Caribbean’s sustainability initiatives. They contribute to the ship’s eco-friendly efforts, showcasing the company’s commitment to preserving the environment. So, while strolling through Central Park, guests can immerse themselves in the beauty of nature while supporting a greener future.

Signature dining and music

The signature dining and music options onboard are a highlight of the experience on Icon of the Seas. The ship offers enhanced dining experiences that are sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate. From upscale restaurants with world-class chefs to casual eateries with a variety of cuisines, there is something for everyone.

Indulge in delectable dishes prepared with the freshest ingredients and innovative techniques. The dining venues provide a perfect ambiance, whether you prefer an intimate dinner for two or a lively gathering with friends and family.

And when it comes to entertainment, live music performances set the stage for unforgettable evenings. From jazz to rock to classical, talented musicians create an enchanting atmosphere that will leave you wanting more.

Get ready to savor exceptional flavors and be serenaded by incredible melodies on Icon of the Seas.

What are some of the specific enhancements being made to Central Park on Icon of the Seas?

Central Park on Icon of the Seas is being transformed with specific enhancements, including an increased number of live plants and trees. It will also feature signature dining options, additional amenities, and a design inspired by creating a serene oasis on the ship.

How many live plants and trees will be featured in Central Park on Icon of the Seas?

Central Park on Icon of the Seas is a green paradise, nature’s haven with an abundance of live plants and trees. It offers a serene and calming atmosphere, making it the perfect escape on the ship.

Can you provide more information about the signature dining options available in Central Park on Icon of the Seas?

Central Park on Icon of the Seas offers a delightful escape with its signature dining options. Indulge in mouthwatering cuisine while surrounded by lush greenery. It’s the perfect combination of culinary excellence and serene relaxation.

Will there be any additional amenities or features in Central Park on Icon of the Seas?

Yes, there will be additional amenities and features in Central Park on Icon of the Seas. As part of the ship’s transformation, the park will offer new shops, art installations, and outdoor seating areas, creating a vibrant and relaxing atmosphere for guests to enjoy.

What is the inspiration behind the design of Central Park on Icon of the Seas?

The design inspiration for Central Park on Icon of the Seas draws from the concept of creating a serene oasis amidst the bustling ship. With its live plants, trees, and lush greenery, the park offers a peaceful retreat for guests to relax and enjoy signature dining and music.

crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

Alfons is the visionary leader and driving force behind Voyager Info’s success. As the Editor in Chief, he brings a wealth of experience and an unwavering passion for travel to the helm of our cruise-centric platform.

With a lifelong fascination for exploring new horizons, Alfons discovered his love for the ocean and cruising at a young age. From sailing across pristine Caribbean waters to embarking on daring expeditions to far-flung destinations, he has amassed a treasure trove of first-hand experiences in the world of cruising.

Discover The Benefits: Why You Should Try Cruising

An image showcasing a picturesque sunset at sea, with a cruise ship gently gliding through calm waters

I have always had a deep love for exploring new places, but sometimes, the process of planning and handling the logistics can be overwhelming. That’s exactly why I became so thrilled when I discovered the simplicity and comfort that come with cruising.

Imagine this: no need to worry about booking hotels, restaurants, or rental cars. Everything is taken care of for you, from transportation to and from the cruise port to the onboard experience itself. And let me tell you, the onboard experience is incredible. You have the freedom to spend your days as you please, whether that’s lounging by the pool, trying out exciting activities, or simply enjoying the breathtaking views.

Plus, the sense of community on a cruise is amazing. You get to meet new people, make friends, and socialize with like-minded individuals. But perhaps the best part of cruising is the unique experiences it offers. Sailing through fjords, exploring exotic locations, and even visiting places in Asia or the Middle East that may be difficult to reach otherwise.

So if you’re looking for an affordable and accessible way to see the world, I highly recommend giving cruising a try.

  • Cruises are easy to plan and convenient, with online portals and assistance from travel agents.
  • The onboard experience offers flexibility, the option to stay onboard and enjoy activities with fewer people, and a friendly environment and sense of community.
  • Cruising allows for unique experiences not found on land, such as sailing through fjords or visiting exotic locations, and makes it easier to visit and explore places in Asia or the Middle East.
  • Cruising is an affordable and accessible way to see the world, with the added benefit of expert advice from someone who has been on numerous cruises.

Planning and Convenience

Planning a cruise is so convenient because I can easily book everything online and get assistance from travel agents if needed. With the help of online portals, I can plan my entire cruise right from the comfort of my own home.

I can browse through different cruise options, compare prices, and choose the one that suits my preferences. If I have any questions or need additional help, I can always reach out to travel agents who are knowledgeable and experienced in the cruise industry. They can provide valuable insights, recommend the best cruise lines, and help me find the perfect itinerary.

The combination of online portals and travel agent assistance makes planning a cruise a breeze, ensuring a stress-free and enjoyable experience from start to finish.

Onboard Experience

Onboard, I can indulge in endless activities, from lounging by the pool to trying out thrilling waterslides, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Here are four reasons why the onboard experience on a cruise is truly remarkable:

Flexibility options: One of the best things about being on a cruise is the freedom to spend your days however you want. Whether you prefer to relax and soak up the sun or get active with sports and fitness classes, the choice is yours.

Socializing opportunities: Cruises offer a unique opportunity to meet new people and make lifelong friends. From organized social events to casual encounters at bars and restaurants, there are plenty of chances to mingle with like-minded individuals. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group, the friendly atmosphere and sense of community on a cruise ship make it easy to strike up conversations and form connections.

Option to stay onboard: If you’re looking for a more intimate experience with fewer people, you can choose to stay onboard while the ship is docked at a port. This allows you to enjoy all the amenities and activities without the crowds, making it a perfect option for those who prefer a more relaxed and peaceful environment.

Easy to make friends: On a cruise, you’ll be surrounded by fellow passengers who share similar interests and a sense of adventure. This makes it incredibly easy to make friends and socialize throughout your journey. Whether it’s joining a group excursion or simply striking up a conversation at the pool, the friendly and inclusive environment onboard a cruise ship fosters connections and creates lasting memories.

Unique Experiences

Exploring new and exotic locations is an unparalleled adventure that can only be experienced on a cruise. One of the unique experiences that cruises offer is sailing through fjords, which are breathtaking natural wonders found in countries like Norway and New Zealand. Imagine gliding past towering cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and serene lakes, all from the comfort of your cruise ship. It’s a truly awe-inspiring sight that cannot be replicated on land.

Another advantage of cruising is the opportunity to explore Asia. With a cruise, you can easily visit multiple countries in this vast and diverse continent, such as Japan, China, Thailand, and Vietnam. From bustling cities to ancient temples, serene gardens to vibrant markets, Asia has so much to offer. Cruising allows you to immerse yourself in the rich cultures, sample delicious cuisine, and witness stunning landscapes that make Asia such a captivating destination.

Incorporating a 3 column and 5 row table in markdown format:

What are some popular cruise destinations?

Some popular cruise destinations include the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Alaska, and the Bahamas. These top cruise destinations offer stunning landscapes, cultural experiences, and a variety of activities both on and off the ship.

Are there any age restrictions for going on a cruise?

There are no age restrictions for going on a cruise, making it a great vacation option for people of all ages. Cruising offers benefits for different age groups, including convenience, unique experiences, and a friendly onboard environment.

How much does a typical cruise cost?

Cruise pricing can vary depending on factors such as cruise line, destination, and cabin type. However, there are many budget-friendly cruises available that offer great value for the money.

Can I bring my own food and drinks on a cruise ship?

No, you are not allowed to bring your own food and drinks on a cruise ship. However, cruise ships offer a variety of dining options to cater to different tastes and dietary needs.

What activities are available for children on a cruise?

Cruise ship kids clubs offer a variety of activities for children, including arts and crafts, sports, and themed parties. Family-friendly entertainment options like live shows, movies, and swimming pools ensure that kids have a great time on board.

Ultimate Adventure and Relaxation Guide at Playa Mia Grand Beach Park

Hear about the hidden treasures that make Playa Mia Grand Beach Park the ultimate destination for adventure and relaxation.

adventure and relaxation at playa mia

Set off on an adventure to Playa Mia Grand Beach Park, where the sun-drenched beaches call out with offers of excitement and peace alike. Whether it’s adrenaline-fueled water activities or tranquil downtime, this spot satisfies all our desires.

But what truly sets Playa Mia apart from the rest? Let's uncover the hidden gems that make this beach park a must-visit for anyone seeking the perfect blend of adventure and tranquility.

  • Enjoy snorkeling, water sports, and serene relaxation spots at Playa Mia
  • Indulge in culinary delights and refreshments with an all-inclusive experience
  • Engage in entertainment, events, and organized games for a vibrant atmosphere
  • Follow practical tips for a hassle-free and memorable visit to Playa Mia

Beach Activities and Water Sports

Embark on a thrilling aquatic adventure at Playa Mia Grand Beach Park, where a plethora of beach activities and water sports await! The crystal-clear waters beckon with opportunities for snorkeling among vibrant coral reefs teeming with diverse marine life. Feel the exhilaration of gliding over the waves on a paddleboard or kayak, exploring the stunning coastline of Cozumel Island. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, dare to conquer the exciting water slides or test your balance at the floating park adventures.

At Playa Mia, guests can immerse themselves in the wonders of the underwater world with guided snorkel tours, ensuring a safe and unforgettable experience for all ages. Capture these magical moments with professional photography services, preserving your memories of the marine beauty forever. Whether you're a water sports enthusiast or a nature lover, Playa Mia Grand Beach Park offers endless opportunities for adventure and exploration in a setting that celebrates the freedom of the sea.

Relaxation Spots and Serene Settings

perfect relaxation spots described

As we transition from the exhilarating water activities to a moment of calm and relaxation, Playa Mia Grand Beach Park beckons visitors to unwind in its serene spots and tranquil settings. Nestled along the beautiful beachfront of Cozumel, this peaceful retreat offers various options for relaxation:

  • Beachfront Bliss: Sink your toes into the soft white sands and take in the breathtaking views of the crystal-clear waters. The gentle sound of the waves creates a soothing ambiance for ultimate tranquility.
  • Shaded Cabanas: Find your perfect spot under one of the shaded cabanas or relax in a comfortable beach chair. These cozy nooks provide the ideal setting to unwind and recharge while enjoying the warm Caribbean sun.
  • Poolside Serenity: For a change of scenery, head to the serene spots by the pool. Surrounded by natural beauty, you can bask in the peaceful atmosphere and let go of all your worries.

