US Coast Guard Targets Cruise Ship Crimes

The US Coast Guard is proposing amends to passenger vessel regulations aimed at improving security measures especially with respect to prevention of crime and responding to sexual assaults on board cruise vessels.

The said amendments would implement the Coast Guard’s Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010.

These in particular relate to deck rails, systems for detecting or recording falls overboard and for recording evidence of possible crimes, hailing devices, security guides, sexual assault response, and crime scene preservation training.

“Congress found that serious incidents, including sexual assault and the disappearance of passengers at sea, have occurred on cruise vessel voyages, that passengers lack adequate understanding of their vulnerability to crime on board cruise vessels, that inadequate resources are available to assist cruise vessel crime victims, and that detecting and investigating cruise vessel crimes is difficult,” the Coast Guard said.

According to the proposal, the surveillance system onboard should be able to make identifiable time and date-stamped images of persons who may be involved in alleged crimes.

The surveillance records should be kept for the duration of the voyage, and up to 120 days after the voyage, allowing extra time to report a crime, such as theft, that may not be discovered until sometime after all passengers have disembarked.

The Coast Guard also proposes introduction of onboard personnel designated to prevent and respond to criminal and medical situations, including sexual assault cases.

The proposal is open for comment for 30 days.

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