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Proposal to Strengthen Cruise Passenger Safety Laws


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Just some interesting reading here. It's a proposal to strengthen cruise passenger safety laws. It's notable that the Brilliance of the Seas (George Smith) case is still being used as an example. Although I think Blumenthal's claim that cruise ships are "wild west" is a gross exaggeration.

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - Today, U.S. Senator RichardBlumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representative Jim Himes (D-CT) introduced theCruise Passenger Protection Act (CPPA) to strengthen passenger safety on cruiseships. The bicameral legislation was led by Blumenthal and U.S. Senator EdwardJ. Markey (D-MA) in the Senate and U.S. Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA),Ted Poe (R-TX) and Himes in the House of Representatives.

 

The CPPA would build on the passenger safety measuressigned into law in the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA). Thebill strengthens crime reporting and video surveillance requirements, improvesmedical standards, and holds cruise lines responsible for deaths at sea.

 

"Many cruise ships are the size of small towns - butwith few emergency services and no law enforcement, these vessels are more WildWest than Atlantis," said Blumenthal. "And when something goes wrongon a cruise ship, a dream vacation can quickly turn into a nightmare. Our legislationwill ensure that consumers know the risks associated with cruise ship travelbefore they buy a ticket; and if their rights are violated, this bill will helpensure that they have a place to seek recourse."

 

"Cruise ship safety strikes close to home inConnecticut's Fourth District," said Himes. "In 2005, a young manfrom Greenwich - George Smith IV - went missing while on his honeymoon cruisein the Mediterranean Sea. Since George disappeared, his family has foughttirelessly to improve safety on cruise ships and to protect cruise shippassengers. The fight continues today with the Cruise Passenger Protection Act.This bill bolsters current law with tighter crime reporting, expanded videosurveillance equipment and record-keeping requirements, and streamlined trackingand public reporting of alleged crimes on cruise ships. Safety improvementslike these will help prevent more avoidable tragedies."

 

Blumenthal has introduced the Cruise Passenger ProtectionAct in the previous two Congresses. Since the legislation was first introduced,he has also led efforts to ensure the public reporting of cruise line crimestatistics and results of safety checks. In 2015, Blumenthal successfullyamended the Coast Guard Reauthorization Bill to require the Coast Guard issue areport on the implementation of man-overboard technology by cruise lines.Despite its life-saving potential, cruise lines have been slow to implement thetechnology and secretive about their plans for doing so.

 

"With serious safety and health incidents continuingto occur on cruise ships every year, we need to put measures in place toprotect passengers who need medical services or become victims of crime,"said Markey. "I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting federallegislation that puts in places basic protections for the millions of Americanswho take cruises."

 

"Standards for victims' rights should be strongwhether on land or at sea," said Matsui. "The Cruise Vessel Securityand Safety Act made important progress in strengthening protections for passengers,but we have much more work to do. This legislation strengthens existingreporting laws and raises consumer protection standards, so families have thepeace of mind they deserve when they board a cruise ship. I am grateful to thevictims and their families who have come forward and continue to be essentialvoices in our work to improve cruise safety through legislative reform."

 

"When American citizens board a cruise ship, theyexpect a peaceful escape," said Poe. "But the reality is that crimedoes not disappear simply because people are on vacation. Unfortunately,American passengers sometimes go missing or become victims of sexual andphysical assault while sailing the high seas. The passage of the 2010 CruiseVessel Security and Safety Act took the first step in protecting the safety andsecurity of passengers. The Cruise Passenger Protection Act builds upon thisimportant law by implementing stronger requirements to protect victims of crimeand to hold their perpetrators accountable."

 

Specifically, the CPPA would:

.Ensure a cruise vessel owner notifies the FBI withinfour hours of an alleged incident.

.Ensure that if an alleged incident occurs while thevessel is still in a U.S. port, the FBI is notified before that vessel leavesthe port.

.Require vessel owners to also report an alleged offenseto the U.S. Consulate in the next port of call, if the alleged offense is by oragainst a U.S. national.

