Under a 2007 agreement, cruise lines began voluntarily reporting to the FBI violations of U.S. law aboard cruise ships. The Sun Sentinel's information request to the FBI for copies of the cruise line reports yielded 363 incidents from 75 ships, from December 2007 through October 2008. Requests for additional information remain unfulfilled.
When a crime is committed aboard a cruise ship, the FBI has jurisdiction if the ship is owned by a U.S. company or citizen, if the crime took place within 12 miles of the U.S. coast, if the victim or perpetrator is a U.S. national on a ship departing or arriving at a U.S. port, or if the crime involves an act of terrorism against the United States.
Not all of the incidents reported by the cruise lines were criminal acts at sea - some were natural deaths, and some involved crimes and accidents that took place at ports of call.
The reports included 123 assaults; 43 sexual assaults; 90 incidents involving sexual contact or misconduct; 80 thefts; eight deaths, including four natural deaths, two suicides and two accidental deaths. The rest involved missing people, drugs, security breaches or other issues.
Passengers were victims in 108 assaults, 34 sexual assaults, 70 sexual contact incidents and 53 thefts. All but one of the deaths involved passengers.