Copyright (c) 2007 Villanova University
Villanova Sports and Entertainment Law Journal
COMMENT: SMOOTH SAILING? NAVIGATING THE SEA OF LAW APPLICABLE TO THE CRUISE LINE INDUSTRY
14 Vill. Sports & Ent. L.J. 127
Sarah J. Tomlinson *
When Merrian Carver disappeared from a cruise ship, the cruise line donated her belongings to charity, no one notified her family, and the crew generally acted as though nothing had gone wrong. 1 When Annette Mizener vanished from a cruise ship, her family took the lead role in collecting evidence and securing the alleged crime scene before a ship security officer baselessly told them she committed suicide. 2 In the heavily publicized George Smith case, crew members failed to enter his cabin when responding to a noise complaint, failed to secure or preserve the alleged crime scene, and failed to adequately assist his wife after he went missing from the ship under suspicious circumstances. 3
"Watching the news, you'd think cruise-ship passengers getting lost at sea was an epidemic ... ." 4 The recent string of highly publicized disappearances on the open seas prompted relatives of missing cruise passengers to form a group seeking industry reform by Congress. 5 Consequently, in December 2005, Congress held an introductory hearing on international maritime security, focusing for the first time more on passenger safety rather than on the threat of terrorism. 6
A major problem Congress faces when addressing cruise line industry safety is that valid safety issues may not exist. 7 The only statistics available, which may not provide a completely accurate picture of the true crime rate aboard cruises, are those the industry voluntarily reports to the FBI. 8 Cruise industry officials estimate that thirteen ...
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