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New Bill Aims To Increase Reports Of Crimes And Injuries On Cruise Ships

Legislators have recently proposed the Cruise Passenger Protection Act, which asks that cruise lines publicly report all allegations of crimes or criminal injuries on ships. The Cruise Passenger Protection Act was brought to the table in July 2013. The purpose of the bill is to address the overwhelming reports of crimes and injuries on commercial vessels.

Some applicable laws already exist, such as Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010, which helps protect injured persons on cruise lines. However, this law only covers a small pool of serious crimes. Therefore, the proposed Act aims to take protection a step further.

What Types of Crimes will be Reported Under the Proposed Law?

Under the law, cruise lines would be responsible for reporting the following:

  • Missing persons.
  • Kidnappings.
  • Suspicious deaths.
  • Serious assaults, including sexual assault and rape.
  • Thefts over $10,000.

Due to limited crime reporting requirements, passengers have felt as though commercial ships are practically free game for harm. However, the new law would publicize such incidents.

Since the proposal, a few cruise lines are voluntarily posting numbers for 2013. For example, Norwegian has reported two incidents onboard its vessels for the first portion of the year. This includes one sexual assault. Other vessels have reported similar rates. Specifically, Royal Caribbean documented six reportable crimes over the last quarter.

The Cruise Passenger Protection Act would increase government oversight, in general. For example, a committee for travelers' protection and safety would be created, as well as a new director-level job in the Transportation Department. A person in that position would be the in-between for victims of cruise incidents and the government. The law would also permit homeland security to revoke the permission required to operate a commercial vessel if a company were to fail to report its crimes.

Moreover, the Department of Transportation would serve as the main contact for commercial vessels' protection and safety. Furthermore, the law would supply the federal government with the permission to look into complaints from consumers.

As passengers and legislators review the bill, so are cruise lines. In effect, the law would aim to ramp up criminal accountability on commercial vessels.

It will take some time before the status of the bill is uncovered. Nevertheless, harm against cruise line passengers is a serious issue. Current laws do address egregious incidents, but the proposal aims to include reporting for a wide variety of offenses.

If you have been a victim of a crime on a commercial vessel, the first step is to report the offense. Regardless, negligent parties should be held responsible for their careless actions. Cruise lines have a duty to keep ships safe. To learn more about your compensation rights as an injured party on a cruise ship, contact an experienced maritime attorney in your area. The law does provide existing protections and recovery rights.