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  #31 (permalink)  
Old July 9th, 2008, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter
You would think a congressperson would be smart enough to recognize the difference between a few isolated incidences and a crime wave. Apparently not.
I wouldn't think that at all. I read a lot of bills.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old July 10th, 2008, 03:35 AM
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OK, call me a whack job, but here's how I see all this. It's simply about control. If the government can control one part of your business, they will go after more. I see it as a money issue ( heres the whack job part ). If they start with the crime, then it will get to a point of how much money they are losing to run the program and try to collect taxes on EVERYTHING purchased on the ship, to ofset the cost. It seems anything and everything that the govenrmant does comes down to who pays for it, and if that add the taxes, well you do the math, alot of $$$$.

Just an opinion. We all know what that means, and what they are compared to. Everyone has one and it usually stinks.


Tim Ruth
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old July 10th, 2008, 08:57 AM
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Another government sponsored career path. Yikes.
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old July 10th, 2008, 02:49 PM
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Timruth, I agree in part and disagree in part. Congress overreacts, but on the other hand, criminal investigation on the high seas is pretty loose and we would not tolerate such looseness in our hometown, so why would we tolerate it on a cruise? There do need to be some standards. I remember the death of an elderly man about a thousand miles south of Christmas Island in the middle of the Pacific aboard the old Crown Odyssey years ago that many passengers found to be slightly suspicious. ther4 was never the sort of investigation that would occur ashore, and the 'bereaved widow' (who was not bereaved took the deceased off three days later at Hilo on the big Island of Hawaii, and he was promptly cremated.

I normally agree with you about too much government, but the primary legitimate function of government is law enforcement, public safety and security.
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Polynesia, Carib. '86
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RCCL, Carib, 1998
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old July 10th, 2008, 03:33 PM
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I agree that there should be some type of regulation, but to be honest, who are we ( the USA ) to demand such actions. Once we step foot on to one of those ships we are basically in the country that the ship is flagged to.

There needs to be more personal responsibility while traveling. I just dont think more govenrment regulation is in order. We have too much now.

I keep hearing about the sex crimes that may or may not have occured on the ships. My opinion is that if people ( men and women ) acted like they do while at home alot of these crimes would not take place. Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. A man sees a drunk woman and lures her somewhere and takes advantage of her. Not saying that its her fault in any way shape or form, but. Just because you are on vacation, doesnt mean you can let your guard down.

I have been placed in positions a few times at my job. I am the night manager of a hotel in Florida. More drunk women have thrown themself at me, and the other guy that works the same shift, than you can shake a stick at. We have had to escort the women to their rooms, they have tried to get us to do things we shouldnt do. Have I been tempted, yeah I have. Heres the problem, if I did anything, whats to stop them from claiming rape, nothing. So I take the personal responsibility and say, thanks but no thanks.

Sure there are a bunch of bad people in this world, and they should be punished. I think there has got to be a better way, other than more regulation. The government already runs the names of the passenger list against wanted persons.

Background checks only tell you if someone has been caught already. We had a discussion this very morning at work about them. There is an ambulance driver that has a checkered past, the company did the background check found everything the guy did. Now, if he told them on his application, then its alright. Here in Florida, we seem to have a problem with teachers that are having sex with their students ( something like 9 this year alone ). All these teachers passed a background check, yet still did the crime. So to say that background checks are run is just a false sense of security. The news stations ask, " How did they fall through the cracks? ".

Anyway, enough of my ranting.

Have a good day.

Tim
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old July 10th, 2008, 04:48 PM
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Tim,
Actually, the country the ship is flagged to has very little to do with anything. Certainly not with the quality of justice you have the right to expect. Those are flags of convenience for the most part.

Who are we to ask for some sort of uniformity? Well we supply an awful lot of the passenger base that makes the industry viable in any respect you care to name. It seems to me that the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. could reach some sort of an accord on the matter. I've been on lots of cruises all over the world, and that would cover about 80% of all the passengers on all the cruises I've been on.

Perhaps what separates me from you on this is that I spent about 25 years in law enforcement at a fairly high level, and I have talked to countless victims of crime and to their families. When you have repeatedly had that experience, and have seen a few thousand criminal investigations to a successful conclusion, you see things a little differently. There should never be another separate and inferior quality of justice, just because some (admittedly rare) criminal event happens to occur to your loved one at sea, rather than ashore.

