Jurisdiction on Land

When you cross state lines, you know that you’re leaving one jurisdiction and entering another. Many signs and landmarks welcome you to the new area, and various maps can pinpoint you to the city and country that you are currently in. If you suffer from injury on land, you can quickly determine the jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction at Sea

Out at sea, however, it is not quite as cut and dry. In the ocean, it is easy to venture from one jurisdiction to another without even being aware of the shift. Sailing on international waters also creates an issue since it is not owned by any one country. Being on a cruise ship creates even more ambiguity because many ships are privately owned and registered in different countries while the parent company can be operating out of the United States.

Dangers of Being on a Cruise Ship

The seas can be just as dangerous — if not more dangerous — than the roads. Crime is still prevalent, and inclement weather conditions can cause individuals to suffer from various injuries. In the event of a storm, especially one lasting for multiple days, the cruise ship can travel across different countries’ territorial waters. Since there are often no signs or landmarks, individuals who suffer from injuries due to the storm may not be able to recall where the injury took place. Another cause for concern is crime. On cruise ships, there is no police present; therefore, it is harder to enforce rules, catch criminals, and maintain records.

Proposed Cruise Ship Injury Laws

If a cruise ship is registered in one country, with the company headquarters in another country, while it is passing through the territorial waters of a third country, who is at fault? In situations such as this, it is incredibly difficult to determine. That is why many individuals are seeking to establish more laws and guidelines for cruise ships. Currently, cruise ships are already required by international maritime law to do everything in their power to ensure the safety of their passengers, but in the event of crime or personal injury, many cases are still left unresolved due to the difficulty of determining jurisdiction.