Phoenix dad's loss, fight leads to new federal law for cruise lines

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
Merrian Carver went missing while on a cruise to Alaska in 2004. By Catherine Holland Merrian Carver went missing while on a cruise to Alaska in 2004. By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Ken Carver is experiencing a bittersweet victory. After a decade of trying to get cruise lines to publicly report more crime information, he will see a new federal law designed to do just that take effect in 2015.

It's a fight he would have never faced if he hadn't lost his oldest daughter, Merrian Carver, in 2004. She went missing while on a cruise to Alaska.

Carver said the family spent months and $75,000 to hire attorneys and private investigators to subpoena the steward who reported his daughter's disappearance.

"His boss said, 'Just forget it and do your job,'" Carver said. "At the end of the cruise they took her belongings and got rid of them but they didn't call anybody and didn't do anything."

The new law will require cruise lines to make public all crime reports, no matter the status of the investigation. Currently, only crimes that are no longer being investigated by the FBI are tracked. The new reporting will be compiled quarterly on a Department of Transportation website.

"It's a huge step forward," Carver said. "It feels like we've accomplished something."

He will spend the new year making sure cruise lines are reporting all crimes and the website is properly displaying the information.

While he's happy with the new law, Carver says it is limited to U.S. citizens who report crimes on U.S. cruises. He'd like to see a worldwide requirement.

For more information, visit InternationalCruiseVictims.org.