Background Checks: Who's Working on Your Cruise Ship?

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#2
Southern California
35,749 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Unfortunately no matter what, there is always someone or something that slips through the cracks. Even the police, FBI and CIA end up with a bad apple or two everyone once in a while. No system is perfect. That is why it it important to have back ups and reviews.
#3
Vancouver, B.C.
1,772 Posts
Joined Nov 2001
In my place of employment, our lifeguards have to get criminal record checks every five years-this would eventually catch someone who had a clean record from their original country, but had a conviction in another country.
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#4
Montana/Oregon
7,095 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Because offenders seek out places they can offend, childcare and spa care, on land and sea, would be natural places for them to seek employ. Having layers of entities in charge of different operations creates added confusion in screening I would guess...unfortunatey diligent improvemant has to happen in that process...because of growng problem in society.

The best thing that is happening is ending any stigma and/or hushing about a problem. I applaud CC and Carnival for making it public knowledge..and creating this discussion forum. People do not like to think of or be anywhere near this subject when planning a vacation..but it is a big societal problem..no secrets is huge part of the cure. Asking how can we screan this better and open discussions such as this leads us down the road to improvment in the ratios on these sad crimes. Thanks CC for this thread discussion. sjn911
#5
MB, Canada
11,100 Posts
Joined Jun 2002
One of the reverse problems is the innocence being mistaken for a bad apple. This happened to me once while I was in the Military. I had the same name and general description of a person who had murdered someone. I was taking a flight back from Las Vegas when I got stopped at the ticket counter and was asked to accompany an FBI agent. Once we were in the Security Room they asked several questions about NY. I had not been there in a couple of years. Long story short they finally confirmed that I was not the person they thought I was and I was released 24 hours later. Canada and US had been involved as the person was dual citizen. I missed my flight but they booked me on the next available and I got first class.

As stated they do hire people who may have had a history but believe that they were reformed or that this job would keep them away form it. As for a crook like this last one his name could have been inputted in improperly at either end for the longest time. A slight misspelling and a person could go undetected. With the more modern passport and facial recognition this will be harder to fool.
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#7
Towson, MD
254 Posts
Joined May 2007
The key phrase, I think is this one:

He "had a "clean and perfect" background check from his home country when Steiner hired him."

They only checked with his HOME COUNTRY. And they think this answers the question of ensuring passenger safety.

The assault occurred somewhere else, because he'd been staying somewhere else. Given cruise lines are INTERNATIONAL companies, you'd think they might consider looking in more than one country.

Here's an idea - how 'bout if the background check included a warrants search for every country that put a stamp in the applicant's passport?
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David
Baltimore, MD

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#8
336 Posts
Joined Jun 2010
As someone who has worked on a number of security issues it is easy to find ones self with a false sense of security. No system is fool proof, there are always those who pass their security check because they simply haven't been caught or systems have not been updated properly. The important message is that each person must take responsibility for their own security, a ship is no different. You need to be aware of your surroundings at all time, treat your stateroom as your home, do not leave valuables out in plain view. While everyone does their very best to minimize the risk, people will always slip through the cracks.

The reality is that many of the workers on board ship come from third world countries that do not have systems of back ground checks. We are all responsible for security while on a cruise ship, we are responsible to report suspecious activity, just like in the airport, on the plane or walking down our local street. If everyone on a ship is a good neighbour we will all have a great and enjoyable vacation
#9
Suburban Washington, DC (Maryland)
256 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
As an HR professional, it is common for people like this to slip through the cracks. While our Company performs CBI's; Fingerprinting and in many cases require security clearances in order to work; some positions do not require a "re-investigation" after the employee is hired and in this case, this worker apparently committed this crime while employed with Carnival. So, for him to go many years undetected is very common and does not mean that the company itself has relaxed its policies or does not complete a thorough background investigation. It simply means that large companies as Carnival and Royal Caribbean may have to start “re-investigating” employees backgrounds every so often.

I will however say this; it is extremely expensive to perform background investigations for one person at the onset of employment, roughly about $2,500 – $5,000, so to have to “re-investigate” would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and especially when you have thousands of employees, and to not only check backgrounds in the country of residence, but also the countries that they have visited…how do you really do that? It’s to say the least, very difficult and super expensive. My company on average spends about $4M a year for 700 employees so, for 20,000 employees (on the smaller lines) you are talking easily double digit millions.

I say all this to say, if asked, do I feel safe on a ship knowing I have valuables in my room and the possibility that a criminal could be working for the cruise line I am on? I would have to say yes, I do. It’s no difference then me staying at a five-star luxury hotel anywhere in the world!
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#10
Utah via North Dakota
678 Posts
Joined Jun 2000
As a frequent cruiser who also happens to be a career police officer (now retired) in a metropolitan area, it is in my nature to take a look at security onboard the ships we cruise on. To be perfectly honest, I have generally found security sorely lacking in most instances. While I'm sure the security guards onboard get training, that training is superficial at best. For the most part, security personnel are not equipped or trained to handle many of the situations that might occur on a cruise ship.

I have often wondered what kind of background checks are done on many of the crew hired to work on these ships. As most people know, a majority of the crew comes from third world countries, countries that in all likelihood do not have the level of sophistication that the United States has when it comes to performing background checks and criminal histories on potential hires. It would not surprise me in the least to learn that a wanted individual could get through the screening process and be hired. Sorry folks, but I have always questioned the adequacy and training of security personnel and have always questioned where the cruise lines dig up some of the people they hire.
#11
Folsom, CA, USA
1,264 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
This has always been a huge concern for my DW and myself. How many times have we read a passanger's review that something had turned up missing from the cabin while they were on an excursion? We are not immune to criminal activities no matter where we are or where we travel.

