Severe cruise ship safety incidents will not be restricted to sexual assaults. “Man overboard” incidents, robberies and even murders have lengthy been a actuality of those voyages. A tragic instance issues 26-year-old George Smith IV of Greenwich, Connecticut, who disappeared from a cruise in 2005. 2015, the FBI closes the Smith case, and his household could by no means have solutions about what occurred. The Smith household bravely turned their grief into motion, working intently with Congress to safe passage of the Cruise Ship Security and Safety Act of 2010 – the most recent main reform to the cruise business. The laws has made important progress in bettering passenger security on cruise ships, however additional measures are desperately wanted.
I've led efforts to additional reform cruise traces within the Senate since 2013 with the Cruise Passenger Safety Act, and I'm proud to work on this effort with Rep. Doris Matsui of California. This invoice would implement extra security requirements for passengers and reporting necessities for cruise traces, making certain customers have satisfactory details about their rights earlier than a visit and a way of recourse if one thing goes incorrect.
My measure would require cruise traces to retain video footage of any alleged crime for one yr in order that investigators and victims have extra time to entry footage that could be wanted to hunt justice. It could additionally require cruise traces to specify whether or not crimes, together with sexual assault, have been dedicated towards minors. To strengthen legislation enforcement, the invoice would improve the penalties cruise traces face for violating the legislation.
My Cruise Passenger Safety Act would additionally considerably strengthen assist for victims. It could require cruise traces to obviously inform passengers of the statute of limitations for submitting a lawsuit and set up a Director of Sufferer Providers throughout the U.S. Division of Transportation to liaise with victims of cruise ships. cruise and develop incident administration procedures.
Since I led this measure, lots of its security and well being provisions have been handed by Congress. These provisions impose necessities on cruise passengers, such because the set up of video cameras in frequent areas and the retention of surveillance recordings for 20 days, the set up of “man overboard” imaging expertise and the assure that ships have simply accessible automated exterior defibrillators. Whereas these insurance policies now in impact are an necessary step ahead, the excellent Cruise Passenger Safety Act have to be handed to deal with ongoing points on cruise ships and to guard all passengers on board.
The cruise business has fiercely fought this laws, saying its necessities are “pointless”. Because the BuzzFeed Information investigation makes clear, they're disputed by specialists, legal professionals, victims and their households. The braveness of those that converse out will assist us cross my Cruise Passenger Safety Act. I hope the cruise business will assist these necessary reforms, which is able to solely enhance their journeys for customers. Strict security requirements and actual enforcement will assist defend passengers and maintain the cruise business accountable.
Richard Blumenthal is Connecticut's senior senator.