.Clarify that vessels must have video surveillanceequipment in all passenger common areas, and other areas, where there is noexpectation of privacy.

.Allow individuals access to video surveillance recordsfor civil action purposes.

.Mandate that all video records are kept for 30 daysafter completion of the voyage.

.Direct the Coast Guard to promulgate final standardswithin one year detailing requirements for the retention of video surveillancerecords.

.Require that the internet website of alleged crimes oncruise ships indicate whether the reported crimes were committed againstminors.

.Direct the Department of Transportation to conduct astudy determining the feasibility of having an individual charged with victimsupport services on board each passenger vessel.

.Require integration of technology that can both captureimages and detect when a passenger has fallen overboard.

.Create medical standards requiring that a qualifiedphysician and sufficient medical staff to be present and available forpassengers, crew members receive basic life support training, automateddefibrillators are accessible throughout the ship, and the initial safetybriefing includes important emergency medical and safety information.

.Ensure that should a U.S. passenger die aboard a vessel,his or her next of kin could request the vessel to return the deceased back tothe United States.

.Hold cruise lines responsible for deaths at sea byensuring families of victims are able to pursue fair compensation. This givescruise passengers the same rights as airline passengers.

Edited by Aquahound
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It's interesting that the George Smith cruise continues to resurface after 12 years. We were on this cruise and the way RCI handled it was not good. We were on the 7th floor 3 cabins over and 2 down from the Smith's 9th floor cabin and saw the blood on the awning. RCI was out there scrubbing it clean quickly.

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What about people who commit suicide? Why would the cruiselines be liable for that?

 

I'm not sure how liable they would be in a suicide case...that would be a case by case basis. But the rules would be more strict on how and when they notify the FBI, USCG or other competent authority, and how they preserve evidence (video, etc) of the incident for authorities to review.

 

You'd think this shouldn't be an issue, but you'd be surprised how bad some lines are at making notifications.

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If you read your CRUISE CONTRACT...it states all of the "proposed" stuff. You are ON YOUR OWN when you cruise. The cruise lines have it signed, sealed and delivered. More "legislation" will not make anyone "safer"...or wiser. It will simply add to the cost of your vacation.

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It seemed to me that the proposals deal more with after the fact than anything that actually prevents crime.

Sounds like lip service to the Smith family. These proposals don't do anything to protect cruisers from their poor choices and personal irresponsibility.

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It seemed to me that the proposals deal more with after the fact than anything that actually prevents crime.

Sounds like lip service to the Smith family. These proposals don't do anything to protect cruisers from their poor choices and personal irresponsibility.

 

I agree. Looks like more after-the-fact proposals than anything.

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Oh, it will go somewhere, it will pass and congress will pat themselves on the back.

 

Of course it will only effect US flagged vessels. The US can't legislate to foreign flagged ships. The article states as much in this snippet:

 

"In 2015, Blumenthal successfully amended the Coast Guard Reauthorization Bill to require the Coast Guard issue a report on the implementation of man-overboard technology by cruise lines. Despite its life-saving potential, cruise lines have been slow to implement the technology and secretive about their plans for doing so."

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Here's an update on this story: The bill has now been forwarded to committees in both chambers (HR2173 & S965). In a statement to us, the Cruise Lines International Association says the legislation is "unjustified and unnecessary." CLIA cites "a nearly 90 percent customer satisfaction rate and nearly 70 percent repeat customer rate."

 

The U.S. Coast Guard has investigated 80 passenger deaths in the past four years.

 

More on the legislation in both the House and Senate in our story here.

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Just some interesting reading here. It's a proposal to strengthen cruise passenger safety laws. It's notable that the Brilliance of the Seas (George Smith) case is still being used as an example. Although I think Blumenthal's claim that cruise ships are "wild west" is a gross exaggeration.

