Articles Tagged with FBI

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Since 2010 and the passage of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, the cruise industry has a duty to report 8 crimes to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They include: Homicide, suspicious death, missing U.S. National, kidnapping, assault with serious bodily injury, firing or tampering with the vessel, theft of money or property in excess of $10,000, and sexual crimes. Once the crimes are reported, the Coast Guard publishes the statistics on its website after the investigations are closed.

carnival-triumph-disabled.jpgOn December 20, 2013, the U.S. Government Accountability Office published its review of the first 3 years of compliance by the cruise ship industry of the new regulations imposed by the CVSSA. Senator Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation gave a sombering overview: “I’ll give the cruise ships some credit, because of the first bill we passed they raised the level of their railings . . . They’ve done a pretty good job on that, but when it comes to crime, no they have not.”

In its report, with respect to CVSSA crime-reporting requirements, the GAO noted that the FBI and the USCG have implemented these provisions as required. The crimes that occur on cruise ships and that fall within one of the 8 crimes listed above have been published when they are no longer under investigation. However, the GAO noted instrinseque limitations on how the statistics would provide any measure of usefuleness to prospective cruise passengers. Specifically, the GAO raised three specific areas of concern:

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The odds of becoming the next cruise passenger victim of a sex crime are unknown.

You and your family decide to go on a cruise to celebrate a special occasion at sea. The luxurious and glamorous temptation of spending a week on a majestic cruise ship is understandable, and for all you know, a quite safe way to spend some quality and relaxing time with your spouse and teenage children.

Two months after coming back from the cruise, your 15-year-old daughter courageously confesses that while alone in her cabin on the cruise ship, a crew-member unlocked her cabin door using a universal key card, and forced her to perform several sex acts. She kept quiet and did not tell anyone until today, because she did not want to ruin the family vacation.

That horrendous event is unfortunately not as uncommon as one may think, and certainly not as uncommon as the cruise industry would like you, potential customer, to believe. Yet, that is exactly what happened in 2010 to a 15-year-old girl and her family while on board a Royal Caribbean cruise in New Zealand, as reported by CNN below:

After years of hearings, committees, and disputes over the lack of statistical data on crimes occurring on cruise ships, Congress finally gave birth to a new law, the Cruise Vessel Security & Safety Act. This law aimed notably at forcing the cruise industry to to abide by new requirements of transparency, including the requirement to report to the FBI all crimes that occur on their ships. The passage of the new law was deemed a bipartisan success, and the essential step in the right direction to finally have a crime database that could be used in the future to improve the security and safety of cruise passengers.
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On December 23, 2011, Royal Caribbean crew member, Fabian Palmer, sexually abused a minor child who was 14 years old at the time. This is the latest event that has led to criminal charges for sexual acts committed on cruise ships this year.

fabian palmer.jpgFabian Palmer, a Jamaican national, was a Royal Caribbean Cruises employee and worked on the Enchantment of the Seas. Palmer was assigned to maintenance of the vessel’s pool areas.

On December 17, 2011, the family of the victim boarded the cruise ship from Baltimore, Maryland, for a 7-day Caribbean cruise. For several days, Palmer interacted with the 14 year-old girl, sharing written notes, until the evening of December 23rd when Palmer invited the minor passenger to follow him in one of the deserted male locker rooms of the ship at approximately 11:30pm.

The criminal complaint filed by the FBI in Maryland details how Palmer led the 14 year-old to one of the bathrooms of the male locker room and locked the door behind them. Palmer undressed the girl and engaged in multiple sexual acts despite the girl’s protests that she was hurting. Palmer only stopped when another crew member knocked on the door of the bathroom and discovered the “couple”. The next day, Palmer saw the 14 year-old and told her not to say anything to anyone about what had happened or he could be in trouble.

FabianPalmerMugshot.jpgAccording to the FBI, video surveillance cameras captured footage of Palmer leading the minor into the male locker room and into the bathroom. The footage also shows the other cruise employee knocking on the door and all three leaving the male locker room shortly thereafter.

Palmer was interviewed by Royal Caribbean after the end of the cruise. The FBI was alerted in late December and a criminal complaint was filed against the 25 year-old on January 4, 2012.

On March 22, 2012, almost three months after the events, Palmer plead guilty to having had sex with a minor child under the age of sixteen. As part of his plea agreement, Palmer will be registered as a sex offender in his place of residence, for any future job and any time he enrolls as a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
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