At Playa Mia Grand Beach Park, relaxation isn't just a moment; it's an experience to savor.

Culinary Delights and Refreshments

Let's dive into the delectable world of culinary delights and refreshing beverages awaiting you at Playa Mia Grand Beach Park. At Playa Mia, you can indulge in an all-you-can-eat international buffet experience, where a diverse menu of culinary delights awaits to tantalize your taste buds. The all-inclusive options available allow you to savor delicious meals and quench your thirst with the open bar service, ensuring you have everything you need for a fantastic day by the sea.

Immerse yourself in a gastronomic extravaganza as you explore the array of food and drinks offered at Playa Mia. From mouthwatering dishes to thirst-quenching beverages, the beach vibes combined with the culinary delights create the perfect setting for a memorable day. Whether you're a foodie looking to try new flavors or simply seeking a relaxing time with great food and drinks, Playa Mia Grand Beach Park has everything you need for an unforgettable experience.

Entertainment and Events at Playa Mia

fun filled activities at playa mia

Our visit to Playa Mia Grand Beach Park promises a vibrant array of entertainment and events for all guests to enjoy. The park offers a thrilling experience with a variety of entertainment options suitable for families and guests of all ages. Here are some highlights:

  • Family-Friendly Pirate Ship: Guests can enjoy family-friendly events and shows on the pirate ship, creating a fun and memorable experience for all. The evening entertainment on the pirate ship is a must-see for families looking to bond and make lasting memories together.
  • Organized Games and Activities: Playa Mia hosts a variety of organized games and activities throughout the day to keep guests entertained. From beach volleyball to sandcastle building contests, there's always something fun to participate in at the park.
  • Water Sports and Slides: For those seeking a bit of adventure, the park offers thrilling water sports and water slides. Guests can indulge in the excitement of jet skiing, parasailing, or zooming down water slides for an adrenaline-pumping experience.

The vibrant atmosphere at Playa Mia ensures there's never a dull moment when it comes to entertainment and events.

Practical Tips and Recommendations

To make the most of your visit to Playa Mia Grand Beach Park, here are some practical tips and recommendations to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Firstly, consider planning your trip during the week to avoid crowds and fully embrace the relaxing atmosphere. Don't forget to pack sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun while enjoying the various water activities available at Playa Mia.

It's wise to make reservations in advance for popular activities like snorkeling or massages to secure your spot and make the most of your time. Opting for the all-inclusive options at Playa Mia can provide a hassle-free day filled with delicious dining and entertainment.

Keep an eye on the park's website for special events, promotions, and discounts that could enhance your experience and save you some money. By following these tips, you'll be well-prepared for a fantastic day at Playa Mia Grand Beach Park.

What Does Playa Mia Beach Break Include?

At Playa Mia Beach Break, we get access to a white-sand beach, over 20 complimentary activities like kayaks, pedal boats, and water slides, all-you-can-eat dining with an international buffet, open bar, thrilling water activities, and organized games.

Does Playa Mia Have Jet Skis?

Yes, Playa Mia does offer jet skis for rent. We can hit the waves and feel the rush of excitement as we explore Cozumel Island's coastline. Rent by the hour and experience the thrill firsthand!

As we bid farewell to Playa Mia Grand Beach Park, we reflect on the endless possibilities for adventure and relaxation that await those who visit.

From thrilling water sports to tranquil beachside lounging, this tropical paradise offers something for everyone.

So, whether you seek excitement or serenity, come discover the magic of Playa Mia and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.

Affiliate disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

An image showcasing the Prima, Norwegian Cruise Line's epitome of opulence

Discover The Prima: Norwegian Cruise Line’s Ultimate Luxury Experience

An image showcasing the Enhanced Central Park, a serene haven aboard the Icon of the Seas

Discover The Msc Daily Program: Your Guide To Onboard Activities And More

An image featuring a vibrant, sun-kissed cruise ship deck bustling with first-time cruisers immersed in Disney, Msc, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean experiences

Disney, Msc, Carnival & Royal Caribbean: First-Time Cruisers’ Experiences & Expert Tips

An image showcasing two contrasting cruise ships sailing side by side: one adorned with vibrant colors, whimsical characters, and magical themes reflecting Disney's enchanting world, while another exudes a vibrant carnival atmosphere with bold, festive designs and playful motifs

Carnival Vs. Disney: Comparing Children’s Programming, Pricing, Ships, And More

An image depicting a luxurious Celebrity Cruise Ship emerging from a shimmering ocean backdrop, showcasing its newly refurbished exterior with pristine decks, modernized amenities, and gleaming glass panels

Which Celebrity Cruise Ships Have Been Refurbished

An image showcasing a vibrant poolside scene on a Princess Cruise ship, with guests enjoying a refreshing array of drinks

What Drinks Can You Bring On Princess Cruise

An image showcasing the Tesla Model 3 dashboard with a driver's hand gently gripping the steering wheel

How To Turn On Cruise Control Tesla Model 3

An image of a serene ocean expanse, showcasing a luxurious cruise ship gliding past vibrant pink and orange skies at sunset

What Is The Weather Like On A Transatlantic Cruise In April

An image showcasing a close-up of a Tesla Model Y's steering wheel, with the driver's hand lightly resting on it

How To Set Cruise Control Tesla Model Y

adventure and relaxation at playa mia

What Makes Sharkbanz Your Ultimate Fearless Travel Protection?

vietnamese travel adventures await

Enchanting Destinations in Vietnam: Exploring Hoi Hanoi Halong Bay

uncovering juneau s rich heritage

Exploring Juneau: History Wilderness Local Delights Uncovered

An image showcasing the evolution of Azamara Onward: Start with a vintage shipyard, then transform it into a luxurious modern vessel through a mesmerizing sequence of construction, renovation, and futuristic upgrades

Azamara Onward: Origins, Renovation, and Future Plans

An image depicting a luxurious Celebrity Cruise Ship emerging from a shimmering ocean backdrop, showcasing its newly refurbished exterior with pristine decks, modernized amenities, and gleaming glass panels

How To Check Weather For A Cruise

An image showcasing a serene water taxi journey from the iconic canals of Venice, passing through picturesque lagoons, and arriving at the vibrant Chioggia Cruise Terminal, surrounded by colorful sailboats and a bustling waterfront promenade

How To Get From Venice To Chioggia Cruise Terminal

An image showcasing a sun-kissed deck overlooking a pristine infinity pool, adorned with colorful beach towels

How Do You Qualify For An Ultra Cruise On Carnival

Cruise Tips For Families & Single Cruisers

Things to Know Before You Cruise

Cruise Ship Crime: Who’s Policing The High Seas?

As I stood on the deck of the massive cruise ship, gazing out at the endless expanse of the ocean, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of freedom. The ship, with all its amenities and luxuries, was a world of its own, free from the restraints of everyday life.

However, as I learned more about the reality of crimes committed on cruise ships, I began to wonder who was responsible for keeping this oasis safe.

Cruise ships are often touted as safe and secure, but the truth is that crimes can and do occur on board. With no police presence, cruise ships rely on their own security teams to prevent, detect, and report crimes.

But the unique jurisdiction and challenges of maritime law add complexity to the issue. In this article, we will explore the intricacies of cruise ship crime and investigate who is responsible for policing the high seas.

  • Cruise ships rely on their own security teams to prevent, detect, and report crimes, but accountability and oversight are essential for effective performance.
  • Passenger education is important for safety, with technology and innovation incorporated into security measures, and cultural awareness and sensitivity are necessary when dealing with international passengers and crew.
  • International cooperation is essential in investigating and prosecuting crimes onboard, as beyond 12 nautical miles, the country that flags a cruise ship has jurisdiction over crimes committed onboard.
  • Maritime law attempts to regulate ungoverned spaces of the ocean but lacks centralized authority, while flag of convenience (FoC) countries create a loophole for ships to avoid stricter regulations and take advantage of lower labor costs.

Security Personnel

I learned that on cruise ships, security personnel play a crucial role in ensuring passenger safety. They’re often former law enforcement personnel with specialized training and qualifications in crime prevention, detection, and reporting. The hiring process for these individuals is rigorous and includes background checks, psychological evaluations, and physical fitness tests.

Accountability and oversight are essential in ensuring that security personnel carry out their duties effectively and within the bounds of the law. Industry standards and regulations also exist to ensure that cruise lines comply with legal implications related to passenger safety.

Additionally, passenger education is an important aspect of ensuring safety onboard, with cruise lines providing information on how to stay safe and report any incidents that may occur. Technology and innovation are also being incorporated into cruise ship security measures, including CCTV cameras, biometric authentication, and facial recognition software.

Finally, cultural awareness and sensitivity are necessary when dealing with international passengers and crew, and international cooperation is essential in investigating and prosecuting crimes that occur onboard.

Jurisdiction and Law

Beyond 12 nautical miles, the country that flags a cruise ship has jurisdiction over crimes committed on board, symbolizing the complexity of maritime law and the challenges in regulating the vast ocean.

This concept of flag state jurisdiction stems from the idea that a vessel is essentially an extension of its flag state, and therefore subject to its laws and regulations. However, this system has been criticized for allowing countries with lax regulations and enforcement, known as flag of convenience (FoC) countries, to dominate the industry and potentially overlook crimes committed on board.

Maritime law is a unique and intricate field that attempts to regulate the ungoverned spaces of the ocean. One of the challenges in enforcing maritime law is the lack of a centralized authority, leading to a patchwork of national and international regulations.

Additionally, the concept of FoCs has created a loophole where ships can avoid stricter regulations and take advantage of lower labor costs. As a result, passengers may be at risk if a crime is committed on board a ship registered in a FoC country with weaker laws and regulations.

It’s important for passengers to educate themselves on the security personnel and systems of their cruise line, and for the industry to work towards greater accountability and transparency.

