House Approves Cruise Ship Safety Bill

An act that would improve the safety aboard cruise ships that sail to U.S. ports got one step closer to becoming a law this week with the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill requiring cruise lines to improve their crime reporting and prevention procedures.

The bill, which still needs to be approved by the Senate, would require cruise lines to publicly report shipboard crimes, employ U.S. doctors, and install peepholes in cabin doors, among other requirements.

Cruise lines have received criticism in the past few years after some high-profile attacks, missing cruise passengers, and so-called “sick ships.” Since most cruise ships are registered in foreign countries, they are largely exempt from federal oversight. Ships registered outside the U.S. currently do not have to pay U.S. income taxes, comply with U.S. labor laws, or report crimes aboard ships and onboard illness outbreaks to U.S. authorities.

The Cruise Lines International Association says they support the legislation, though we suspect the lines feel the laws are imminent, and think that arguing against the legislation would harm their image, rather than actually agreeing with the new rules. After all, cruise lines right now try to hide their crime stats (Carnival won’t even warn you if you book a cabin that someone was murdered in) rather than make them publicly available.

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