|Photo by Susan J. Young|
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has commended the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Legal Committee for adopting a proposal which CLIA co-sponsored on international standards for crime reporting, cooperation between governments, evidence preservation and care for victims.
The action came at an IMO Legal Committee meeting in London. CLIA first offered the proposal to the IMO in 2011. The goal is to have such standards adopted globally.
In addition to CLIA, other co-sponsors were the United Kingdom, the International Federation of Shipmaster’s Associations and the International Association of Airport and Seaport Police. The proposal was also supported by the United States.
“We commend the IMO Legal Committee for adopting these standards,” said Christine Duffy, CLIA's president and CEO. “The cruise industry is global in every respect and CLIA believes that the same stringent standards regarding crime should protect every cruise passenger worldwide. A global standard will strengthen the collaboration among cruise lines, local and national law enforcement agencies and provide a truly comprehensive response to prevention and reporting."
Duffy said CLIA was "particularly grateful to the United Kingdom in working to bring this proposal to a successful conclusion."
Action Possible in November
The IMO Legal Committee will now submit these important worldwide standards to be adopted by the IMO Assembly, the highest body in the IMO, as an Assembly Resolution at its November biennial meeting.
In the interim, CLIA is already working with its member cruise lines to promote implementation of these comprehensive standards on all of their ships.
The standards include many elements of the United States’ own Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) of 2010, which the cruise industry also supported. CLIA’s members sailing to or from U.S. ports have already implemented those standards.
The CVSSA had established the most comprehensive set of laws worldwide to protect cruise ship passengers; it requires ships sailing to and from U.S. ports to immediately report all allegations of serious crime, suspicious deaths or missing U.S. nationals directly to the FBI and other appropriate law enforcement agencies.
The act also requires that vessels have video surveillance systems to assist in documenting and producing evidence, in addition to crew training in evidence preservation and crime prevention, detection and reporting.
It requires medical staff onboard ships to have three years of clinical practice in general or emergency medicine or board certification in emergency, family practice, or internal medicine; onboard physicians also must have training which meets the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) guidelines related to treatment and care of victims of sexual assault.
The IMO’s international standards complement the CVSSA by addressing cooperation and coordination between governments, law enforcement, and affected parties. While the CVSSA requires training in crime scene and evidence preservation which complies with the U.S. Maritime Administration’s specified curriculum, the IMO’s international standards also include actual templates for witness statements and step-by-step detailed instructions on the recovery, packaging, identification, and labeling of evidence.
The cruise industry has taken its own steps to provide for global consistency in crime reporting practices. CLIA adopted a mandatory Member Policy on the Reporting of Crimes and Missing Persons, which was developed as part of the industry's effort to unify reporting practices and ensure serious crimes are promptly reported to authorities.