Who Regulates the Cruise Line Industry?

If you’ve suffered harm in a cruise ship accident due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another, then you may be entitled to significant damages as compensation for your losses, whether you’re a passenger, bystander, or employee of the cruise line. As you contemplate a cruise ship injury lawsuit, however, you may be wondering about the industry at-large and applicable regulation. Certainly, the landscape of cruise ship regulation can be rather confusing for a plaintiff who does not work in the industry, so let’s briefly clarify.

International Regulatory Bodies

The cruise ship industry is regulated by a number of large organizations, including but not limited to the:

  • International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency that sets standards for cruise ship safety, security, employment protections, and environmental practices.
  • International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency that governs employment conditions and overall work safety aboard vessels.
  • Cruise Lines International Association, a global trade organization (of which most major cruise lines are a member) that lobbies international regulatory bodies and national and local governments to change cruise ship industry regulation in a manner that is more favorable to the cruise lines.
  • And more

Though not all, most cruise ships travel through international waters, and as such, are subject to international regulations and standards.

Local Regulation

Cruise ships are also subject to the regulations of any country/locality where they pull into port or travel through costal territorial waters. For example, if a cruise ship that departed from southwest Florida is stopping in Jamaica overnight, it will be subject to the cruise ship regulations imposed by Jamaica (as well as Florida law, and federal US law) depending upon when a shipboard incident occurs.

It’s worth noting, also, that the “flag” of the ship, and the provisions of the cruise ship passenger contract, may govern the applicable local law. Many cruise ships are flagged in countries with less strict maritime regulation schemes, for example, such as Panama or Antigua. Further, the cruise line may include a provision in the contract requiring that any injury claims brought by passengers be litigated in a venue selected by the cruise line in what is commonly referred to as a “Forum Selection Clause”.

If you’ve been injured in a cruise ship accident, then your attorney will work tirelessly to ensure that your claims are being litigated under the regulatory scheme that is most favorable to your case, to the degree that doing so is possible. We encourage you to contact one of the attorneys at Brais Law Firm to discuss the underlying legal issues and factual concerns relating to your claims. Bringing an injury claim against a cruise line isn’t always straightforward, however, particularly in situations where the defendant challenges you over the correct venue for the dispute. We can help.

Contact Brais Law Firm to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

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