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John Kerry’s Office Refutes ICV Allegations

Written by: Paul Motter

The “International Cruise Victims” are up in arms again because of the final state of the new “Cruise Safety Act of 2012.”

Before the bill was passed in its final form the FBI and the Coast Guard requested specific changes having to do with reporting crimes on ships.

The bill was originally written to mandate that all reported allegations of crimes on cruise ships would be made available to the public in a database. The ICV has long claimed there is a massive coverup conspiracy by the cruise industry to hide crime on cruise ships. They thought that a law mandating that all allegations of crimes on ships being made available to the greater public in a database managed by the Coast Guard would lessen crime on ships, or at the least give future cruisers fair warning as to the “dangers” of even being on a cruise ship – in regards to crimes onboard.

At the time I wrote columns where I said I think it is wrong to make public mere allegations of crimes – because they are only allegations and people are innocent until proven guilty in this country.

Furthermore, it is a FACT that the cruise lines have always reported all crimes onboard to the FBI (which constitutionally has jurisdiction over crimes at sea against US citizens). It is the FBI which has the responsibility to follow up.

I have often said the anger of the ICV was misplaced in blaming the cruise lines for a “cover-up.” First of all, cruise lines do not enforce laws, the FBI does, and secondly the cruise lines WERE (and still do) pass all crimes reported on ships on to the FBI.

So – we just found out the law was changed at the last minute so only closed cases are put in a public database – not mere allegations. Furthermore, this change was made by the congressional sponsors at the request of the FBI and Coast Guard – because these are open and ongoing investigations; (1) they don’t want these allegations affecting the investigations in progress. (sometimes there is information that should be kept confidential), plus (2) one would be revealing names of very possibly innocent people and (3) “victims” with more information than they need may take matters into their own hands.

Now the International Cruise Victims is suggesting John Kerry is a “traitor” and claiming he changed the law without their knowledge, etc… (the typical blame game).

Well, John Kerry’s office just shot back with “We notified everyone of these changes in the law at least a year before the bill was finalized.” And they followed up with “and by the way, thanks for the gratitude after we spent three years fighting this battle for you.”

Here is the original report written by a crack AZ Republic reporter:

Law shields industry on cruise-ship crime information

And here is the link to today’s response from John Kerry’s office:

Cruise-ship article’s details wrong

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Comments

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time June 21, 2012 at 4:47 am

One must be cognizant of the fact that – oh, just a guess at a percentage figure for lack of trying to figure one out, say, 98PERCENT of all passenger ships are not under US registry, so any grievance or even any consideration by ANY member of the US Congress is to be appreciated, as they, any member(s) of the US government, have no say in any matter on foreign ships.

I do not know what measures were taken by of John Kerry, non of us do, unless we were at the hearings, but to have listened to and acted upon safety measure that involve crime on foreign, and I assume this includes US registred passengr ships as well, is admiable, even though the outcome was not what was hoped for.

Having said this, it is a supreme shame and a travesty that crime commited aboard any passenger ships is not correctly profiled and that such poor measures are taken after the fact. Yes, there is a need for secutiry and justice, where and how it may come about, if ever, is a mystery. Lets keep plugging away for justice.

Comment from Paul Motter
Time June 21, 2012 at 11:21 am

Actually the hearings were streamed on the web and may still be available. Kerry tried his best and deserves better than what the ICV just said about them.

I have met Mr Carver, and although I certainly have empathy for all people who suffer such traguc losses, I have witnessed far too many people getting on the “cruise lines at fault” bandwagon for everything that happens on a ship.

Yes – cruise line share the responsibility to maintain a safe and secure environment, but they cannot police adults to the point where they can eliminate their willful actions.

If a grownup wants to smuggle booze onboard and try to walk the railing like a tightrope in frigid Alaska waters at 2:00 in the morning – is the cruise line responsible to stop them?

The answer is “yes” if they see it happening, but if they don’t does that mean we need laws to make sure people can’t do that? That is what the ICV says…

So, I thought about it. Do you realize 100 people die every years by “falling” from NY City skyscrapers? About 18 million full time dwellers in the metro area – roughly equal to the number of cruises taken per year.

I lived in NYC – one could very easily jump or fall out of almost any window, most are lower than the average cruise ship railing. I think you get my point.

