Cruise Ship Passenger Protection Act
Senator Rich Blumenthal introduced the Cruise Ship Passenger Protection Act which would help consumers in a variety of ways. One of the most reported crimes according to federal data aboard cruise ships is sexual assault. In these cases, victims are left with cruise ship security to take their statements. Cruise ship security has a vested interest in downplaying, denying, or stalling the victims, taking poor reports, and not getting them the help they need immediately. The new legislation, which has yet to pass, would make it mandatory for government agencies to investigate these claims beyond what ship security provides, among other provisions.
Allegations against cruise ship security
The Senator makes mention of the fact that cruise lines often understaffed security personnel, fail to perform background checks on their employees, and keep awful records, some of which are lost mysteriously when lawsuits are filed. The same can be said of surveillance in public areas. Some of the cameras don’t work or the footage is overwritten by the time a plaintiff requires it during depositions. These factors hinder criminal investigations conducted by actual law enforcement officers and the cruise lines are held to such a low standard, there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
The new rules would raise the minimum standard for cruise lines in these cases, but our Florida government is very protective of the cruise industry and its liability issues.
Unsolved potential murder forces cruise ship reforms
In 2005, a 26-year-old passenger disappeared from a cruise. His family, seeking answers, reported the matter to the federal government. The FBI closed his case in 2015 without finding out what happened. To this day, his family is unsure of how their loved one died. The family lobbied for action to force cruise lines to provide better security for their passengers. This resulted in the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 which was the last major legislation aimed at protecting passengers aboard cruise vessels.
However, some, like Senator Blumenthal, don’t believe it goes far enough. Passengers still disappear from cruise vessels in “man overboard” situations, and families still struggle to find answers when they press the cruise line.
What would the new legislation do?
The new legislation would:
- Give federal agents the authority to investigate complaints aboard cruise ships including, but not limited, sexual assault and man-overboard situations
- Mandate security cameras in public spaces
- Force cruise lines to write their contracts in plain English as opposed to complex legalese
- Create a toll-free consumer complaint hotline to report injuries
Ultimately, the bill is about improving security aboard cruise ships. One of the most common complaints leveled against cruise lines is negligent security. So, it would give passengers a better means of reporting and preventing security issues that arise typically and uniquely aboard cruise ships.
Talk to a Cruise Ship Injury Attorney Today
If you have been injured aboard a cruise ship, Miami admiralty & maritime lawyer Michael F. Guilford can file your claim. Call our Miami office today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin discussing your next moves immediately.