International Cruise International Cruise Victims There is a problem of crime on cruise ships. Since

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  • International Cruise Victims

    There is a problem of crime on cruise ships. Since 2005 there have been four hearings in the House of Representatives plus a hearing in the U.S. Senate concerning crimes on cruise ships. As a result, major legislation is in the process of being passed; already having passed in the House in November by a vote of 416 to 4. In addition to passengers that have been victims of sexual crimes, robberies and disappearance, other victims have included those that purchased Art onboard of cruise ships.

    The following is a headline in Art Knowledge News as of this past week.

    Art Knowledge News

    Park West Gallery Loses ~ Arts Registry Awarded $500,000 by Jury (See article posted on ICY website dated April 26,2010)

  • Southfield-based Park West Gallery took a $500,000 hit Wednesday in a legal brawl with a Phoenix-based Web site that said the gallery defrauded customers in art auctions aboard cruise ships."The verdict vindicates everything my client ever said about Park West," Farmington Hills lawyer Donald Payton said after a federal jury in Port Huron awarded $500,000 to Global Fine Arts Registry and its founder, Theresa Franks, for trademark violations involving registry Web sites.

    "I'm ecstatic," Franks said. "I'm thrilled. After three years of hell, I've finally gotten a sweet, sweet, sweet victory."

    Also, ICV has just posted on our website the following: Post-Trial Phone Message from the "Dark Side" of Royal Caribbean? Terri Franks indicates that she has received alleged threating phone call from Royal Caribbean office. Take the time to watch video which can be seen at:

    http://fineartregistry.coni/articles/2010-04/death-threat-phone-call-from-royal-caribbean.php

    In 2008 and 2009 the cruise industry, which represents mostly foreign corporations based in the U.S. paying few federal taxes, spent $11,000,000 for professional lobbying efforts in Washington to avoid legislation. So why would a group of victims calling themselves International Cruise Victims (ICV), with no money take on such a powerful industry? Because of the passion of those victims who represent women who have been sexually assaulted, families of victims who have disappeared or died as well as those who have been robbed or otherwise injured. Their tragic stories have won the battle.

    After Congress carefully investigated this industry, and the media helped to expose the issue, there was no question that there was a major problem with crime on cruise ships. Cruise lines take the position that they have no legal obligation to investigate crimes. They also indicate that they do not have the technical staff to examine crimes. Purely on a voluntary basis, they notify the FBI. When an FBI agent is far from the ship, it is impossible to take immediate steps to protect the victim or start an investigation. There may also be, as is often the case, a jurisdiction problem.

    Since 1999, the cruise line industry has had a stated policy of zero tolerance for crimes. Yet, after several meetings with industry representatives and victims, we could not reach an agreement for adopting any new proposals to improve safety on cruise ships. At the request of Chairman Elijah Cummings and after four hearings in the House, the cruise lines were requested to advise the committee in writing, of what they were willing to commit to in order to address these issues.

    On December 19, 2007 CLIA, an organization that represents the cruise line industry, produced a thirty two page report offering no commitments to any changes. The report asserts three times that the FBI presented testimony in their September report to the congressional committee that the crime rate for the cruise ship industry was only .01%. The problem is this; that statement was not true. This was confirmed in a letter written on April 4, 2008 by the F.B.I to Kendall Carver and can be viewed in my Senate testimony of June 19, 2008. In fact, CLIA's own expert witness at the Senate hearing, Dr. James Alan Fox, indicated that this was not a valid annual crime rate.

    The industry continues to state that crimes are very rare on cruise ships. However, in written testimony to the Senate Committee, CLIA indicated that they don't keep track of crimes. Then how they can make a statement as to the rate of crimes on cruise ships.

    Lastly, in a survey taken by Cruise Critic Ship Survey dated 05/16/08, the question was asked, "Have you ever been affected by crime, minor or major, on a cruise ship? 10 percent said yes, 90 percent said no. I would sav that if a maior resort had 10% of their nustomers inriinatinn that thev have been involved in a

  • crime there would be a major investigation. Again, this survey can be viewed in Kendall Carver's Senate testimony of June 19, 2008

    Recent cruise line concepts of concern include offering unlimited drinks for one price on certain cruise ships which seems less than wise when excess alcohol is often involved in certain crimes. Another cause for concern is the offering what's being marketed as "Cougar" cruises, in which older women look to have sexual relations with younger men. Put the two together, alcohol and encouragement for sex - and you're looking at a recipe for disaster.

    The goal of ICV is not to damage cruise lines but to hold them accountable for the safety of future passengers and crew members and to require prompt and accurate reporting to authorities of crimes, deaths, disappearances. Matters that would normally be investigated had they occurred on land.

    Maybe there is a valid reason for the negative press and hopefully the new legislation will start to change an industry that failed to do so voluntarily. ICV remains confident that our safety legislation that will help protect passengers will pass this year.

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