You just can’t legislate everything, nor can you always find someone else to blame for every tragedy.

I agree with the FBI and Coast Guard, the reporting part of that law was over-reaching. They don’t say exactly why they wanted it changed, but what about the liability of publishing mere allegations about people who have not had a hearing?

I personally believe that while crime does happen on cruise ships, the idea that they are all dens of iniquity and that there is a massive coverup is just plain wrong.

Furthermore, if it was true then its the FBI that has the jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute (any act against an American citizen anywhere in the world can be prosecuted by the FBI if they so choose, but especially on the high seas where no one else has jurisdiction.) The FBI and the Coast Guard do not agree with the ICV that there is a cruise ship crime conspiracy, and that is why they wanted the law rolled back. It was over-reaching and punitive to a basically upstanding business.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time June 22, 2012 at 4:07 am

Paul

I for one truly appreciate your time in presenting this to us, and I certainly agree that passengers do indeed gripe and complain and do things that are not in keeping with cruise etiquette and do not maintain a calm demeaner – luckily, it is a minority of pax that fall into this category.

It is important that passngers be aware of what Senator Kerry tried to do, afterall it is a “hands tied, damned if you do, and damned if you don’t” situation.

I have been on several ships with retired US Navy Seals blending in with the passengers, and other muscle, perhaps a version of the sky marshalls, “sea marshalls” in these cases. It is also on these certain – to remain unnamed ships – that seemingly never have had any scandle, at least, not made public. I have also witnessed armed guards partroling passenger corridors as well.

There are certin cruise lines I will never sail, and one need only look at how those lines resent themselves, and what their reputations pervay.

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time July 11, 2012 at 5:33 am

It does appear the problems be they alleged or for real, are a major concern for passengers has come to light in a major weay.

Last night a expose` was aired on TV in the States, concerning rape and predators that are targering cruises ships and the passengers because they know they will not be caught or prosecuted.

This is alarming and very disconcerting to know and it has to be stopped.

Comment from Paul Motter
Time July 11, 2012 at 9:35 am

Well Kenneth, there is nothing new about these stories of rape and such, but as Christine Duffy pointed out, in a letter to the LA Times today is it really good reporting for the news media to be repeating and relying on statements made by a group of individuals (The ICV and other industry critics like Ross Klein) who have an obvious agenda to slander the cruise industry with as much innuendo as possible for their personal benefit?

Ross Klein – frequently cited as a “professor” who has studied and written books about the cruise industry is a professor of sociology, with no background in statistics, crime or legal matters. He choose to “study” after being asked to disembark a Radisson cruise after he repeatedly complained about a “plot” by the crew to aggravate him. He said a bartender was “conspiring to drive him insane” when he (Ross) asked for the music to be turned down, and the bartender would do it when he was looking, but turn it back up when he looked away. Finally, Klein became so unbearable he was asked to leave the cruise. He has been on a rampage to destroy the industry ever since.

In fact, most of the industry critics have at least one trait in common, an almost paranoid delusion about conspiracies at cruise lines to hide “the truth” about the danger in taking a cruise.

Their claims that cruise ships are havens for serial rapists completely ignore the fact that rape and other events of life happen everywhere, no more or less on cruise ships.

Yes, there have been times in the past when cruise lines did try to make such matters go away, putting the offender of the ship and flying him home to Romania (or wherever he hailed), but at least they got rid of the offender.

But those are the old days, if you look closely you will see there is very little in the way of “new” crimes since 2006. Most of what the ICV relies on for its anecdotal evidence happened before the cruise industry cleaned up it act.

Am I saying crime has disappeared from cruise ships, no. But I am saying the industry has cleaned up security, that it DOES report all crimes as required by law, and that the ICV is continually frustrated because they are tilting at windmills.

As much as they want to paint a picture of the cruise industry as nefarious and criminal it just doesn’t stand up to real scrutiny, and that is why even the congresspeople who tried to placate them eventually agreed to tone down the attack on the industry when asked to by the FBI and Coast Guard. Because those agencies who ARE at the forefront of monitoring what really happens on cruise ships did not think the accusations of the ICV have merit, they saw the situation was being blown out of proportion and they did not want o spend their valuable time placating a small group of individuals looking at the cruise industry as a scapegoat for the personal misfortunes.

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