Senate Committee Pushes for Cruise-Crime Rules
The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee plans to cruise ship security at a July hearing called by committee chairman Jay Rockefeller.
Rockefeller's bill, "The Cruise Passenger Protection Act," would publicly disclose all alleged crimes on cruise ships, require cruise lines to place video cameras in public areas, and direct the Transportation Department to establish an advocate to provide assistance to victims on board ships, says a report by Florida Today.
The trade group representing the industry, the Cruise Lines International Association, describes serious crime aboard ships as "very rare." The association also says cruise ships promptly report allegations of serious crimes to law enforcement agencies, says Florida Today.
"When an alleged crime is reported, cruise lines' security personnel follow procedures, developed in part by the FBI, to secure the crime scene and preserve evidence that will be investigated by law enforcement officials once they board a ship, according to the trade group. And all major North American cruise ship companies have policies in place to conduct background checks of employees hired to work on board their ships," says Florida Today.
In a report issued earlier this year, the Government Accountability Office said the industry and the federal agencies overseeing it have done a decent job implementing crime-reporting requirements. But the GAO also said allegations aren't published if there's no investigation, and crime data sometimes isn't posted for months due to the slow-moving criminal justice process.
Following pressure from Rockefeller and other lawmakers, several cruise lines voluntarily began disclosing alleged crime data on their web sites.