Cruise-safety bill backed

Sunday, July 12, 2009 – Page updated at 12:00 AM

Los Angeles Times

The cruise-ship industry, in a turnaround from its long-standing position that no additional government oversight is needed, has endorsed proposed federal safety legislation, paving the way for increased safety measures on cruise ships.

If it passes, the bill would make shipboard crime-reporting mandatory and require installation of security latches and peepholes on cabin doors. Ship physicians would have to be trained in sexual-assault examinations.

A letter of support was sent to U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., one of the measure’s co-sponsors, by Terry Dale, president of the Cruise Lines International Association which which represents major cruise companies.

Dale said this past week he would work to ensure the passage of the comprehensive security bill.

Ken Carver, president and founder of International Cruise Victims, called the shift “a historic moment.”

For years, the $38 billion-a-year industry has maintained that cruises were one of the safest forms of vacationing and that self-regulation was adequate.

But in recent years, after a series of high-profile reports of missing persons and sexual assaults, cruise lines had become increasingly under scrutiny.

If the bill passes, it would be a significant victory for safety advocates, who have long claimed that the industry skirts regulation by registering its vessels in foreign countries to avoid U.S. labor laws and income tax.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

~ by fredfelleman on July 13, 2009.

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