Cruise lines may want to look into doing more to ensure safety among passengers.
Cruise liners are considered one of the most luxurious ways to vacation, but do passengers know how the staff on these ships are screened before they are hired?
Based on reports from Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of Virginia and maritime attorney Jim Walker, there are serious questions about whether the industry's standards for pre-employment screening are adequate. Part of this is due to the fact that many crew members are not from the United States, which makes it difficult to conduct background checks.
Currently, the cruise line industry relies on third-party human resources specialists, applicants who were able to obtain a crew member visa or alleged crime-free certificates from their host country, MarketWatch reported. While some of these methods require interviews with their country's embassy or consulate, it may not be enough.
"There are no U.S. human resource specialists involved. It's a random, unsophisticated, "hit-or-miss" task conducted (or not) by hiring agents far-far-away who make money when they place people from around the world on U.S. based cruise ships," Walker wrote on his blog on maritime law.
Attention on this industry-wide problem rose when a Holland America cruise ship worker allegedly tried to throw off a passenger on Valentine's Day. The alleged victim had to be airlifted to a hospital in Florida. However, the issue with cruise line businesses goes beyond this incident. Out of 959 crimes sent to the FBI, only 31 cases were publicly reported, Senator Rockefeller wrote in his report on cruise crimes.
"The number of alleged crimes cruise lines reported to the FBI—including crimes reported voluntarily by cruise lines—is 30 times higher than the number of alleged crimes reported publicly," he wrote.
Every day, hundreds of cruise ships travel international waters. There may not be a police force that can protect all travelers from these situations, but excellent human resources practices can help. American cruise businesses may want to consider using HR software solutions to pre-screen employees. This way, HR departments can thoroughly vet prospective hires and identify trends among applicants.