Trouble In Paradise?

Thursday, July 15, 1999
The cruise shipping industry, which has invested billions of dollars in new ships and enjoyed an unprecedented bull run during the last five years, suffered a major black-eye last week when it was revealed that crews on ships run by Carnival Cruise Lines -- which carry about two million vacationers a year -- have been accused of sexual assault 62 times in the five years up to last August. Carnival Cruise Lines gave few details of the 62 allegations investigated by company security staff other than to say each matter was referred to police if the accuser wished. The incidents have caught the eye of Capitol Hill, though, and it should be expected that the matter could initiate discussions of the regulatory nature. "I am extremely concerned about recent reports of cruise ship crew members sexually assaulting passengers and co-workers," said powerful Senator John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. "Cruise ship companies should do everything in their power to ensure that this criminal activity does not occur, regardless of where the ship is flagged." " Cruise lines should begin by being forthcoming with evidence of criminal behavior at any time during a cruise, and not waiting five years and 62 incidents later. I am shocked as to why the evidence took so long to emerge," McCain added.

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