Congress to Probe Crime on Cruise Ships

Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Ahead of a House hearing to tackle the issue of crime aboard cruise ships, a congressional memo on March 7 details 177 sexual misconduct incidents, ranging from inappropriate touching to rape, and four robberies of amounts over $5,000 over a three-year period. During that time, approximately 25 million people embarked on cruises from North America ports, the memo said. Disclosure of the data, supplied by Holland America Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruises and others, is unusual because cruise lines are not required by law to publish comprehensive crime statistics and criminal law varies greatly on international waters. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., wants to change that and, as chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, is working on legislation to make such reporting mandatory. The subcommittee hearings come amid the highly publicized disappearance of a constituent from his honeymoon cruise last summer. In July 2005, George Allen Smith IV and his wife, Jennifer Hagel-Smith, were aboard the Royal Caribbean Line’s Brilliance of the Seas while as it sailed from Turkey to Greece in the Mediterranean Sea. Smith, a 26-year-old lawyer from Greenwich, Conn., disappeared after an apparent late night of drinking. Blood stains were found on the railing of his cabin, but no body was ever found. (Source: Newsweek)
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