Important Cruise Passenger Safety Provision Signed Into Law

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Washington, DC, December 19, 2014 | comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 19, 2014        

CONTACT: JONELLE TRIMMER
(202) 225-7163

Important Cruise Passenger Safety Provision Signed Into Law

Bill includes language from Rep. Matsui’s Cruise Passenger Protection Act requiring improvements to crime statistics website

The President signed into law this week a Coast Guard reauthorization bill that includes a key provision ensuring the public has access to important safety information they need prior to booking a cruise.  This provision was one of several cruise passenger safety provisions included in legislation Congresswoman Matsui introduced last year, the Cruise Passenger Protection Act (CPPA).

The bill language transfers the responsibility for maintaining the cruise vessel crime data website from the Coast Guard to the Department of Transportation and requires a number of changes to ensure the website is user-friendly and includes all important data.  Specifically, it requires the website to be updated quarterly and sorted by cruise line.  The website will be required to identify each cruise line by name, identify each crime committed or allegedly committed by a passenger or crewmember regardless of the status of the investigation, and identify the number of individuals alleged overboard.

“This is an important victory for cruise safety advocates and for the millions of Americans who have taken a cruise or are considering one in the future.  While cruise ships are billed as safe, family-friendly vacations, the reality is that crime happens onboard these ships just as it does anyplace else,” said Congresswoman Matsui.  “This key provision from the Cruise Passenger Protection Act will ensure that anyone considering a cruise can easily view a more accurate number of crimes that occurred on each cruise line, and the nature of the crime.  This is a huge step forward toward transparency and ensuring the safety of cruise passengers.”

“The members of ICV are deeply indebted to the many members of the House and Senate who have been dedicated to the protection of cruise ship passengers. The Coast Guard Reauthorization Act will help to bolster and strengthen the existing CVSSA which Congresswoman Matsui authored in 2010 by increasing the public’s awareness through the quarterly publication of additional safety information and crime data. All of the victims of cruise ship crime and negligence who for years, have taken their impassioned stories to Congress can breathe a bit easier thanks to the unwavering support of Congress Members such as Congresswoman Matsui and Congressman Poe who like us believed in the irrefutable rightness of this cause. We are indeed grateful on this historic day,” said Kendall Carver, chairman of the International Cruise Victims Association (ICV).

Congresswoman Matsui is a long-time advocate for improving safety and security aboard cruise vessels.  She authored the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA), bipartisan legislation that was signed into law in 2010, requiring the cruise industry to comply with a number of security and crime reporting provisions.  Last year, she introduced the CPPA, legislation which would build on the passenger safety measures put in place by the CVSSA by clarifying and strengthening the crime reporting and video surveillance requirements.  In addition to requiring the website improvements passed today, this legislation bolsters FBI notification requirements when an alleged incident occurs, and strengthens video surveillance requirements to ensure maximum protection for passengers and victims, while taking steps to avoid privacy concerns.

“The signing of this law is an important step for ensuring the safety of cruise passengers, but it is just a step.  I will be reintroducing the Cruise Passenger Protection Act next Congress to ensure we continue to build upon the security and safety measures aboard our cruise ships, that consumers have access to accurate information, and that victims are given the support and resources they need and deserve,” added Matsui.

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