Matsui and Poe:
New Cruise Bill

| 07.23.13

The Cruise Passenger Protection Act to strengthen crime reporting and video surveillance requirements

This Bill was introduced just in time for today's Hearing

On the same day as Senator Jay Rockefeller is holding a hearing on cruise safety, two representatives from other states have introduced legislation of their own. Representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Ted Poe (R-TX), members of the Congressional Victim's Rights Caucus, introduced bipartisan legislation today meant to increase the safety and security of cruise ships for passengers. The Cruise Passenger Protection Act (CPPA) would build upon the security measures implemented by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 (CVSSA) by toughening the crime reporting and video surveillance requirements.

"In 2010 our legislation, the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, was signed into law by President Obama. This legislation put in place critical protections for thousands of Americans who unknowingly put themselves at risk when they go on a cruise. This legislation was a great first step, but it was just a first step," said Rep. Matsui.

"The Cruise Passenger Protection Act, which I am pleased to introduce today with my colleague Rep. Ted Poe, will continue to build upon the security and safety measures aboard our cruise ships and ensure that consumers have access to accurate information and victims are given the support and resources they deserve."

"The passage of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act in 2010 was a turning point for the safety and security of cruise passengers," said Rep. Poe. "The Cruise Passenger Protection act will go even further and build upon that success by putting in place stronger requirements to protect victims of crime and hold their perpetrators accountable."

The conressional respresentatives say this bill builds on the passenger safety measures put in place by the CVSSA by clarifying and strengthening the crime reporting requirements and the video surveillance requirements defined by that bill. The CPPA bolsters FBI notification requirements when an alleged incident occurs aboard a cruise ship. The bill also ensures consumers are able to access more detailed information about crimes that occur on cruise vessels, by further breaking out the data on specific types of crimes so consumers have a better understanding of what the data means. Finally, the CPPA strengthens video surveillance requirements in the CVSSA to ensure maximum protection for passengers and victims, while taking steps to avoid privacy concerns.

"Through the substantial efforts of Reps. Matsui and Poe, historic legislation was passed in 2010 to protect passengers who become victims of crimes on cruise ships. ICV members are most pleased that this new legislation will further strengthen this law to improve crime reporting and other provisions. The voice of ICV is being heard in Washington and we will look forward to working with Reps. Matsui and Poe as we move forward," said Kendall Carver, President of the International Cruise Victims Association (ICV).

    Specifically, the CPPA would:
  • Ensure a cruise vessel owner notifies the FBI within four hours of an alleged incident.

  • Ensure that if an alleged incident occurs while the vessel is still in a U.S. port, the FBI must be notified before that vessel leaves the port.

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

  • Clarify that vessels must have video surveillance equipment in all passenger common areas, and other areas, where there is no expectation of privacy.

  • Allow individuals access to video surveillance records for civil action purposes.

  • Mandate that all video records are kept for 30 days after completion of the voyage.

  • Direct the Coast Guard to promulgate final standards within one year detailing requirements for the retention of video surveillance records.

  • Transfer authority for maintaining the internet website of alleged crimes on cruise ships from the Coast Guard to the Department of Transportation.

  • Require that the website breakout the crimes that are reported against minors and alleged "man overboards" incidents.

  • Direct the Department of Transportation to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of having an individual on board each passenger vessel to provide victim support services

Companion legislation, authored by Senator Jay Rockefeller, has been introduced in the Senate today. Senator Rockefeller is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and is holding a hearing in his committee on Wednesday on "Cruise Industry Oversight: Recent Incidents Show Need for Stronger Focus on Consumer Protection."

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