As discussed in previous blog post Keeping Cruise Ship Passengers Safe, there are several safety measures in place today which were implemented by the cruise industry. Legislators have been reviewing the existing measures and believe there is room for improvement.
The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed legislation by Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) to increase security, law enforcement, and accountability on cruise ships in international waters.
Sen. Kerry is a senior member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which unanimously approved the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act in July 2009. Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) is the sponsor of companion legislation, H.R. 3360, which has already been passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act will:
- improve ship safety by requiring forty-two inch guard rails, peep holes in every passenger and crew member’s door, on-deck video surveillance, and an emergency sound system;
- provide transparency in reporting by establishing a structure between the cruise industry, the FBI, and the Coast Guard, including requirements that each ship maintain a log book, which would record all deaths, missing individuals, alleged crimes, and passenger/crewmember complaints regarding theft, sexual harassment, and assault;
- improve crime scene response by requiring rape kits, anti-retroviral medications, and a trained forensic sexual assault specialist be aboard each ship; and
- establish a program designed by the Secretary of Transportation in consultation with the FBI to train appropriate crew members in crime prevention, detection, evidence preservation, and reporting of criminal activities in the international maritime environment.
For more information, visit www.cruising.org or www.cruiseIndustryfacts.com.