Common Crimes

When traveling on the ocean, it’s important to be aware of potential safety risks such as sexual assault, physical assault with serious injury, and major theft. These are some of the most common crimes that occur on cruise ships.

It’s important to note that while cruise ships have their own security teams, they’re not equipped to handle all types of crimes. Therefore, it’s essential to take preventative measures and be aware of your surroundings.

Prevention strategies include traveling in groups, avoiding isolated areas, and reporting any suspicious activity immediately. Cruise lines also offer safety lectures and demonstrations on how to stay safe while onboard.

In the unfortunate event that a crime does occur, victim support services are available. These services include medical attention, counseling, and legal assistance. It’s important to report any incidents as soon as possible to ensure that the appropriate actions are taken and to receive the necessary support.

Potential Issues

Navigating the legal jurisdiction of the ocean can feel like being lost in a vast and unpredictable wilderness, where the rules are murky and the potential for justice may seem out of reach. One of the potential issues with cruise ship crime is the delay before port call, which can lead to evidence deterioration or tampering. This is especially concerning given that cruise ships are not required to retain video footage for longer than 30 days, which means that any evidence that may have been captured on camera could be lost before it can be used to hold the perpetrator accountable.

Another potential issue is cruise line transparency. While many cruise lines have taken steps to improve their security measures, it can be difficult for passengers to know what those measures are. Cruise lines are not required to disclose the number of security personnel they have onboard or the training those personnel have received. Additionally, many cruise lines do not mention the flag of convenience (FoC) countries where their vessels are registered, which can make it difficult for passengers to know what laws and regulations apply. To ensure their safety, passengers should consult the cruise line website or contact them directly to learn more about their security personnel and systems.

What qualifications do former law enforcement personnel in the security department of cruise ships have?

As a former law enforcement officer working in cruise ship security, I underwent extensive training and certification in crime prevention, detection, and reporting. My experience and qualifications include a background in investigating and solving crimes, which helps me ensure passenger safety and preserve evidence until law enforcement takes over.

Are there any restrictions on the types of crimes that can be investigated by the ship’s security team?

I’m curious whether the ship’s security team can investigate all types of crimes. Legal jurisdiction and victim compensation can be complicated on cruise ships, so it’s important to understand their limitations.

How does maritime law address crimes committed on cruise ships?

How does cruise ship criminal liability work under maritime law? Legal jurisdiction is determined by the country where the ship is flagged, with local authorities at port able to assist in investigations.

What are some other potential issues related to cruise ship crime that are not mentioned in the article?

What are the legal responsibilities of cruise lines in addressing crimes committed on their ships, and how do they educate passengers on safety measures? These are potential issues that should also be considered in addition to those mentioned in the article.

Are there any international agreements or organizations that regulate cruise ship security and crime prevention?

I wonder if there are any international agreements or organizations that regulate cruise ship security and crime prevention. It’s important to ensure international cooperation and industry accountability to keep passengers safe while at sea.

web analytics

  • Results/Verdicts
  • Come To You
  • Lawyer Referrals
  • Legal Dictionary
  • Testimonials
  • Los Angeles
  • Orange County
  • San Bernardino
  • CHP Reports
  • Santa Monica
  • LAPD Reports
  • Personal Injury FAQs

Ehline Law Firm Home Page

Who Investigates Cruise Ship Rapes And Murders At Sea?


Referred to as floating cities, cruise ships offer luxury while traveling the high seas to destinations that will leave their passengers in awe of the world’s sheer beauty.

However, with all the glamor associated with cruise ships comes the dark side of this industry. Sexual assault and other cruise ship crimes have hit the headlines more often than before.

This makes it a harsh reality for the passengers onboard a cruise vessel wanting to party and play.

Sexual Assaults and Other Crimes are at an All-Time High on Cruise Ships from Royal Caribbean to Princess Cruises

If you’ve been a victim of sexual assault on a cruise ship, get in touch with Los Angeles cruise ship attorneys as soon as possible to evaluate your case.

Sexual assaults have been happening on cruise lines since they’ve been operational. However, only after the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act made it a requirement for cruise lines to report cruise crimes to the relevant authorities for record and tracking purposes.

Even then, many crimes go unreported for many different reasons, including those under Maritime Law .

Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act

Congress passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) in 2010 to ensure the safety of passengers while traveling on cruise ships. Besides guidelines and procedures that a cruise company must follow, the act also emphasizes the reporting standards and how cruise ships must report any crime onboard. However, due to lobbying and requesting the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Coast Guard, the cruise industry changed the language in the CVSSA, changing things in their favor.

Initially, data on all reported crimes were publicly available through a dedicated portal. Still, after changing the language, crimes not under FBI investigation must be reported on the portal. This change in the language led to many unreported crimes since the FBI does not conduct investigations on sexual assault or rape cases, and those cases still under investigation would not get posted on the portal.

In 2014, lawmakers saw how the cruise industry was exploiting the law and made amendments to the CVSSA by requiring cruise lines to report and identify all crimes or alleged crimes on the ship.

Even after the new amendments, certain crimes go unreported because cruise lines maintain the position that the crimes do not fall under the reporting requirement.

Some of the crimes include:

  • Molestation
  • Lewd conduct
  • Touching inappropriately and more.

Do Cruise Lines Investigate Crimes on Their Cruise Ships?

We already know that a cruise line hides a lot of sex crimes that happen onboard, but do they make any effort to investigate the crime?

A cruise ship’s security officials onboard are the first ones to take notice of a crime and respond accordingly until the matter gets transferred to the relevant law enforcement authority while docked at a port.

However, jurisdiction is a huge concern regarding crimes on a cruise ship. Who is responsible for investigating the crime?

According to the State Attorney’s office and federal court, section 7 of title 18 of the US code states that the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be responsible for investigations of crimes onboard cruise ships.

Due to different jurisdictions and federal law, not only does the US government get involved, but negotiations also take place with the relevant port authorities and officials from the cruise line.

According to the Law of the Sea set by the United Nations Convention, for any crime at the port where the ship gets docked, local authorities of that country have the jurisdiction. The government also has jurisdiction if any crime happens 13 miles away from their shores.

For any crime that occurs beyond the 13 miles distance, the jurisdiction falls under the country whose flag is on the vessel. So, if a ship has a Bahamas flag while sailing and a crime occurs, the Bahamas law will be applicable.

Captains of the ship also have decision-making rights when a crime occurs on their vessel. Suppose a crime occurs on a Royal Caribbean cruise sailing in the Gulf of Mexico; the captain can either make an unexpected stop at a nearby port for local authorities to take control of the situation or make it to the next scheduled visit.

The FBI investigates severe crimes on a ship involving a US citizen. However, investigations first start at the local authority’s level. When a crime occurs, the FBI contacts its networks across the globe to take charge and ensure the safety of the US citizens on the ship and then preserve the crime scene for further investigations.

Laws for the cruise industry are quite hazy as it involves a lot of authorities and even countries. To get to know more about the law before your cruise trip, it is best to contact maritime lawyers. Ehline Law is a leading personal injury firm with a stellar record of winning cases for our clients.

Let our Los Angeles cruise ship attorneys help you if you’ve gotten injured or have been a victim of sexual assault on a cruise ship . Contact us at (213) 596-9642 and get a free consultation with an expert attorney today!

  • A to Z Personal Injury Podcast
  • American Motorcycle Law Blog
  • Bicycle Accident Blog
  • Bus Accident Blog
  • Limo Accident Blog
  • Pedestrian Accident
  • Truck Accident Blog
  • Uber and Lyft Ride Sharing Blog Accidents
  • Brain Injury Blog
  • Burn Injury Blog
  • Civil Rights Blog
  • Death Law Blog
  • Dog Bite Blog
  • Elder Nursing Abuse Blog
  • Government Tort Blog
  • Workers Compensation Blog
  • Helicopter Accident Blog
  • Construction Accident
  • Slip & Fall Blog
  • Products Defect Blog
  • Recreation-Sports Accident Blog
  • Cruise Accident Blog
  • Service Related Cancer Blog
  • Child Abuse Blog
  • Spinal Cord Injury Blog
  • Torts, Examples, Explanations
  • Train Accidents Blog
  • TV, Media & Firm News
  • Uncategorized

Firm Archive

  • Is Your Car Spying on You? Security Risks of Modern Vehicles?
  • Clark County Detention Center Made Easy for Inmate Families and Friends
  • How Much Is a Life Worth in California?

Main Los Angeles Location

Animation of injury lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.

Please enable JavaScript to use the contact form.

Due to the current situation regarding COVID-19, the Louis A. Vucci, P.A. staff is working remotely until further notice. During this period, please rely on email as your primary method of contacting us.

Louis A. Vucci P.A.

(786) 375-0344.

Chat Live Now! Online 24/7

Understanding Crime on Cruise Ships

Posted on Wednesday, March 6th, 2024 at 8:53 pm    

Understanding Crime on Cruise Ships

Crime on cruise ships, while rare, is a reality faced by the maritime industry, stirring concerns about safety and justice at sea. This article cuts through the complexities of maritime law . It unpacks the layers of cruise ship security and outlines the rights of victims, providing clarity on what passengers can expect in terms of protection and recourse.

Types of Cruise Ship Crimes

When we think of serious crimes on cruise ships, it’s essential to understand that they are as varied as crimes on land. Additionally, there are added complexities of maritime law and international jurisdictions. The spectrum of criminal activity on cruise ships is broad and concerning, including:

  • Theft and property crimes
  • Physical and sexual assaults
  • Public intoxication
  • Petty theft

While the majority of crimes fall within the category of assaults and sexual assaults, the occurrence of minor offenses such as public intoxication and petty theft is also reported where the crime occurred.

As per data from 2023, amongst the major cruise lines, Carnival Cruise Line reported the highest number of sexual assaults and rapes, with thirty-six incidents in the first three quarters of the year. Despite these alarming numbers, it’s important to note that serious crimes at sea remain relatively low compared to the millions of passengers traveling annually.

