Potential cruise passengers worried by recent norovirus outbreaks or tragedies like Costa Concordia’s capsizing in 2012 now have more reasons to wince about health and safety hazards on their next voyage, thanks to ProPublica’s new Cruise Control tool.
The tool provides specific data for each section (staterooms, kitchen, decks, etc) of about 300 of the world’s cruise ships, ranging from health scores that have been assigned to each ship by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to records of illness outbreaks and serious crimes. Data is available for ships making port in the U.S. from 2010 and on.
The tool’s introduction includes a brief primer about how cruise ships essentially function with their own set of laws and also reveal details about crew labor conditions.
“I think most people, even those that take cruises often, aren’t always aware of the risks involved (from illness outbreaks to crimes and accidents) and how passenger rights change at sea,” said Lena Groeger, the tool’s lead developer. “We’re hoping this app both gives them a new perspective on taking a cruise, as well as a resource to check the record of any ship that they might decide to vacation on.”
Some statistics Groeger’s analysis found that are available in Cruise Control:
- In 2014 some 1,700 passengers and crew members fell sick from gastrointestinal illnesses like norovirus
- Since 2012 at least seven children have drowned or nearly drowned in cruise ship pools that rarely have full-time lifeguards
- Since 2011, cruise lines have reported 959 alleged crimes to the FBI, while the U.S. Coast Guard reported only 31 alleged crimes publicly as required by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010