Never, ever think Tim that crime can not happen to you or to your loved ones. Believe me -- it can.

You have a good day too.
richard
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Polynesia, Carib. '86
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RCCL, Carib, 1998
Volendam, Car, 2000
Ryndam, 35 day S. Am., Antarctica, '03
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old July 10th, 2008, 09:53 PM
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You are right, something has to be done, but Im not sure more government regulation is the answer. I just think personal responsibility is the first step.

As for crime touching someone close to me. Here's a link about my brother. He was the officer involved.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/servi...,4115683.story

just copy and paste that into your browser.

I know this is a touchy subject, anytime the govt. wants to do anything it can get wierd.

Tim
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old July 10th, 2008, 10:54 PM
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We seem to be debating the bill without the bill text. I don't trust what they say to the Media it doesn't always match the bill. Kerry's bill is S. 3204 here is the link. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:S.3204:This is what I see.

Cruise vessel security and safety requirements:
(1) IN GENERAL- Each passenger vessel to which this subsection applies shall comply with the following design and construction standards:
`(A) The vessel shall be equipped with ship rails that are located not less than 4 1/2 feet above the deck.
`(B) Each passenger stateroom and crew cabin shall be equipped with entry doors that include--
`(i) peep holes;
`(ii) security latches; and
`(iii) time sensitive key technology.
`(C) Fire safety codes shall be implemented.

DETAILING COAST GUARD PERSONNEL TO ENFORCE CRUISE SHIP REQUIREMENTS.
(a) IN GENERAL- Section 7(b)(3) of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act (33 U.S.C. 1226(b)(3)) is amended to read as follows:
`(3) dispatch properly trained and qualified armed Coast Guard Personnel on vessels and public or commercial structures on or adjacent to waters subject to United States jurisdiction--
`(A) to deter or respond to acts of terrorism or transportation security incidents, as defined in section 70101 of title 46, United States Code;
`(B) to act as environmental observers for the purposes of--
`(i) monitoring compliance with the requirements of all applicable Federal laws and regulations regarding the discharge of waste into United States territorial waters;
`(ii) observing operation and maintenance procedures for onboard waste treatment systems;
`(iii) ensuring the proper handling and disposal of all hazardous wastes; and
`(iv) verifying logbook entries for all records required by the Coast Guard related to waste treatment and disposal; and
`(C) to act as public safety officers for the purposes of--
`(i) assisting vessel passengers and crew, as needed, with the reporting and investigation of potential criminal activities occurring on board vessels to which section 3507 of title 46, United States Code, applies while such vessels are in United States territorial waters;
`(ii) securing, to the degree possible, suspected crime scenes on such vessels; and
`(iii) collecting evidence of alleged crimes against passengers and crew on such vessels.'.

(b) FEES AND CHARGES- The Commandant of the Coast Guard may promulgate regulations under section 9701 of title 33, United States Code, establishing charges for services provided by the Coast Guard under section 7(b)(3)(C) of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act (33 U.S.C. 1226(b)(3)(C)) as amended by subsection (a).


Read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
So this bill is in committee. This is not the entire bill it seems the bill wants to standardize cruise ship design, in force environmental rules, and assisting vessel passengers and crew, as needed, with the reporting and assist in the investigation of potential criminal activities occurring on board vessels. The section on how they will pay for it is in bold. You we need to put the united states code section to read it.
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old July 11th, 2008, 12:32 PM
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Not sure the Coast Guard is the best agency to handle criminal investigations, or to secure a crime scene.

I can't help but note that governmental regulations are hardly new to Ships at sea. Remember the Titanic? Governmental regs are why we now have enough life boats, and lifeboat drills, and fire codes, and environmental no dumping, and galley health inspections, etc. etc. etc.
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Polynesia, Carib. '86
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Crystal Harm, Aust., N.Z., '94
Royal Odyssey, AK,'96
Old Cr. Pr. Canal, '97
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old July 11th, 2008, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richstacy
Not sure the Coast Guard is the best agency to handle criminal investigations, or to secure a crime scene.

