Report: 2023 Experienced Surge in Crimes on Cruise Ships

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A recent update by the Transportation Department shows that cruise ship assaults are increasing.

sea day cruise ship

From January to September 2023, the FBI received 39 case reports of sexual assault and 58 reports of rape.

Data Released for January to September 2023

It’s a rise from 87 incidents a year earlier and 79 allegations during the first three months of 2019 before the cruise industry shutdown.

Breaking the data down, 76 of the cases were allegedly committed by passengers, while crew members perpetrated 17. A further four were committed by “unknown” parties.

Break Down by Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line, with 26 ships carrying 5.5 million guests, reported 36 incidents, while 20 incidents were reported on Royal Caribbean ships. Disney Cruise Line said 15.

The data also listed 16 assaults involving severe bodily injury and 14 thefts of over $10,000. While the number of alleged sex crimes increased, it is less than 1% of the millions of cruise guests who board ships each year.

Reporting to the FBI

While even one crime is too many, the cruise lines are the only sector that are required to report numbers. The same can not be said for all-inclusive resorts, hotels, theme parks, or airport.

The DOT began publishing these statistics after the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 was passed.

The unique nature of cruise ships, operating in international waters and often docking at various international ports, creates a jurisdictional complexity that necessitates clear legal protocols.

U.S. law, particularly the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA), mandates that cruise lines report certain crimes, such as sexual assault and theft, to the FBI.

Reporting to the FBI allows for a consistent and reliable legal framework, aiding in investigating and prosecuting crimes committed at sea and ensuring that victims receive appropriate support and justice, regardless of where the crime occurred.

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