Congress has cleared legislation that would set new safety standards for cruise ships.
By voice vote on June 30, the House sent the bill (HR 3360) to the president. It would require cruise ships to maintain a minimal level of safety and to fully report and investigate crimes. Under the bill, cruise ships carrying at least 250 passengers who board or disembark in the United States must meet specific standards, including deck rails, technology to detect if passengers fall overboard, and peepholes or other means of identification for staterooms. It would also require operators to log crimes that occur on board, quickly report serious crimes to the FBI, and offer medical and legal aid to sexual assault victims. Under current law, only cruise ships in an area subject to U.S. jurisdiction must report crimes to U.S. officials.
A cruise industry group, the Cruise Lines International Association, supports the bill.