U.S. Cruise Industry Rethinks Proposed Federal Safety Legislation

The cruise ship industry in the U.S. supported proposed federal safety legislation Monday, a shift in its position that no additional government oversight is needed. The bill would provide cruise ships with heightened security.

If the bill passes, it will make reporting crime aboard ships mandatory and require ships to install security latches and peepholes in cabin doors. Along with the added security precautions, ship physicians would also have to be trained in sexual assault examinations.

The bill will also create a reporting method based on the voluntary reporting guidelines currently used by cruise lines.

Each ship would be required to maintain a logbook to record all deaths, missing persons, alleged crimes, and complaints of theft, sexual harassment and assault. The information would then be posted on a website maintained by the Coast Guard.

Ken Carver, president and founder of International Cruise Victims, called the shift a "historic moment” and added that with the cruise industry’s backing, the bill will pass, according to latimes.com.

Although the cruise industry stands firmly on the safety of its ships and its own security, recent incidents of missing persons and sexual assaults offer contrary information, making many question cruise lines' security.

In changing views on the bill, the industry requested the deletion of an amendment to the Death of the High Seas Act that would allow surviving relatives to recover damages for emotional suffering as well as any pain and suffering the victim may have experienced before death.

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