On June 29, 2017 the U.S. Senate took up bill S.1502, otherwise known as the Cruise Passenger Protection Act of 2017. For the better part of the last decade we have been blogging about the dangers of cruise ship travel, which counts sexual assault as its most often reported crime. The U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation in April which is aimed at making cruise ships safer for passengers.
The bill was introduced to the Senate by Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey, both Democrats.
Some of the features of the bill can be found on this website, and include:
- “The bill requires that the time for filing passenger claims against the owner of a cruise vessel must be at least three years, in contrast to the one-year and two-year current legal limitations now in most passenger tickets.”
- “The bill further requires that DOT determine which elements of the current Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) "Passenger Bill of Rights" are legally enforceable, with a requirement that the cruise lines must disclose to passengers how they may obtain legal relief.”
- “The bill also provides for a federal Advisory Committee, enhanced procedures for prompt reporting of shipboard incidents to law enforcement officials, federal support for shipboard crime victims (including assistance on how to pursue claims), on-board video surveillance, certain shipboard crime prevention devices (e.g., passenger cabin door peepholes), detailed requirements for on-board medical staff and crew lifesaving training, medical assistance to sexual assault victims, on-board "sea marshals" certified by and under jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard, and creation of a publicly accessible incident database….”
Cruise ship passengers lack many basic protections and it is time that the nation’s lawmakers act to fix the situation.