Prominent Miami cruise ship accident attorney Brett Rivkind was the only plaintiff’s maritime attorney asked to testify before the United States Congress on cruise ship safety and security. The topics he was asked to cover dealt with international maritime security, law enforcement, passenger security, and incident investigation on cruises. The Congressional Hearings were prompted in part by publicity surrounding the disappearance of George Smith IV on his Royal Caribbean honeymoon cruise. Brett Rivkind was hired by the Smith family to pursue this case against the cruise line. The case received lots of attention as many wanted explanations as to how a man could disappear off a cruise ship during his honeymoon, and why the current law was not protecting cruise ship passengers.
Attorney Brett Rivkind received a thank you letter for testifying before Congress regarding cruise ship safety and security.What Was Discussed at the Congressional Hearings?
At the Congressional Hearings, the disappearance of George Smith during his honeymoon cruise was a main topic of discussion. Mr. Rivkind, speaking on behalf of the Smith family, was able to share his years of experience handling maritime cases involving incidents on cruise ships, including sexual assaults, disappearances, and other types of accidents which have led to serious injuries and even deaths. The disappearance of Merrian Carver, a 40-year-old woman on a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska, was also discussed. Kendall Carver, Merrian’s father, spoke on her behalf.
Brett Rivkind was questioned about safety and security issues on board the cruise ships and what particular laws govern the cruise ship companies. Surprisingly, Congress had very little knowledge as to how the cruise industry was being regulated, and was not aware that there were no mandatory reporting requirements for the cruise lines when a crime does occur aboard a ship. Congress was shocked to hear there was not a system in place.
These hearings put the subject of cruise ship safety and security on the lawmaker’s minds and resulted in future hearings on the subject. This eventually led to the passage of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010, signed into law by President Obama.What Is the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act?
The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 addressed this problem of safety and security on cruises, and for the first time implemented mandatory reporting requirement for cruise ship. The purpose was to raise public awareness of these crimes as well as provide a warning to future cruisers. The act also required any crimes and complaints of crimes to be kept recorded and available upon request.Positive Changes in the Cruise Industry
As a result of our firm’s efforts in bringing awareness to the public the security and safety issues that are present in the cruise ship industry, we believe the cruise ship industry has started to positively act to address many of the safety and security issues. Although falling short of all that was required to address cruise ship safety, the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 was a positive movement towards increased safety legislation applicable to the cruise ship industry.International Cruise Victims Association
The organization International Cruise Victims Association along with its President, Kendall Carver, should be applauded for their efforts in pursuing the passage of this safety legislation. We are proud to also see our good friend, Kendall Carver, continue in his relentless efforts to push for better safety laws and regulations, as his organization International Cruise Victims has grown and spread worldwide. Our firm is proud to have helped Kendall Carver when he initially formed this organization, and we are so pleased to see how it has grown and what the organization has been able to accomplish.