Cruise Ship Crimes – Theft Greater Than 10 Thousand
Cruise ships are generally safe, but the operators, crews, and captains owe a duty of safe transportation to passengers. However, many of the same dangers are present as on land. Injuries, assaults, and robberies do happen. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) keeps track of the incidents that occur, so travelers can assess the risks before they depart. Information must be made available to the public, and reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in accordance with the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010.
For recent years, here are details of theft greater than $10,000, based on the DOTs Cruise Line Incident Reports.
- April 1 through June 30: One report of theft involving a crew member.
- January 1 through March 31: One theft of over $10,000 on a Disney Cruise Line ship, one on Princess Cruises, three on Royal Caribbean, and one on Seabourn.
- October 1 through December 31: No reports of theft.
- July 1 through September 30: One report involving a passenger on Crystal Cruise Line, and one on Disney.
- April 1 through June 30: An incident of crew theft activity aboard a Royal Caribbean vessel.
- January 1 through March 31: Crew theft aboard a Disney vessel and a Royal Caribbean ship, and one incident involving a passenger on Princess.
- October 1 through December 31: Passenger theft aboard Carnival and one on Royal Caribbean.
- July 1 through September 30: Crew theft aboard a Royal Caribbean ship.
- April 1 through June 30: Theft involving a passenger on a Holland America Cruise Lines ship.
- January 1 through March 31: One passenger-related theft each on Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean.
Passengers and crew members have been guilty of theft aboard cruise ships. In August 2006, a purser who worked aboard the Sapphire Princess for ten years sacked away $400,000. A valued employee, she had stocked the cash in her cabin, which she had obtained from the ship’s safe. The ship’s senior crew discovered the crime after an investigation. The woman was arrested on the vessel and held until it reached port; her passport was handed to U.S. Customs, and the FBI took over the investigation. After pleading guilty, she ended up serving a four-month term in prison and was later deported back to Australia.
How Cruise Ship Robberies Are Investigated
Theft aboard a cruise ship is taken very seriously. The FBI will lead an investigation in many situations. It has jurisdiction if the vessel is owned by the United States, no matter where the perpetrator or victim are from. Any crime that occurs within 12 miles of the U.S. coast is handled by the bureau. If a U.S. national was involved in the incident, and the ship arrives or departs from a U.S. port, or if it’s determined the act is terrorism-related, the FBI will investigate it.
The Bureau also has a system of working with foreign law enforcement agencies, through offices known as Legats. It has a worldwide network that lets its liaison work with other countries to investigate crimes on the high seas, and will even collaborate in finding fugitives. Criminals and fugitives in foreign countries can be caught. The Bureau, Department of Justice, the U.S. State Department, and Office of International Affairs can coordinate to make sure the perpetrator faces justice. Authority to conduct overseas investigations and coordinate them abroad varies depending on the country and the case.
Maritime jurisdiction can also be overseen by state law; Florida Statute 910.006 is an example. If a resident of the state is a victim of a crime aboard a cruise ship, state law enforcement has jurisdiction over the matter. Such is the case if the suspect is a resident or citizen of the state, or over half the revenue passengers on board originally embarked on the ship and planned to disembark at a port in Florida. In many instances, or if the nationality of the individual perpetrating the crime isn’t known, they can be tried in the country the vessel has traveled to. If stolen property is brought into another country, then the criminal can be tried in that jurisdiction if they are alleged to have committed robbery, larceny, or embezzlement.