I can't help but note that governmental regulations are hardly new to Ships at sea. Remember the Titanic? Governmental regs are why we now have enough life boats, and lifeboat drills, and fire codes, and environmental no dumping, and galley health inspections, etc. etc. etc.
The committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation may address the issue of the coast guard vs law enforcement. This is an introduced bill they almost always get amended. It will be interesting to see who supports and opposes this bill. I put the link so we can follow along.
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  #41 (permalink)  
Old July 17th, 2008, 09:42 PM
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A couple of quick comments..

Timruth is right about taxes. Alaska has attempted to get the cruise lines to report all onboard revenue (tours, especially) so they can tax it. IN addition to a $50 head tax.

Another comment is about flags of convenience - that argument is swiss cheese. Every ship is subject to the laws of every port it enters. If you are not compliant you can't dock, therefore the standard for all ships is probably higher than any individual port because they need to conform to the laws of many countries.

To imply they only do this when they are not at sea is naive - that's too impracticle. You set a standard and maintain so you don't have think about what each port requires.
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  #42 (permalink)  
Old July 18th, 2008, 12:03 PM
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Yes Paul, but what does that have to do with the subject matter?
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Polynesia, Carib. '86
Cr. Odyssey, Scandinavia, '91, 30 Day S Pac. 2002
Crystal Harm, Aust., N.Z., '94
Royal Odyssey, AK,'96
Old Cr. Pr. Canal, '97
RCCL, Carib, 1998
Volendam, Car, 2000
Ryndam, 35 day S. Am., Antarctica, '03
Is. Pr., Canal, 2004
Statendam, 34 day China, Japan, AK '06
Cr.Pr., Carib. 08
Eurodam, Atlantic, Med. '10
Golden Princess
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  #43 (permalink)  
Old July 18th, 2008, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richstacy
Yes Paul, but what does that have to do with the subject matter?
Sorry, I don't get your point. I just made a couple of quick comments. Didn't realized my hands were tied, or cuffed as the case may be, to one subject.

I any case, since you worked in law enforcement, Rich, maybe you can explain why several police organizations were on the list of those who opposed to the California bill?

You appear to be for some kind of legislation, so how would you handle it? Where do you see the jurisdiction, and more importantly, it appears to me the whole problem is more of a prosecutorial one than an investigative one. The crimes are reported and investigated, but they rarely bring charges.

Why not? What is the missing link?
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  #44 (permalink)  
Old July 18th, 2008, 02:47 PM
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I am not really that familiar with the problem Paul. I'm retired and I don't any longer have access to a law library. Please bear in mind that I was U.S. Attorney in a Mountain state and we had no ocean, and little or no occasion to be involved with admiralty or maritime law.

But, here goes anyway:

Someone had indicated that essentially all government regulation was bad, a notion that I reject, and I pointed out that "I can't help but note that governmental regulations are hardly new to Ships at sea. Remember the Titanic? Governmental regs are why we now have enough life boats, and lifeboat drills, fire codes, environmental, no dumping, and galley health inspection regs, etc. etc. etc."

I think it is possible to overreact, as Congress seems to be doing, but it would seem that the best solution would be an international treaty among the nations that have the most cruisers.

A cruise ship is essentially a small town and crimes, though rare, are bound to occur. the quality of justice should not depend on whether you are ashore at home, or at sea on a ship flying a Liberian flag. Imagine for a moment a situation where you, or a loved one, are a victim of a violent crime on the high seas. The U.S. can assert jurisdiction wherever its citizens are involved.

U.S. law already applies in the "Special Maritime Jurisdiction" of the United States which is defined very broadly, to include the 'high seas' and any vessel belonging in whole or in part to any citizen or corporation of the U.S., or any place outside the jurisdiction of any nation with respect to an offense by or against a national of the United States. 18 U.S.C. Sec. 7. (emphasis added by me)

Due to various longstanding acts of Congress, the U.S. has jurisdiction of the most violent felonies ( murder, manslaughter, maiming, kidnapping, rape, assault, and robbery) by virtue of that act. I assume that Canada and the UK have similar statutes.

The Ports and Waterways Safety Act also gives some jurisdiction. Yet the investigation and prosecution of crimes at sea still causes confusion.