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - Today, U.S. Senator RichardBlumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representative Jim Himes (D-CT) introduced theCruise Passenger Protection Act (CPPA) to strengthen passenger safety on cruiseships. The bicameral legislation was led by Blumenthal and U.S. Senator EdwardJ. Markey (D-MA) in the Senate and U.S. Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA),Ted Poe (R-TX) and Himes in the House of Representatives.

 

The CPPA would build on the passenger safety measuressigned into law in the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA). Thebill strengthens crime reporting and video surveillance requirements, improvesmedical standards, and holds cruise lines responsible for deaths at sea.

 

"Many cruise ships are the size of small towns - butwith few emergency services and no law enforcement, these vessels are more WildWest than Atlantis," said Blumenthal. "And when something goes wrongon a cruise ship, a dream vacation can quickly turn into a nightmare. Our legislationwill ensure that consumers know the risks associated with cruise ship travelbefore they buy a ticket; and if their rights are violated, this bill will helpensure that they have a place to seek recourse."

 

"Cruise ship safety strikes close to home inConnecticut's Fourth District," said Himes. "In 2005, a young manfrom Greenwich - George Smith IV - went missing while on his honeymoon cruisein the Mediterranean Sea. Since George disappeared, his family has foughttirelessly to improve safety on cruise ships and to protect cruise shippassengers. The fight continues today with the Cruise Passenger Protection Act.This bill bolsters current law with tighter crime reporting, expanded videosurveillance equipment and record-keeping requirements, and streamlined trackingand public reporting of alleged crimes on cruise ships. Safety improvementslike these will help prevent more avoidable tragedies."

 

Blumenthal has introduced the Cruise Passenger ProtectionAct in the previous two Congresses. Since the legislation was first introduced,he has also led efforts to ensure the public reporting of cruise line crimestatistics and results of safety checks. In 2015, Blumenthal successfullyamended the Coast Guard Reauthorization Bill to require the Coast Guard issue areport on the implementation of man-overboard technology by cruise lines.Despite its life-saving potential, cruise lines have been slow to implement thetechnology and secretive about their plans for doing so.

 

"With serious safety and health incidents continuingto occur on cruise ships every year, we need to put measures in place toprotect passengers who need medical services or become victims of crime,"said Markey. "I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting federallegislation that puts in places basic protections for the millions of Americanswho take cruises."

 

"Standards for victims' rights should be strongwhether on land or at sea," said Matsui. "The Cruise Vessel Securityand Safety Act made important progress in strengthening protections for passengers,but we have much more work to do. This legislation strengthens existingreporting laws and raises consumer protection standards, so families have thepeace of mind they deserve when they board a cruise ship. I am grateful to thevictims and their families who have come forward and continue to be essentialvoices in our work to improve cruise safety through legislative reform."

 

"When American citizens board a cruise ship, theyexpect a peaceful escape," said Poe. "But the reality is that crimedoes not disappear simply because people are on vacation. Unfortunately,American passengers sometimes go missing or become victims of sexual andphysical assault while sailing the high seas. The passage of the 2010 CruiseVessel Security and Safety Act took the first step in protecting the safety andsecurity of passengers. The Cruise Passenger Protection Act builds upon thisimportant law by implementing stronger requirements to protect victims of crimeand to hold their perpetrators accountable."

 

Specifically, the CPPA would:

.Ensure a cruise vessel owner notifies the FBI withinfour hours of an alleged incident.

.Ensure that if an alleged incident occurs while thevessel is still in a U.S. port, the FBI is notified before that vessel leavesthe port.

.Require vessel owners to also report an alleged offenseto the U.S. Consulate in the next port of call, if the alleged offense is by oragainst a U.S. national.

.Clarify that vessels must have video surveillanceequipment in all passenger common areas, and other areas, where there is noexpectation of privacy.

.Allow individuals access to video surveillance recordsfor civil action purposes.

.Mandate that all video records are kept for 30 daysafter completion of the voyage.

.Direct the Coast Guard to promulgate final standardswithin one year detailing requirements for the retention of video surveillancerecords.

