President Obama Signs Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act Legislation Into Law For Added Safety Protections For Cruise Ship Passengers
Following several Congressional hearings over the years which brought attention to our Congressmen for the need for additional safety requirements aboard passenger cruise ships, the Cruise Vessel and Safety Act was finally signed into law by President Obama on July 27, 2010.
A major concern to the Congressmen during Congressional Hearings was a report indicating that there were at least 350 known sexual assault incidents alone on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ships during a 32 month period of time. During that time, there were no successful convictions arising out of any of the sexual assaults, pointing to a need for better investigation and reporting of these incidents as they occur. This would give law enforcement officials a better opportunity to gather the necessary evidence and prosecute the wrongdoers.
The legislation, although it can be debated whether the legislation went far enough, clearly is a step forward in improving safety to the millions of cruise ship passengers yearly who board a passenger cruise ship for what they intend to be a wonderful vacation.
The new safety legislation will require peepholes in the cabin doors of every passenger and crewmember, on deck surveillance, as well as requiring 42 inch guard rails.
As to the peep holes, they have become necessary because of the recognition of the significant number of criminal acts that have been taking place onboard passenger cruise ships, including sexual assaults and suspected foul play leading to disappearances of passengers.
Our maritime personal injury and wrongful death firm represented the parents of George Smith, who disappeared during his honeymoon cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line passenger cruise ship called the Brilliance of the Seas. Foul play was suspected from the beginning, and as of today, the disappearance has not been solved, and the FBI maintains an open file regarding the case.