Theft and Property Crimes

Theft on cruise ships is one of the more common crimes. Although theft may be considered less severe compared to physical or sexual assaults, it still causes significant distress to passengers, especially when high-value items are stolen. Property crimes on cruise ships extend beyond theft to include offenses such as fraud and identity theft, wherein perpetrators may target and exploit passengers’ personal information.

However, cruise ships face challenges in reporting thefts because the FBI only investigates thefts involving more than $10,000. This results in a significant number of lesser-value thefts being underreported and not pursued.

Physical Assaults

Physical assaults on cruise ships can range from minor scuffles to severe attacks involving weapons or attempts to push a victim overboard . These incidents are often driven by heated arguments, emotional distress, or a desire for power or revenge.

Sexual Assaults

Regrettably, sexual assaults on cruise ships are on the rise, with per capita rates at times surpassing those of U.S. states. The presence of intoxication on cruise ships can escalate situations to serious crimes such as sexual assault, representing a significant safety risk for passengers.

Fellow passengers or crew members can commit these assaults, leading to both criminal and civil litigation against individuals and possibly cruise lines.

Cruise Ship Security: Roles and Responsibilities

The responsibility of maintaining safety on a cruise ship falls on the shoulders of the ship’s captain and the security personnel. Under maritime law, passengers have a right to a duty of care, which encompasses their safety and security on cruise ships. This duty influences the management of crimes and accidents.

The captain holds the ultimate responsibility for making important decisions about handling offenders suspected of committing crimes on a cruise ship. Similarly, security personnel ensure that they properly educate and inform passengers about safety measures during their journey.

Security Teams

Cruise ship security teams, comprised of professionals with diverse backgrounds and comprehensive training in handling maritime-specific challenges, including law enforcement and military experience, play a crucial role in maintaining order and safety on board. They are responsible for responding to incidents, conducting investigations, and ensuring the safety of passengers and crew in the event that a crime occurs. They undergo specific training, including adherence to U.S. code standards for Vessel Security Officers and Personnel with Security Duties.

In cases of onboard incidents, cruise ship security teams act as the initial point of response, managing the situation until law enforcement authorities can take over. Their investigations play a pivotal role in shaping the ensuing legal actions and may impact the cruise company’s liability.

The Ship’s Captain

The captain of a cruise ship holds the ultimate authority and responsibility for the entire vessel. They oversee the actions of the security team and ensure the safety of all passengers and crew. This extensive legal authority is firmly established in maritime law and sailing traditions, granting the captain absolute command over the ship, its cargo, and the entire crew.

In serious incidents or when a security threat is identified on board, the captain has the authority to direct security officers. Additionally, they decide on the confinement of individuals and ultimately make decisions regarding the jailing or disembarkation of a passenger.

Cooperation with Law Enforcement Agencies

In the event of a serious crime, cruise ship security personnel:

  • Cooperate with law enforcement agencies
  • Follow procedures that align with legal standards and requirements
  • Maintain communication with coastal law enforcement and flag states
  • Lead security officers sometimes take instructions from company leaders onshore.

This collaboration is crucial for ensuring that operations on board comply with international maritime laws and the legislations of the countries the ship visits.

Do Cruise Ships Have Jails?

Most cruise ships have a form of detention facility known as a “brig” to handle crimes occurring on board. This small room, typically situated in the lower decks of the ship, is used to detain passengers or crew members who break the law or the ship’s rules. Common reasons for detention in the brig include:

  • drug possession
  • disorderly conduct

The ship typically detains individuals for a few hours or overnight before handing them over to local authorities at the next port of call.

However, the ship’s brig is not intended for long-term detention but serves as a temporary solution to maintain safety and order on board.

Navigating Maritime Law: Jurisdiction and Enforcement

The legal complexities surrounding criminal jurisdiction on cruise ships arise from the intricacies of maritime law and the various authorities involved. Navigating these waters involves understanding an array of international agreements and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The complexity of determining jurisdiction for crimes at sea often depends on the ship’s location when the crime occurs. This can lead to complex negotiations between international and local authorities regarding jurisdiction. These negotiations can potentially put the safety of passengers at risk due to delays and complications in prosecuting crimes on cruise ships.

International Waters and Territorial Jurisdiction

Maritime law is divided into jurisdictional zones:

  • Internal waters
  • Territorial waters (up to 12 nautical miles from the coastline)
  • Contiguous zones (from 12 to 24 nautical miles)
  • International waters

In territorial waters, a country’s laws apply to all vessels. Meanwhile, the contiguous zone allows for a country’s limited enforcement rights, such as against smuggling.

Cruise ships must register with a country and must abide by that country’s laws when in international waters; the law of the flag state governs this. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) outlines a framework for managing offenses on a ship in international waters according to flag state laws. It’s also crucial to note that international laws apply to ships not flying the flag of any nation, and authorities can legally board them if they suspect illegality.

Law Enforcement Agencies Involved

The enforcement of laws and investigation of crimes committed on cruise ships involve multiple law enforcement agencies. These include other law enforcement agencies when necessary. Here are the key authorities:

  • The flag state of the cruise ship has primary authority to investigate crimes on ships registered there.
  • The US Coast Guard has the authority to board ships within the contiguous zone, between 12 and 24 miles from the U.S. coastline, for suspected drug smuggling. Additionally, they may board ships at US ports for federal crimes.
  • The FBI also has extraterritorial jurisdiction to investigate crimes against Americans on cruises anywhere in the world.

Local police, as part of local law enforcement in the port state, conduct initial investigations if a crime occurs on a cruise ship while the ship is docked. Typically, the various law enforcement organizations involved cooperate to resolve jurisdiction issues. While rare, emergencies or unforeseen circumstances may require an unscheduled stop. In such scenarios, the laws of the country where the ship docks might come into play, adding another layer of complexity to the jurisdictional issues.

Prosecution Challenges

Prosecuting crimes committed on cruise ships can be a challenging task due to the complexities of maritime laws. The expanding cruise industry, with leading companies like Royal Caribbean carrying millions of passengers annually, may lead to an increase in the number of crimes at sea. This poses challenges to current oversight and enforcement mechanisms.

Personal injury lawyers may find it difficult to ensure that cases are heard in fair jurisdictions, not biased in favor of cruise companies. Additionally, the FBI may not initiate its investigation of crimes on a cruise ship until the ship returns to a U.S. port. This delay can result in a loss of evidence and witness recollection over time.

Inadequate Security on Cruise Ships: Risks and Consequences

Inadequate security on cruise ships can stem from various factors. These include insufficient security personnel, lack of proper surveillance equipment, or inadequate training and procedures for dealing with crimes at sea. This can lead to an increase in crimes such as theft, physical violence , and sexual violence. Passengers and crew members may face potential harm as a consequence of the increased crime rates facilitated by inadequate security.

This also has repercussions for the cruise ship industry. These include potential lawsuits, loss of reputation, and decreased passenger trust due to perceived inadequate security.

Cruise Lines’ Responsibilities

Cruise lines ensure that they inform all passengers and crew about safety management procedures on board. In cases of negligence leading to injury or wrongful death, cruise lines are liable for civil repercussions. They must have plans and capabilities in place to handle:

  • medical emergencies encountered onboard
  • fires and other emergencies
  • evacuations
  • security threats

In addition to established duties, the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 further emphasizes cruise lines’ responsibility to implement safety measures and establishes guidelines for reporting crimes aboard vessels. This act plays a crucial role in holding cruise lines accountable for passenger safety. It ensures they take proactive steps to prevent crimes onboard.

Seeking Compensation for Cruise Ship Crime Victims

If you or someone you know was a victim of a crime on a cruise ship, it’s crucial to understand that resources and legal avenues exist for seeking compensation. However, waivers that limit claim timeframes and set unfavorable jurisdictions for hearings complicate the process for cruise ship crime victims to obtain compensation.

This process involves navigating international laws applicable to cruise ships registered under foreign flags. It also entails establishing cruise company liability for inadequate passenger protection. As a member of the Cruise Lines International Association, victims can sue cruise lines for harm or injuries sustained due to inadequate security measures on the ship.

Types of Damages Recoverable For A Cruise Ship Injury

a cruise ship injury lawyer handing over a settlement check to a cruise ship injury victim

Victims of crime on a cruise ship can seek compensation for a variety of damages, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Mental health care
  • Restitution for stolen or destroyed property
  • Lost wages due to injury

Personal injury accidents in international waters are generally subject to the laws of the ship’s registered nation. This nation also establishes specific deadlines under maritime laws for filing claims.

Victims of theft on cruise ships can file lawsuits if they identify the perpetrator. This allows them the possibility of significantly recovering the stolen items.

Contact The Cruise Ship Injury Lawyers at Louis A. Vucci P.A. today

If you or someone you know was a victim of an injury or crime on a cruise ship due to negligence, especially due to inadequate security, don’t hesitate to reach out for legal help. Contact our cruise ship inadequate security lawyers at Louis A. Vucci P.A. today. With a track record of successful case results , including settlements over millions of dollars, our team of experienced lawyers is ready to help.

Get to know more about our firm and our commitment to justice. You can reach us at (786) 375-0344 or through our online contact form .

Related Reading:

  • Catching Criminals at Sea: The Role of Customs on Cruises
  • A Guide to the Most Dangerous Cruise Ports In The World

Categories: Cruise Ship Accident, Cruise Ship Injury

Cruish Ship

Free Case Review

  • Celebrity Cruises (1)
  • Cruise Ship Accident (42)
  • Cruise Ship Excursions (9)
  • Cruise Ship Illness (11)
  • Cruise Ship Injury (32)
  • Cruise Ship News (74)
  • Medical Crew Negligence (4)
  • Passenger Claims (32)
  • Royal Caribbean cruise ship (3)
  • Uncategorized (12)

Recent Posts

  • The Hard Truth About Cruises Uncovered
  • How to Complain to a Cruise Line and Get Results
  • The Top Safest Cruise Destinations In The World
  • The Roughest and Most Dangerous Parts of a Cruise Ship
  • What You Need To Know About Missing People on Cruise Ships
  • The Survival Rate of Falling Off a Cruise Ship
  • What’s Most Likely To Cause A Cruise Ship Fall Overboard Accident
  • What Is A Cruise Ship Muster Drill?
  • Are Cruises Safe for Kids and What Parents Should Know


Please wait while your request is being verified...