.Require that the internet website of alleged crimes oncruise ships indicate whether the reported crimes were committed againstminors.

.Direct the Department of Transportation to conduct astudy determining the feasibility of having an individual charged with victimsupport services on board each passenger vessel.

.Require integration of technology that can both captureimages and detect when a passenger has fallen overboard.

.Create medical standards requiring that a qualifiedphysician and sufficient medical staff to be present and available forpassengers, crew members receive basic life support training, automateddefibrillators are accessible throughout the ship, and the initial safetybriefing includes important emergency medical and safety information.

.Ensure that should a U.S. passenger die aboard a vessel,his or her next of kin could request the vessel to return the deceased back tothe United States.

.Hold cruise lines responsible for deaths at sea byensuring families of victims are able to pursue fair compensation. This givescruise passengers the same rights as airline passengers.

 

 

Isn't this the same Blumenthal that was running on his Vietnam record, until he was outed. What a clown.

 

Maybe someone can confirm if the "Smith" case the Medit. itinerary and the rumor of Russian Paxs from Brooklyn that did him in for his casino winnings. Also, security could not find his wife who supposedly was drunk in some hallway. There was a story in Vanity Fair, that this fellow was so drunk and he loved to smoke cigars and was smoking a stogey while sitting on his balcony ledge. How would this law affect the industry if they simply jump!

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.Ensure that should a U.S. passenger die aboard a vessel, his or her next of kin could request the vessel to return the deceased back to the United States.

Presumably, this would mean at such time when the cruise returns to the US after completing its itinerary, not immediately turning around after the incident.

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  • 2 months later...

If passed, the Act would render exculpatory clauses of cruise contracts null and void. (That is what legislation like this does.)

 

This is an example of the assertion of extraterritorial jurisdiction. There are some folks who don't believe that it exists and is legitimate, but they are mistaken. I'm not sure the legislation goes far enough to truly active much good for passengers, but in times like these any victory is a triumph.

 

This message may have been entered via voice recognition. Please excuse any typos.

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Over regulation at its best. Think what this would do to your cruise. Don't you enjoy excursions in Foreign places without all the Regulations the US has. The old Natural Bridge in Aruba before its collapse. Could you ever see anything like this where today you could walk across something like the Natural Bridge unrestricted?? What if Maho Beach was in the US? How close do you think you could get to that beach in the US? Think about it..... Not to mention it would drive Cruise prices up. Regulation creates Regulators and Regulating organizations.

 

 

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Over regulation at its best. Think what this would do to your cruise. Don't you enjoy excursions in Foreign places without all the Regulations the US has. The old Natural Bridge in Aruba before its collapse. Could you ever see anything like this where today you could walk across something like the Natural Bridge unrestricted?? What if Maho Beach was in the US? How close do you think you could get to that beach in the US? Think about it..... Not to mention it would drive Cruise prices up. Regulation creates Regulators and Regulating organizations.

 

 

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I made that comment while we were climbing Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica for the first time years ago.

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Here's an update on this story: The bill has now been forwarded to committees in both chambers (HR2173 & S965). In a statement to us, the Cruise Lines International Association says the legislation is "unjustified and unnecessary." CLIA cites "a nearly 90 percent customer satisfaction rate and nearly 70 percent repeat customer rate."

 

The U.S. Coast Guard has investigated 80 passenger deaths in the past four years.

 

More on the legislation in both the House and Senate in our story here.

 

I would hazard to guess that most passenger deaths aboard the ship are suicides based on the stories reported. 80 over 4 years on a lot of cruise ships is really a very small number. I do wonder if Blumenthal has ever been on a cruise and has any idea what he is talking about. I know his staff put this together but still it seems like it's about trying to assuage the public. No one really knows what happened to George Smith except that he went overboard and there was blood. We've seen too many reports of alcohol being involved in accidents onboard and not sure how you get around that. Personal responsibility can't be legislated.

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