Our practice is, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!" We all need to take necessary precautions whether we're at home or abroad. That said, I do not let those concerns keep me locked up in my house. A certain amount of risk is involved in every decision we make...the important thing is to do all that we can to protect ourselves and not depend soley on others to do it for us.
Happy Cruising,

dtracker
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#12
Birmingham
284 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
We never bring valuables or anything we wouldn't want lost or stolen when we cruise or vacation. I guess it is better to be safe than sorry. I think anywhere you go you have to be diligent about your safety. It would be great to leave all your worries at home, but unfortunately in this day and time you have to always be careful.
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#13
693 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
From reading about this particular occurance the person involved was apparently not registered on any national or state criminal database just the local police database. Once the Fremont police put his details into the system he was found within days/weeks. As this took nearly 8 years he does not appear to be at the top of their "most wanted" list?
#14
Englewood, FL, USA
3,512 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
As a member of the profession, it dismays me how often petty passenger grievances over missed ports etc. (that no lawyer would lay a serious touch to with a long pole) prompt lawyer bashing by CC members.

Then an article like this emerges - basically accused sex offender on board as staff - for years! And let's acknowledge well documented periodic - regular over time - staff on pax assaults, other serious premises injury cases aside. Yet during psychic vacationing CC posters blithly and uniformly condemn attorneys advocating these serious issues for claimants...

I'm not a 'tort' lawyer. But as my old 'Torts' professor back in the '80's said. "Torts is the body of law whereby societal risks of injury are economically allocated." Certainly, generally speaking, placing the economic risks of intentional and unintentional passenger injury on the higly profitable industry serving those passengers is appropriate.

CC posters regularly grouse about the meager nature of OBc credits and other offers by the lines (for the little stuff). Rest assured, the bigger the claim, the tighter the fist of these businesses. Neither the lines (nor their insurers) will write a significant check without a heaveyweight fight - regardless of the underlying facts.

I love cruising; but when CC members bicker about adequate or inadequate cruise line response to little claims members often get into emotive debate over 'the glass is half empty' 'the glass is half full'. Just remember if your damages are REAL and the claim is BIG, the cruiseline position is 'It's OUR glass!'
#16
736 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
We always try and use common sense caution whenever we travel, whether it be a cruise or any other instance like hotels.
Yes I am fairly sure there are background checks to some extent for cruise line jobs. However they are probably of the least stringent type (cheapest).
Like it has been said, no system is going to be foolproof. There is a lot of unreported crime that goes on in the travel industry as well. Resorts, cruise ships, hotels. We as travelers have to be diligent and always check into every aspect of our trip as much as we can. Checking up on our children often when they are in the care of someone else, letting them know we are going to be asking our kids questions about their experiences and beforehand talking to our kids making sure the door to communication stays open with them and that they feel confident to always tell you what is going on no matter who tells them not to.
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#17
13 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
I did not like this article and I do not like these replies to the article about how so many people are against others. Yes sometimes things happen in life and people get into trouble, but we are way too quick in society to label people because of it. If someone has an incident on their record, does it really mean they shouldn't be able to get a job anywhere, doing anything, because that means they will always be a criminal? No it doesn't. Law is a grey area and just because a person is put in a bad position once doesnt mean they will always be a bad person and does not mean they should be labelled that way. I am so disappointed in you people. And dont think you are above and beyond anyone else who has had a brush with the law- you never think you would be in that type of situation until it happens.
#18
13 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Originally posted by rickcop44
As a frequent cruiser who also happens to be a career police officer (now retired) in a metropolitan area, it is in my nature to take a look at security onboard the ships we cruise on. To be perfectly honest, I have generally found security sorely lacking in most instances. While I'm sure the security guards onboard get training, that training is superficial at best. For the most part, security personnel are not equipped or trained to handle many of the situations that might occur on a cruise ship.

I have often wondered what kind of background checks are done on many of the crew hired to work on these ships. As most people know, a majority of the crew comes from third world countries, countries that in all likelihood do not have the level of sophistication that the United States has when it comes to performing background checks and criminal histories on potential hires. It would not surprise me in the least to learn that a wanted individual could get through the screening process and be hired. Sorry folks, but I have always questioned the adequacy and training of security personnel and have always questioned where the cruise lines dig up some of the people they hire.
I wonder what you have in your past, if you're so interested in other people's pasts. Even if you don't have a criminal record sir, that does nto mean you are a shining example of morality and goodness. In fast, the most righteous people are often the sleaziest bastards behind closed doors and where people can't tell.
#19
706 Posts
Joined May 2010
Criminals should be given a second chance. Maybe they are penitent
and sorry for what they did, and want to redeem themselves, if no one hires them, they have nothing else to do but to go back being criminals. How can you be sure that
someone with a clean record, working on a cruise now, won't commit a
crime in the future? So, what, treat them all as possible future
criminals?
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#20
Vancouver
4 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
FWIW I appreciate the post from a career law enforcement officer, based as it is on his many years of experience. He is as entitled to his opinion as you are, though he expresses it civilly, which is more than can be said for you...