For the first time oceangoing travelers can see what crimes are being reported aboard cruise ships operating in USA ports. The numbers compared with 2015 could make them seasick.
The number of reported sexual assaults on cruise ships jumped 550% in the first six months of 2016, going to 39 from six in 2015. Overall, reported crimes on ships jumped 408% 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 onboard crimes compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation that were not available in years past.
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.
Cruise industry representatives say ship cruises are safe and that a person is far more likely to be a victim of crime at home than aboard a ship. The Cruise Lines International Association, the largest cruise-line trade organization, said this week the crime statistics have been available to the public for years.