While crime is rare on cruise ships, justice for those victimized on the vacation voyages can be elusive due to overlapping investigative powers, difficulty obtaining evidence and witnesses, and a lack of sworn officers aboard ships, reports the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. Some of that could soon change. The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010, aimed at strengthening safety and reporting standards, was signed by President Obama last week. The new law requires the cruise industry to install video surveillance systems in common areas, as well as door viewers and security latches on cabin doors.
Each ship must carry equipment and materials to perform sexual assault medical exams and to collect forensic evidence. Ships also need to have drugs to prevent sexually transmitted diseases after an assault. Another provision requires cruise ships to log and report all deaths, missing persons, alleged crimes and complaints involving some thefts, sexual attacks and assaults involving U.S. citizens. Those records will be available to the FBI and the Coast Guard electronically and to all law enforcement officers upon request. The Department of Homeland Security will make cruise line crime statistics available to the public.