by Robert Anglen of azcentral.com
Oceangoing travelers for the first time can see what crimes are being reported aboard ships operating in U.S. Ports — and the numbers compared with last year could make some of them seasick.
The number of reported sexual assaults on cruise ships jumped 550 percent in the first six months of 2016, going to 39 from six in 2015.
Overall, reported crimes on ships jumped 408 percent to 61 from 12.
The dramatic increase doesn’t mean cruise ships are more dangerous or violent than they were last year. But now, the public has access to reports of on-board crimes compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation that were not available in years past.
“The disclosure of crimes, and the FBI follow-up, are the most significant things we’ve accomplished,” said retired Phoenix businessman Kendall Carver, founder and chairman of the International Cruise Victims Association, which has been fighting for a decade for passenger safety.
“It means you can finally see what crimes are occurring on these ships… We can finally start getting valid numbers.”
Legislation passed in 2014 required public disclosure of all serious crimes reported by cruise ships. In addition, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will adopt a system to put victims of crimes in contact with a federal agent while they are still aboard the ship.