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SKAOLboy

Between 03-05 24 missing, 178 abused on cruises

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http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle....CRUISES-ODD.xml

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Twenty-four people disappeared from cruise ships between 2003 and 2005 and 178 passengers reported being sexually assaulted, a congressional panel heard Tuesday.

Among those who disappeared were an elderly Vietnamese-American couple who fled their native land as "boat people" in 1975.

Hue Pham, 71 and his wife, Hue Tran, 67, fled Vietnam 30 years ago with five other family members, spending two weeks floating in the Pacific with little food or water, their son, Son Michael Pham told a House of Representatives subcommittee

They eventually reached the United States and built a successful life. Last May, they disappeared during a Caribbean cruise. Pham said the crew waited over four hours after being alerted to the disappearances before notifying the U.S. Coast Guard and it took several more hours to mount a search, which found no trace of the couple.

Two American citizens with no personal or financial problems, no serious health problems, living the happiest time of their lives, both vanished without a trace or witness," Pham told the subcommittee on national security, emerging threats and international relations.

Of the disappearances, 12 were deemed suicides, one an accidental fall overboard and the others were deemed "missing for unknown reasons," said Lawrence Kaye, a lawyer representing major cruise lines.

Almost half of the 178 reported sexual assaults were allegedly committed by other passengers, according to figures released by the International Council of Cruise Lines.

With over 31 million people taking cruises in the three years under review, only four robberies were reported, the council said. However Ohio Democrat Rep. Dennis Kucinich said he suspected the figures understated the true situation and that not all crimes were being reported.

Several other witnesses told the subcommittee of tragedies on cruises. Lynsey O'Brien, a 15 year-old girl, was served at least 10 alcoholic drinks at a cruise ship bar and fell overboard while leaning over a balcony to vomit.

Janet Kelly, a 49-year-old married woman, said she was drugged by a bartender and raped.

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:cry: If this is true then it points to the need for all cruise lines to tighten security and begin more stringent safety measures.

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It is really horrifying to think that people are going missing on what should be a joyous and fun filled occasion. It's unfortunate that there may be people out there who wish to do others harm.

People should be aware of the dangers that can exist while they travel, not only on ships but on land and take every reasonable precaution to prevent abductions and assaults.

We had a discussion on this subject a few weeks ago and many people stated that they were going to implement safety procedures with their traveling companions and avoid getting drunk. I'm going to try to find that thread and edit this e-mail to include it.

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That sounds like a week in a New York hotel, but I don't see congress investigating them. It always seems worse for the cruise lines because they have to report a problem to the federal government. The hotel industry has no such mandate. When have you ever heard of a Norovovirus outbreak in a hotel. It happens much more frequently than on cruise ships. On the other hand, cruise ships have to report an outbreak, so it gets into the newspapers. I would be willing to bet that if the statistics for hotels had to be reported, they would be much worse than all of the cruises put together.

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I forgot to ask if anybody knew whether or not the alleged crew members were identified and prosecuted. Does anyone know? We don't hear anything that would make it a deterrent for future offenses.

It reminds me of the income tax evasion prosecution stories that we hear around tax time. It really scares many people into complying.

I can't imagine employees being bold enough to appoach a passenger in a manner that would lead to sexual assault. Passenger on passenger crime is the same. People who commit such crimes are criminals and should be treated as such. Who has jurisdiction?

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