Barring a treaty, one possible solution, to insure fair and uniform justice on behalf of U.S. victims would be a statute vesting jurisdiction in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, or in any district where the ship touched during the cruise whenever the victim or victims of the crime are U.S. citizens and whenever the crime involved is one of certain enumerated crimes. (not misdemeanors) Investigative jurisdiction should be given to named U.S. agencies, in particular the FBI.

However bear in mind that the FBI and the U.S. attorneys have very full plates and constant competing demands, and they have discretion, and so they will be able to authorize prosecution only for the more serious offenses.
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Polynesia, Carib. '86
Cr. Odyssey, Scandinavia, '91, 30 Day S Pac. 2002
Crystal Harm, Aust., N.Z., '94
Royal Odyssey, AK,'96
Old Cr. Pr. Canal, '97
RCCL, Carib, 1998
Volendam, Car, 2000
Ryndam, 35 day S. Am., Antarctica, '03
Is. Pr., Canal, 2004
Statendam, 34 day China, Japan, AK '06
Cr.Pr., Carib. 08
Eurodam, Atlantic, Med. '10
Golden Princess
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  #45 (permalink)  
Old July 18th, 2008, 06:17 PM
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Yes, I am aware that the maritime courts have jurisdiction, and congress has authorized the FBI to investogate all cruise ships crimes involving US citizens.

Strangley, Canada does not seem to have a similar law, and it has been argued they need something like our system (ironic, eh?)

I believe just a small group of FBI agents would be more than enough to deal with the problem because it is much smaller than anti-cruise groups would have you believe. But priority is the major problem because the FBI generally won't touch a theft or robbery ofunder $10,000 and other crimes require a fair amount of investigation, let alone prosecution.

I have written several pieces on how i see it. Including todays news:


Quote:
Cruise News by Cruisemates

7-18-08
"There Was No Crime" Says Jennifer Hagel Smith

COMMENTARY: Jennifer Hagel Smith, widow of George Allen Smith who died mysteriously on a Mediterranean cruise in 2005, has released a statement that says her husband's family has refused to acknowledge the possibility that Smith's death was accidental. The family has insisted Smith was a victim of foul play despite a lack of evidence, according to the widow. Her attorney says the family has "described a crime scene in the cabin on the ship that simply didn't exist" and "published reports of blood evidence that the families now know is baseless."

The statement, as reported by the Associated Press, is a response to an appeal the family filed against the widow claiming she accepted an inadequate settlement from Royal Caribbean. Her lawyer further remarks that Hagel Smith has received numerous documents, including cabin access records and statements made to investigators, and "There's no evidence we can see of murder."

The crime was investigated by the FBI and no charges were ever brought. All of the evidence and the testimony of Smith's widow points to an accident or suicide.

What is most interesting about this? George Smith's family is one of the co-founders of the highly outspoken anti-cruise industry organization "International Cruise Victims." The other co-founder of ICV, and their spokesperson, is Kendall Carver whose daughter Merrian disappeared from a cruise ship also in 2005. In that case there is also no evidence that a crime ever occured. The final conclusion was that her disappearance was a deliberate act by the deceased.

So, now the best evidence we have in both of the cases of the families who started "International Cruise Victims" is that neither case involved foul play. Neither of them were victims at all, let alone "cruise victims," yet they have been such highly consistent critics that they have have sparked three congressional investigations into "cruise ship crime."

In two of the most recent additions to ICV's roster of "cruise victims", Ashley Barnett and Mindy Jordan, neither of those cases bears proof of foul play, either. Ashley ingested her boyfriend's methadone (a strong opiate) apparently by accident because it had been transferred to a Nyquil bottle. Mindy was attempting to climb from one balcony to another, high above open water in high seas. A camera caught her in the act and shows her losing her grip. Both incidents were investigated by the FBI and no charges were filed.

Are these cases sad? Of course. Is it easy to criticize anyone who has lost loved ones? It doesn't feel good at all. But since these are the same people who have put the cruise industry on trial a look in the mirror is only fair. We are desperately sorry for their losses, but are they "cruise ship crime victims?"


http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/...ate-050908.cfm

http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/...ttack52807.cfm

http://www.cruisemates.com/articles/...spercepts2.cfm
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