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Carnival Cruise Line Leads Industry in Sexual Assaults


This is not the kind of statistic that you want to be known for, but Carnival Cruise leads all other cruise lines in 2019 in one notable category: Sexual assaults. But it’s important to understand that Carnival is not the only cruise line that has this problem. The New York Post reported that sexual assaults aboard cruise ships rose 67% last summer. These included 35 sexual assaults, two disappearances, and five thefts of over $10,000.

Many criminals take advantage of jurisdictional issues that occur aboard cruise ships. Since cruise ships sail on the sea, they aren’t within the authority of any individual country. Further, while cruise lines provide their own security aboard vessels, there are no police officers there in any official capacity.

The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act 

The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, which was passed in 2010, requires all cruise lines to report serious crimes that occur on their vessels. This includes homicide, sexual assault, and thefts of over $1,000. Carnival Cruises was simply the cruise line that reported the majority of serious crimes, including sexual assault.

In the majority of cases, the perpetrators were other passengers on the vessel although there were plenty of instances of cruise ship employees perpetrating crimes of their own, including sexual assault. Both individuals who went missing did so aboard Carnival cruise ships and 20 of the 35 sexual assaults occurred aboard Carnival vessels.

Proving a Sexual Assault Lawsuit 

Sexual assault lawsuits are filed under a theory of negligent security. The plaintiff claims that the defendant, which is usually a proprietor of some kind, created a situation where those who were invited on the property were at risk. However, plaintiffs must also show that the event was foreseeable. As an example, if someone walks into a bar and gets stabbed, a plaintiff would need to show that the bar did not take reasonable precautions in order to secure the safety of their guests.

Generally, the plaintiff’s attorney gathers data about the neighborhood or the venue in question and shows that there is a pattern of violence happening there. That proves that the violence was foreseeable. However, the defendant can say that they hired security to protect their guests and it just didn’t work.

Could this report of violent crimes occurring aboard Carnival ships in particular be used against them in negligent security/sexual assault lawsuits? It can. Carnival is now on notice that sex crimes occur more frequently aboard their vessels than others. That means that they could be held liable even if one passenger is attacked by another passenger.

Talk to a Miami Cruise Ship Injury Attorney 

If you’ve been assaulted aboard a cruise ship, a skilled cruise ship injury attorney may be able to make a case for why the cruise line is liable for failing to provide adequate security. Contact Miami admiralty & maritime lawyer Michael F. Guilford today for a free consultation.




  • American Association for Justice
  • Florida Justice Association
  • Bar Register Preeminent Lawyers
  • American Association for Justice

It's Your Time To Win

Contact the Law Offices of Michael F. Guilford, P.A. for a free initial consultation with Michael Guilford. Flexible appointment times are available. If you can't come to us, we will come to you. Call toll free 866-473-2636 or describe your injuries in an email.

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Michael F. Guilford, P.A.

Courthouse Tower, Suite 750
44 West Flagler St.
Miami, FL 33130

Toll Free: 866-473-2636
Phone: 305-539-1999
Fax: 305-539-1998