HeinOnline Blog

HeinOnline Blog

Dangerous waters: crimes on cruise ships.

  • By Stephanie Jacobson
  • April 22, 2022
  • Criminal Justice

Did you take a vacation for spring break? Perhaps you and your family booked a cruise and sailed to warmer waters, sandy beaches, and exciting shore excursions. Hopefully on that cruise, you enjoyed a great buffet, amazing live entertainment, and swam in a pool with a giant curling water slide. Hopefully nothing happened on your vacation that forced you to swim in the murky legal waters that govern cruising when the vacation goes awry. When an assault, robbery, or even a murder happens aboard a cruise ship, different jurisdictions apply than those passengers may be familiar with while on land. Using HeinOnline, let’s explore some of the legal issues surrounding cruise ship crime.

Cruising into Trouble

Amy lynn bradley.

In March 1998, 23-year-old Amy Lynn Bradley took a Royal Caribbean cruise with her parents and brother, Brad. Their destination was the island of Curaçao in the Dutch Antilles, and they were sailing aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas . The ship sailed out from San Juan on March 21, 1998 to Aruba, its first port of call. On March 23, the Rhapsody of the Seas left Aruba and headed through international waters towards Curaçao. That night, Amy and Brad attended a Mardi Gras party at the ship’s onboard nightclub, where they danced and drank with members of the ship’s band. At the end of the evening’s revelries, the siblings returned to the family’s cabin around 3:30 in the morning and sat together on the suite’s balcony until Brad retired to bed. Sometime around 5:30 am, their father, Ron, awoke and saw Brad asleep in his bed and Amy sleeping on the balcony. Assured his children were safe, Ron went back to sleep. But when he woke again about 30 minutes later, Amy was gone. She was never seen again.

George Smith IV

Regulatory tides sweep in.

Chart of reported crimes

Those wishing to see an archive of these reports can do so on the Department of Transportation’s website, with the most recent report covering January—March 2021; unsurprisingly, given the immense disruption to cruising due to the COVID-19 pandemic, only one incident , a sexual assault, appears on the latest report.

Smooth(er) Sailing, but Rough Waters Remain

crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

Sea of Knowledge

Did you know that HeinOnline has a dedicated subcollection on the law of the sea? Within our History of International Law collection, users will find our Law of the Sea subcollection, containing hundreds of titles relating to the policing of international waters, maritime law, and an assortment of issues relating to the oceans, such as salvage, commercial shipping, and maritime disasters.

View inside History of International Law

One of our favorite ways to research is to find Congressional hearings on a topic. The debates of Congress shed light on how lawmakers react to issues, the issues they find worthy of federal attention, and their proposed solutions, often contrasted with the legislation, if any, that is actually passed.

HeinOnline contains thousands of Congressional hearings. Users looking for a place to start can navigate into the Congressional Hearings subcollection in the U.S. Congressional Documents collection. From there, use the one-box search feature to perform a proximity search that looks for the words cruise and ship occurring within five words of each other, along with the word crime .

PathFinder subjects will appear as one of the options to help filter down our search results. Relevant subjects users may want to choose from include Law of the Sea , International Law , and Maritime Law .

Sample search of Congressional hearings.

Be sure to throw your research a lifebuoy by subscribing to the HeinOnline Blog to receive all our latest research tips, tricks, content news, and more posts just like this one.

HeinOnline Sources [ + ]

Stephanie Jacobson

Stephanie Jacobson

  • Tags: history of international law , law journal library , u.s. congressional documents , u.s. statutes at large , united nations law collection

Heinous Histories: The Arrest and Trial of Lizzie Borden

On August 4, 1892, a horrifying event occurred in the Borden home, chilling Fall River, Massachusetts. Daughter Lizzie Borden discovered her parents’ lifeless bodies. Did she stumble upon the nightmare or craft it herself?

Special Purpose Grand Jury Report Now Available in HeinOnline

On September 8, the report from the special purpose grand jury in Georgia, which suggested charges in the 2020 election interference investigation conducted by the Fulton County district attorney, was made public and is now searchable in HeinOnline.

image of a person's hands in handcuffs

Heinous Histories: The Murder of Mary Phagan

In the dim and musty confines of a factory basement, the lifeless body of Mary Phagan, was stumbled upon by a lone night watchman. Let’s venture into the annals of history using the World Trials Library and unearth the secrets to this crime.

Like what you see?

There’s plenty more where that came from! Subscribe to the HeinOnline Blog to receive posts like these right to your inbox.

By entering your email, you agree to receive great content from the HeinOnline Blog. HeinOnline also uses the information you provide to contact you about other content, products, and services we think you’ll love.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to the blog!

  • Share full article


Supported by

Report of Sexual Assault on Cruise Ship Shows Gaps in International Law

crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

By Elisabeth Malkin

  • April 19, 2019

If a cruise ship is a floating city, then the captain is its mayor.

But when it comes to law and order, there is no police force and no courts. That can leave victims of crime aboard the ship unprotected — because it is not clear which laws apply.

A reported sexual assault case aboard a Mediterranean cruise ship last week highlighted that legal ambiguity when a Spanish judge released the detained suspect after the ship docked in Valencia. The judge declared that Spain had no jurisdiction in the case because the alleged crime was said to have taken place in international waters, according to a report by the Spanish newspaper Levante.

If Spain cannot prosecute, then which country can?

“There’s no cut-and-dried rule,” said Frederick Kenney, the director of legal affairs and external relations for the International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency responsible for global shipping safety.

“There is no international law that covers this situation at the moment,” he said.

Maritime law establishes that a ship is subject to the laws of the country whose flag it flies. But for tax reasons and other legal advantages, few cruise ships are flagged with the countries of their home port, or even their corporate headquarters.

In the Spanish case, the suspect was detained aboard the MSC Divina, which flies a Panamanian flag and is in theory subject to Panama’s laws. In practice, the country may not have the resources to investigate crimes that take place far from its shores.

But other laws in place should have protected the victim, said Aleksandra Ivankovic, the deputy director of Victim Support Europe, a victims’ rights organization.

“Even assuming that the Spanish judge made a lawful decision in accordance with Spanish law, from the perspective of human rights guarantees, her rights as a victim of a terrible crime were not respected,” Ms. Ivankovic said.

The Istanbul Convention on violence against women, a European treaty, should apply to the case, she said.

The reported sexual assault aboard the MSC Divina involved a 17-year-old victim from the United Kingdom, according to Levante; the 18-year-old suspect was Italian. The victim reported the assault early in the morning of April 11 while the ship was sailing between Palma de Mallorca and Valencia.

The Istanbul Convention states that countries have jurisdiction when one of their citizens or residents commits a crime defined by the treaty.

In addition, European Union countries have agreements that allow a suspect to be held in one country and transferred to another for prosecution, Mr. Kenney said. “Why that avenue was not employed is unclear to me,” he said.

Still, Ms. Ivankovic warned that the Istanbul Convention and other European human rights protections, which are more broadly written than national laws, are not easy to implement.

Robin Roothans, a spokesman for MSC Cruises, said the company reported a “case of alleged sexual misconduct” by a passenger to law enforcement authorities in Spain who boarded the ship when it arrived in Valencia.

“The suspect was handed over to the authorities in Valencia,” he wrote in an email, adding that the company had assisted investigating authorities. MSC Cruises is a division of the global shipping firm MSC Group, which is based in Geneva.

Ross A. Klein, a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland who studies the cruise industry, said the company should have known that Spain had no jurisdiction over the crime.

“There is nothing stopping the British police or the Italian police from investigation,” he said. “The cruise line invited the Spanish police; it was a choice.”

Beyond Europe, there are other legal tools allowing countries to investigate crimes committed aboard cruise ships.

“Jurisdiction can be exerted, if it’s chosen to be exerted, by any number of different parties,” Dr. Klein said.

Under United States law, the F.B.I. can choose to investigate cases involving American citizens, even when the cruise ship does not dock in United States ports, Dr. Klein said. The law provides passengers with the right to call the F.B.I. directly.

“Passengers don’t realize this,” he said. “They have no idea.”

Even when the United States has asserted jurisdiction, there are many questions about what happens next.

“We have had so many discussions with the F.B.I. and the Coast Guard once a crime occurs,” said Jamie Barnett, the president of the International Cruise Victims Association . “If I spoke to 100 different F.B.I. field agents, I would get 100 different responses. It’s so murky.”

And citizens of countries that do not assert jurisdiction have less recourse.

Martyn Griffiths, a spokesman for the Cruise Lines International Association , the industry’s main trade association, placed the blame on the Spanish judge, arguing that the ship’s captain had followed maritime law in reporting the crime to law enforcement at the next port.

“We were quite surprised. In Spain they have low tolerance for crimes like this,” he said. “It was a very literal interpretation of the law.”

Victims’ rights advocates argue that cruise ships need an independent police force aboard to protect passengers because the cruise line’s security is concerned with limiting the company’s possible liability.

“We are up against a very powerful industry,” said Kendall Carver, the chairman of the victims’ association, whose daughter Merrian disappeared from an Alaskan cruise in 2004.

Under a 2010 United States law, cruise lines must report crimes committed on their ships to the F.B.I., and the results are published by the Department of Transportation.

Those statistics show that sexual assault is among the crimes that are most frequently reported.

But Mr. Carver said the raw data reported by the cruise lines, which he obtained for 2011 under the Freedom of Information Act, was higher than the public figures . A 2013 report by the Government Accountability Office also questioned whether the data offered a full picture of crime aboard cruise ships.

Dr. Klein said his study of the data found that about 20 percent of victims of sexual assault aboard cruise ships were under the age of 18.

“The protection you have as a cruise passenger is limited at best,” Dr. Klein said. “The further you get from your home country the more limited it is.”

“At this point, it’s anarchic,” he added. “It’s hit or miss.”

Come Sail Away

Love them or hate them, cruises can provide a unique perspective on travel..

 Cruise Ship Surprises: Here are five unexpected features on ships , some of which you hopefully won’t discover on your own.

 Icon of the Seas: Our reporter joined thousands of passengers on the inaugural sailing of Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas . The most surprising thing she found? Some actual peace and quiet .

Th ree-Year Cruise, Unraveled:  The Life at Sea cruise was supposed to be the ultimate bucket-list experience : 382 port calls over 1,095 days. Here’s why  those who signed up are seeking fraud charges  instead.

TikTok’s Favorite New ‘Reality Show’:  People on social media have turned the unwitting passengers of a nine-month world cruise  into  “cast members”  overnight.

Dipping Their Toes: Younger generations of travelers are venturing onto ships for the first time . Many are saving money.

Cult Cruisers: These devoted cruise fanatics, most of them retirees, have one main goal: to almost never touch dry land .

aronfeld updated website header logo with website blue

  • Class Action Lawsuits Cruise Ship Accidents Cruise Ship Injury Staircase Accidents on Cruise Ships Cruise Ship Medical Malpractice Flowrider Accidents Tender Boat Accidents Water Slide Accident Lido Deck Accident Kids Club Accident Overboard Accident Gangway Accident Injury Cruise Passenger Injury Passenger Health on Dirty Ships Child Cruise Injury CLASS ACTION LAWSUITS Camp Legeune Lawsuit Zeljanz Lawsuit Paraquat Weed Killer Lawsuit Zantac (Ranitidine) Lawsuit Maritime Cruise Ship Accidents Jet Ski Accidents Boating Accidents Parasailing Accidents Ferry Boat Accidents Scuba Diving Accidents Riverboat Accidents Personal Injury Personal Injury Auto Accident Premise Liability Accident Slip and Fall Truck Accidents Hit and Run Accidents Motorcycle Accidents Uber Car Accidents Sexual Assault Wrongful Death Traumatic Brain Injury Bicycle Accident Injury Parking Lot Slip & Fall Jet Ski Accidents Pedestrian Accidents PORTS Baltimore Belize Boston Brooklyn Canaveral Charleston Costa Maya Cozumel Dominican Republic Ft. Lauderdale Galveston Haifa Jacksonville Jamaica Key West Los Angeles Miami PORTS Mobile Nassau Norfolk New Jersey New York City Paris Roatan San Diego San Francisco San Juan St. Maarten/St. Martin Seattle South Africa Tampa Bay Tortola Vancouver
  • Testimonial
  • Privacy Policy
  • Free Consultation
  • 866-597-4529

How Cruise Ships Deal with Crime at Sea

It is not an ideal situation, but occasionally, crimes or other unfortunate events occur at sea. How these crimes are handled depends on many factors, including the type of offense committed and the severity of the injury or harm done.

Reporting Crimes at Sea  

Cruise liners have been independently reporting crime statistics for any serious crimes that have occurred on their ships previously. However, in 2014, an amendment was made to the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act that made it mandatory that certain crimes be reported to the FBI. These involve a series of eight serious crimes that all passenger vessels must report if these vessels are either embarking from or disembarking in a U.S. port. The most serious crimes include missing passengers, homicides and other suspicious deaths. With respect to crimes involving theft, the FBI only reports incidents where more than $10,000 was stolen. Cruise companies, following the 2014 amendment, have made efforts to be more transparent when a crime occurs on the ship and many have made efforts to keep passengers more informed and to encourage them to make reports when a crime is suspected.

Security on the Ship  

The captain is charged with making important decisions regarding what to do with the offenders who are suspected of committing a crime and oversee determining whether to dock early and report the crime or continue on course. In addition, it is important that all passengers are educated and informed about safety measures on the trip. Passengers need to know how to be vigilant in avoiding crime but also in reporting it if it does happen. Making sure that passengers are properly educated and informed of these procedures is the responsibility of the ship’s captain and security personnel on the ship.

Common Crimes at Sea  

Many of the crimes that are reported at sea are minor crimes involving public intoxication or petty theft. Incidents of public intoxication very rarely get to the point where criminal prosecution is needed. Most of the ship’s staff are trained to handle these types of incidents, including knowing what to do to deescalate behavior before it gets out of hand. However, intoxication can often lead to more severe crimes once the person gets so drunk he or she is no longer making wise decisions. Many times, if someone becomes belligerent or violent due to intoxication, assault and battery can result, which do lead to criminal prosecution.

Out of crimes committed in 2017 and the first quarter of 2018, of the 13 million passengers who were on board ships departing U.S. ports, only 100 serious crimes were reported to the FBI . There were 11 incidents of homicides, suspicious deaths or missing passengers. Of the categories of crimes reported, sexual assault and/or assault were the most commonly-reported crime onboard. Fourteen incidents were reported involving physical assaults, and 72 reports of sexual assaults were made in a 15-month period.

Incarceration on the Ship

What happens to the offender when a crime occurs on a ship? Most cruise companies do not outwardly talk about how they handle criminal offenders, but that does not mean a plan does not exist. Every ship comes with a place to house an arrested suspect until the ship docks. This arrangement may be a house arrest in the offending passenger’s cabin with guards posted outside of the room. The bigger ships also have a room that is a padded or safe lockup facility referred to as a “brig.” When it comes to deciding on whether to detain a passenger, the determination to jail a passenger or disembark him or her rests with the captain of the ship.

Criminal Investigations on Cruise Ships

After a crime is reported on the ship, the cruise ship’s security personnel respond and is usually the first agency that begins investigating what has happened. The security’s job is to first ensure that all other passengers are safe, and the incident is diffused before moving forward in handing the matter off to the port’s law enforcement.

Determining Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction can be an interesting subject when it comes to crime occurring on a cruise. If the ship is in a port when the crime is committed, the port has jurisdiction over the matter. In fact, every country has continued jurisdiction if the ship is in waters that are within twelve nautical miles of their shore. If the ship is past that limit, then jurisdiction over the crime is under the laws of the ship’s registered country. If the crime happens on open water, the captain makes the determination on whether the ship will make an unscheduled stop at the closest port, even if it is not on the ship’s schedule, or whether the ship will detain the passenger until the next port of call. That port’s authorities will then come onto the ship and make the arrest.

In the event a U.S. citizen is on a ship and commits a crime or if the U.S. citizen is a victim of a crime on the ship, the FBI conducts much of the investigation regarding the crime, especially if a serious crime has been committed. However, the FBI may not always be able to start the investigation until the ship returns, which can cause issues in preserving evidence. Reporting a crime as soon as it is observed or suspected is key in making sure that all evidence is obtained in a prompt and efficient manner.


If you have been injured on your cruise, on a wet and slippery deck, down a poorly lit staircase or steep gangway, in port on an excursion, or on a tender boat- it is important that you speak as soon as possible with a lawyer who specializes in personal injury claims against cruise lines. Most cruise lines, including  Carnival ,  Royal Caribbean ,  Celebrity ,  Norwegian ,  MSC ,  Disney ,  Holland America ,  Princess , Costa,  Regents Seven Seas  and  Oceania require that claims against them be pursued in a very specific place under very strict deadlines. Failure to comply with each individual cruise lines deadlines can result in a complete loss of any and all legal rights.

Aronfeld Trial Lawyers is a personal injury firm located in Miami, Florida since 1991.  We have fought hard to hold cruise lines accountable when they put their profits ahead of passenger safety.  We are available 24/7 and encourage you to contact us even if you are still on your cruise. The sooner we can begin our investigation and preservation of key evidence, such as the CCTV footage of your trip and fall, slip and fall, assault or other type of injury the more likely we will be able to understand and prove how the incident occurred. Remember, the cruise lines have the most aggressive and well-funded defense lawyers in the world- protecting their profits.  You need an experienced legal advocate in your corner who will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve for lost wages, medical expenses, transportation reimbursement and pain and suffering.  Call us today and speak with a cruise ship claims lawyer about your potential claim- toll free  1-866-597-4529 ,  305-441-0440 , or by email. We are ready to help.

aronfeld white logo

Aronfeld Trial Lawyers is a firm of high-profile, nationally recognized legal advocates who work for you, our client, never big business. We represent cases resulting in serious injuries in the areas of Cruise Ship Injuries, Wrongful Death, Automobile Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Slip and Fall Incidents, Product Liability, Civil Rights Claims, Workplace Injuries, Maritime Law, Sexual Assault, Medical and Dental Malpractice, and others.

Quick Links

  • (866) 597-4529
  • [email protected]

Let’s Work Together

©Aronfeld. 2024  KCoWeb All Rights Reserved 


  • True Crime Blog
  • A&E Classics
  • A&E Crime Central
  • Link A&E on facebook
  • Link A&E on twitter
  • Link A&E on youtube
  • Link A&E on instagram
  • Link A&E on tiktok

Cruise Ship Violence: Murders and Other Crimes at Sea

Boat at night

Hilary Shenfeld

Website Name

Year published.

Access Date

April 12, 2024

A+E Networks

When Kristy and Kenneth Manzanares boarded a cruise ship headed to Alaska, it was supposed to be the beginning of a week-long anniversary celebration for the Utah couple with friends and family. Days later, however, Kristy lay dead on the floor of her cabin, blood splattered around the room, and her husband was charged with her killing.

The July 25, 2017 death was one of three homicides or suspicious deaths that year on one of 10 cruise lines operating in U.S. ports, according to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics .

The fatal trip on the Emerald Princess started out with the Manzanares couple, high-school sweethearts , commemorating 18 years of marriage with their three daughters and extended family, along with 3,400 other passengers.

But two days into the vacation, the couple apparently got into a loud argument ,  and when authorities entered their cabin around 9 p.m., they found Kristy with a “severe head wound” and “blood was spread throughout the room on multiple surfaces,” according to an affidavit obtained by A&E True Crime. “She would not stop laughing at me,” Kenneth told a witness, according to the FBI in Anchorage.

Kenneth was indicted on murder charges and has pleaded not guilty. He remains in the Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Juneau awaiting a May 2019 trial, according to Chloe Martin, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. [Update: T he May trial was canceled and as of June 2019, a new trial date has not been set.]

Homicides aren’t the only serious crimes aboard ships. In 2017, federal authorities reported a total of 106 crimes , including 76 sexual assaults, 13 serious assaults, eight thefts of more than $10,000 and two kidnappings, according to DOT numbers, which compiles the figures in quarterly totals.

But advocates believe additional crimes are taking place, and are working to require authorities to collect data on those as well.

“If you counted the crimes on a cruise ship as you counted crimes in cities, you’d have way more,” says Kendall Carver, chairman of the International Cruise Victims Association . “Groping, thefts under $10,000, so many other crimes.”

In addition to fighting to expand the list of reportable infractions, Carver also wants to let passengers know they have the right to go directly to the FBI for help, instead of relying solely on ship personnel.

U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui of California says crimes at sea are an unfortunate reality, and she co-authored a bill in 2010 to expand protections to passengers after hearing from victims.

“This issue is very personal to me,” she tells A&E True Crime. “A constituent approached me and shared that she had been a victim of sexual assault on a cruise ship. As I looked into how we could help her and others who are victims of assault at sea, I realized the law at the time did not adequately protect passengers.”

However, Matsui says, “there is certainly more work to do,” noting that new legislation she introduced would improve crime-reporting mechanisms as well as information available to cruisers.

The bill , the Cruise Passenger Protection Act, is still awaiting action in the transportation committee, but “there’s no legitimate reason why this shouldn’t be able to move through Committee,” she says.

But the cruise industry’s trade group, the Cruise Lines International Association, maintains cruising is safe, with far fewer incidents than on land .

“A cruise vacation remains one of the safest forms of travel,” says Brian Salerno, a senior vice president with the association, noting that cruise lines “are subject to strict legal requirements for the reporting of crimes on board.”

Salerno wouldn’t disclose the specifics of security protocols, but says, “cruise lines do have security professionals onboard, some of whom are former law-enforcement officers” but that employing an independent police force wouldn’t make sense, given that its officers “would not have law-enforcement powers or jurisdiction.”

He says cruise lines work with the appropriate law-enforcement authorities, who are “best equipped, and sometimes mandated by law, to address any allegations of serious crime on a cruise ship.”

Carver says cruise lines don’t like to publicize anything untoward on their boats for fear of losing customers, but believes people have a right know all the facts.

He advises passengers to be aware of their surroundings and not forget normal precautions just because they are on vacation.

“A cruise ship is a floating city with thousands of people on board, serving unlimited drinks, with no police,” says Carver, whose daughter Merrian Carver disappeared in 2004 from a Celebrity cruise to Alaska and has never been found. “What do you think is going to happen? It’s not a crime-free area; [passengers] need to use common sense.”

More Features:

Chloroform: How the ‘Knockout Drug’ Has Been Used to Murder Over the Last 25 Years

What’s It Really Like to Be a Crime-Scene Investigator?

Clues from Beyond the Grave: When Victims Help Solve Their Own Murders

  • cruise ships
  • law enforcement
  • sexual assault

Related Content

crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

Can’t get enough of the True Crime Blog?

Never miss a story by signing up for the newsletter now.

  • Privacy Notice
  • Terms of Use

Need help with the site?

  • Port Overview
  • Transportation to the Port
  • Uber & Lyft to the Port
  • Dropping Off at the Port
  • Cruise Parking
  • Cruise Hotels
  • Hotels with Parking Deals
  • Uber & Lyft to the Ports
  • Things to Do
  • Cozumel Taxi Rates
  • Free Things to Do
  • Restaurants Near the Cruise Port
  • Hotels & Resorts With Day Passes
  • Closest Beaches to the Cruise Port
  • Tips For Visiting
  • Shore Excursions
  • Cruise Parking Discounts
  • Hotels with Shuttles
  • Which Airport Should I Use?
  • Transportation to the Ports
  • Dropping Off at the Ports
  • Fort Lauderdale Airport to Miami
  • Inexpensive Hotels
  • Hotels near the Port
  • Hotels With Shuttles
  • Budget Hotels
  • Carnival Tips
  • Drink Packages
  • Specialty Restaurants
  • Faster to the Fun
  • More Articles
  • CocoCay Tips
  • Norwegian Tips
  • Great Stirrup Cay
  • Harvest Caye
  • How to Get the Best Cruise Deal
  • Best Time to Book a Cruise
  • Best Websites to Book a Cruise
  • Cruises Under $300
  • Cruises Under $500
  • Spring Break Cruise Deals
  • Summer Cruise Deals
  • Alaskan Cruise Deals
  • 107 Cruise Secrets & Tips
  • Tips for First-Time Cruisers
  • What to Pack for a Cruise
  • What to Pack (Alaska)
  • Packing Checklist
  • Cruising with Kids
  • Passports & Birth Certificates
  • Bringing Alcohol
  • Cruising with a Disability
  • Duty-Free Shopping
  • Cruise Travel Insurance
  • Things to Do on a Cruise Ship
  • What Not to Do on a Ship
  • News & Articles | Everything Cruising

Nearly 200 Major Crimes Were Reported on U.S. Cruise Ships Last Year. Here’s the Most Common Offense

Think of a cruise and it’s likely you think of sitting poolside, eating in the dining room, visiting exotic ports, playing in the casino, or watching a show in the evening.

Ships ported in Nassau

For the vast majority of people, crime isn’t something that even crosses their mind. That’s for good reason. For the literally tens of millions that sail each year, the offenses on a cruise ship are fairly low.

However, any time you’re dealing with that many people, some sort of crime will occur.

Public Awareness of Cruise Crime Via Cruise Line Incident Reports

To inform the public, the U.S. Department of Transportation website provides updates on crimes aboard ships reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation .

Under a law known as “The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) of 2010” cruise ships that embark and disembark in the United States must report major crimes to the agency.

This doesn’t cover every illegal act on a ship, but does cover major offenses that are alleged, including homicides, missing U.S. nationals, kidnapping, tampering with a vessel, suspicious death, sexual assault, and thefts over $10,000.

Each quarter these statistics are compiled across cruise lines and released to the public through Cruise Line Incident Reports .

Generally this data is released regularly throughout the year. In 2023, the regular reports were delayed for reasons not quite clear. Instead, the first three quarters of reports for the year weren’t public until the start of 2024, followed shortly later with the fourth quarter’s statistics just days ago.

Now, however, we have a picture of alleged criminal activity aboard U.S. cruises last year. Take a look:

As you can see, many numbers for offenses are quite low. For instance, there were no homicides reported in 2023 and two suspicious deaths.

Theft of $10,000 or more saw 20 alleged offenses, which equates to about one incident every 2.5 weeks on a cruise ship.

What's clearly the outlier in the data, however, are sexual assault and rape. There were 52 sexual assaults reported in 2023 (one a week) and 79 rapes (about 1.5 per week).

All of these figures cover reported crimes among both passengers and crew on the ship.

In addition, you can see the number of alleged incidents by cruise line in the table below. Keep in mind that this doesn't account for the number of passengers carried, so it's natural that larger lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival would have more crimes reported overall.

Still, the large number of offenses reported on Carnival does jump out to us, especially in comparison to similarly-sized rival Royal Caribbean. Disney also seems to have a surprising number of incidents given the relatively small size of the line.

Many Reported Crimes Have Jumped in Number

Of course, no one wants to think about crime during their vacation. Perhaps what's most disturbing, however, is that many crimes have jumped sharply higher.

Looking at 2023 as a whole, there were 180 major crimes reported. That's up 38% from 2019's total of 130 incidents . (We've used 2019 figures for comparison as it was the last full capacity year before the pandemic halted cruises.)

For instance, in 2019 there were nine assaults compared to 22 reported in 2023 -- a 144% increase. Theft of more than $10,000 jumped from 15 instances in 2019 to 20 in 2023 -- a 33% increase.

In 2019, the reporting made no difference between sexual assault and rape in the statistics. Today, they are separate categories. In 2019, there were 101 total sexual assaults reported. In 2023, sexual assaults and rape were a combined 131 -- a 30% increase.

Overall Chances of Being a Crime Victim Are Still Low, But Use Common Sense

Even with the rise in incidents, when you consider the millions of cruise passengers that travel each year, your chances of being a victim of a crime are relatively low.

While total passenger statistics for 2023 aren't available yet, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), an industry trade group, reports there were roughly 13.2 million passengers visiting North American ports in 2019. The vast majority of these port visits would be from ships falling under the CVSSA reporting rules.

In that case, a passenger would have a roughly one in 73,000 chance of being a victim . (To keep things simple, this assumes all crimes were against passengers, while the reports include crimes against crew members as well.)

Still, there is no argument that crime does occur, even when having fun on vacation. All told, these statistics show a major crime occurs approximately once every other day across U.S.-focused cruise ships.

That's why it's important that you use common sense, doing things like storing valuables in the cabin safe when you leave the room and not joining strangers in their cabin. Always ensure your cabin door is locked and be sure to turn the deadbolt when inside.

Avoiding drinking too much alcohol is also important. Jim Walker, a Florida-based lawyer who runs a blog called Cruise Law News and serves as a cruise industry watchdog mentions that “We see a direct correlation between excessive alcohol served on cruises and violence, in general, and sexual violence against women, in particular.”

The chances of you being a victim are relatively rare, but it's still smart to reduce the risk even more with some simple steps.

Popular: 39 Useful Things to Pack (17 You Wouldn't Think Of)

Read next: park & cruise hotels for every port in america, popular: 107 best cruise tips, secrets, tricks, and freebies, leave a reply cancel reply.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

44 Must-Have Alaskan Cruise Tips, Tricks, and Secrets

15+ easy port canaveral hotels with cruise shuttles to the ship, feeling brave msc debuts “cliffhanger” — a swing that takes you 160 ft. over the water, hotels with cruise shuttles for every major port in america, 107 best cruise tips, tricks, secrets, and freebies, 39 useful things to pack for your cruise (including 17 you’d never think of).

  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms & Conditions

cruise news

  • Cruise News

Report: 2023 Experienced Surge in Crimes on Cruise Ships

Frank M

  • January 15, 2024

A recent update by the Transportation Department shows that cruise ship assaults are increasing.

sea day cruise ship

From January to September 2023, the FBI received 39 case reports of sexual assault and 58 reports of rape.

Data Released for January to September 2023

It’s a rise from 87 incidents a year earlier and 79 allegations during the first three months of 2019 before the cruise industry shutdown.

Breaking the data down, 76 of the cases were allegedly committed by passengers, while crew members perpetrated 17. A further four were committed by “unknown” parties.

Break Down by Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line, with 26 ships carrying 5.5 million guests, reported 36 incidents, while 20 incidents were reported on Royal Caribbean ships. Disney Cruise Line said 15.

The data also listed 16 assaults involving severe bodily injury and 14 thefts of over $10,000. While the number of alleged sex crimes increased, it is less than 1% of the millions of cruise guests who board ships each year.

Reporting to the FBI

While even one crime is too many, the cruise lines are the only sector that are required to report numbers. The same can not be said for all-inclusive resorts, hotels, theme parks, or airport.

The DOT began publishing these statistics after the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 was passed.

The unique nature of cruise ships, operating in international waters and often docking at various international ports, creates a jurisdictional complexity that necessitates clear legal protocols.

U.S. law, particularly the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA), mandates that cruise lines report certain crimes, such as sexual assault and theft, to the FBI.

Reporting to the FBI allows for a consistent and reliable legal framework, aiding in investigating and prosecuting crimes committed at sea and ensuring that victims receive appropriate support and justice, regardless of where the crime occurred.

Recent Posts

Cruise lines and port clash over using millions in passenger fees, 35.7 million passengers expected to cruise in 2024, unfazed by higher prices, new cruise ship attraction will dangle passengers 160 feet over ocean, four new mega ships on order for norwegian cruise line, share this post, related posts.

Cruise Lines and Port Clash Over Using Millions in Passenger Fees

Hannah Waddingham Tapped for Godmother of Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess

Easier Access to Princess Cruises in Florida with Improved Train Service

Easier Access to Princess Cruises in Florida with Improved Train Service

Cruise Radio header

Bringing you 15 years of cruise industry experience. Cruise Radio prioritizes well-balanced cruise news coverage and accurate reporting, paired with ship reviews and tips.   

Quick links

Cruise Radio, LLC © Copyright 2009-2024 | Website Designed By   Insider Perks, Inc


  1. Crimes reported on cruises hit unprecedented levels over the summer

    crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

  2. Security At Sea

    crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

  3. Concern grows over cruise ship crime reporting; local law enforcement agencies lack jurisdiction

    crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

  4. 9 Types of Maritime Crimes

    crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

  5. Department of Transportation Finally Discloses Crimes on Cruise Ships

    crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction

  6. Most common cruise ship crime is sexual assault

    crimes on cruise ships jurisdiction


  1. The Magic Pipe


  1. Crime On Cruise Ships: Unpacking The Hidden Dangers At Sea

    Crime Reporting and Response. The FBI has jurisdiction over crimes committed at sea when the cruise ship is bound for or departed from a U.S. port. The U.S. Coast Guard also plays a vital role in this process, assisting with law enforcement duties. They are responsible for supporting the investigations and liaising with local police authorities when needed.

  2. Cruise Ship Law & Jurisdiction: What You Need To Know

    Since 2010, the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act has required cruise ships that embark and disembark in the United States to report all crimes that take place at sea. In general, when crimes are committed in territories under U.S. jurisdiction, the FBI focuses its efforts on incidents that have specific penalties as specified under Title 18.

  3. Crime on Cruise Ships

    Investigating crimes on cruise ships. If the victim or perpetrator of a sexual assault is an American national, and their ship sails from or to a U.S. port, then the FBI will have jurisdiction over the case. In other circumstances, it's more complicated to determine which agency—or even which country—has jurisdiction. The location of the ...

  4. How Cruise Ships Deal with Crime at Sea

    When a ship is beyond the 12-mile limit, jurisdiction usually falls to the laws of the ship's registered country -- so a crime on a ship registered in the Bahamas would fall under Bahamian law.

  5. What Happens If You Commit A Crime On A Cruise Ship

    When a crime is committed on a cruise ship, the first step is to notify the ship's security personnel or the captain. They'll initiate an investigation and collect evidence to build a case against the suspect. If the evidence is sufficient, the authorities may detain the individual and restrict their movements on the ship.

  6. Maritime Mishaps: Unclear Jurisdiction on Cruise Ships

    The question of which country has jurisdiction over a cruise ship is a complicated one. Usually, if a crime occurs on a boat, the country where the vessel is registered has jurisdiction. ... "Unsolved crimes on cruise ships leave families with many questions, few answers" (25 January 2021). BU News Services.

  7. Why Are Crimes on Cruise Ships No Longer Being Disclosed to the U.S

    Posted in Uncategorized. The Cruise Vessel Safety & Security Act (CVSSA) of 2010 requires cruise ships calling on U.S. port to report certain shipboard crimes to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The CVSSA was the result of the efforts of the International Cruise Victim (ICV) which is a grass-roots organization created in 2006.

  8. What Are the Legal Implications of Cruise Ship Crime?

    This article will explore the legal implications of cruise ship crime, including the jurisdiction of cruise ships, the applicable laws and regulations, the types of crimes that can occur on cruise ships, the investigation and prosecution of cruise ship crimes, and the legal rights of victims and accused. I. Jurisdiction And Legal Framework

  9. Cruise Ship Crime: Who's Policing The High Seas?

    Beyond 12 nautical miles, the country that flags a cruise ship has jurisdiction over crimes committed on board, symbolizing the complexity of maritime law and the challenges in regulating the vast ocean. ... One of the potential issues with cruise ship crime is the delay before port call, which can lead to evidence deterioration or tampering. ...

  10. Department of Transportation Finally Discloses Crimes on Cruise Ships

    The CVSSA was the result of the efforts of the International Cruise Victims (ICV) which is a grass-roots organization created in 2006. The IVC was successful in convincing Congress, for the first time in the history of the cruise industry, to require the mandatory reporting by the cruise lines of certain crimes which occur on cruise ships.

  11. Who Investigates Cruise Ship Rapes And Murders At Sea?

    However, jurisdiction is a huge concern regarding crimes on a cruise ship. Who is responsible for investigating the crime? According to the State Attorney's office and federal court, section 7 of title 18 of the US code states that the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be responsible for investigations of crimes onboard cruise ships.

  12. Understanding Crime on Cruise Ships

    Crime on cruise ships, while rare, is a reality faced by the maritime industry, stirring concerns about safety and justice at sea. This article cuts through the complexities of maritime law, unpacks the layers of cruise ship security, and outlines the rights of victims, providing clarity on what passengers can expect in terms of protection and ...

  13. Jurisdiction for Crimes on Cruise Ships: What a Recent Spanish Case

    This case raises significant concerns about what jurisdiction applies to crimes that occur on cruise ships while in international waters. There are some easy answers to this question depending on where exactly the ship is located at the time the crime occurs and the nationality of the parties involved.

  14. What legal protections are there for crimes committed on cruise ships

    Victims of crime onboard a cruise ship can contact the FBI, DOT or the U.S. Coast Guard for more information about how to proceed. If outside the U.S., support can also be found from the nearest U ...

  15. Does the FBI have jurisdiction on a cruise ship?

    1. Can the FBI investigate crimes onboard a cruise ship? Yes, the FBI can investigate crimes on a cruise ship, especially if they involve U.S. citizens or occur within U.S. territorial waters. However, primary jurisdiction usually lies with the law enforcement agencies of the country where the ship is flagged. 2.

  16. Dangerous Waters: Crimes on Cruise Ships

    In 2010, Congress passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act [14] 124 Stat. 2243 (2010). This law can be found in HeinOnline's U.S. Statutes at Large collection. (CVSSA), which sought to improve passenger safety. It mandated new safety features on ships, such as security latchets and time-stamped key technology for passenger rooms, ship rail height, and surveillance and detection ...

  17. Report of Sexual Assault on Cruise Ship Shows Gaps in International Law

    Under a 2010 United States law, cruise lines must report crimes committed on their ships to the F.B.I., and the results are published by the Department of Transportation.

  18. How Cruise Ships Deal with Crime at Sea

    Call us today and speak with a cruise ship claims lawyer about your potential claim- toll free 1-866-597-4529 , 305-441-0440, or by email. We are ready to help. It is not an ideal situation, but occasionally, crimes or other unfortunate events occur at sea. How these crimes are handled depends on many factors, including the type of offense ...

  19. State v. Stepansky, 761 So. 2d 1027

    Section 910.006(3)(d) of the special maritime criminal jurisdiction statute that is the subject of the constitutional attack in this case extends the ability of this State to prosecute crimes to criminal acts committed on cruise ships sailing outside the State's territorial waters if the "act or omission occurs during a voyage on which over ...

  20. Do Cruise Ships Have Police? Who Handles Crime at Sea?

    Cruise lines take the security of their guests seriously, and having a police presence onboard ensures a safe and secure environment for everyone. Legal Jurisdiction on Cruise Ships. Maritime Laws. When you're cruising on the open seas, it's important to understand that the laws that apply may be different from those on land.

  21. Cruise Ship Violence: Murders and Other Crimes at Sea

    U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui of California says crimes at sea are an unfortunate reality, and she co-authored a bill in 2010 to expand protections to passengers after hearing from victims. "This issue is very personal to me," she tells A&E True Crime. "A constituent approached me and shared that she had been a victim of sexual assault on a ...

  22. Nearly 200 Major Crimes Were Reported on U.S. Cruise Ships Last Year

    Public Awareness of Cruise Crime Via Cruise Line Incident Reports. To inform the public, the U.S. Department of Transportation website provides updates on crimes aboard ships reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Under a law known as "The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) of 2010" cruise ships that embark and ...

  23. Report: 2023 Experienced Surge in Crimes on Cruise Ships

    Carnival Cruise Line, with 26 ships carrying 5.5 million guests, reported 36 incidents, while 20 incidents were reported on Royal Caribbean ships. Disney Cruise Line said 15. The data also listed ...

  24. What Happens if Someone Commits a Crime on a Cruise Ship?

    Jurisdiction of the Crime: One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to a crime committed aboard a cruise ship is the jurisdiction where it took place. Generally speaking, crimes that take place in international waters are subject to the laws of the country whose flag is flown on the ship.