The most recent legislation Congress has introduced is called the Cruise Passenger Protection Act, which would also amend the Death on the High Seas Act, an outdated law that denies family members the right to recover intangible damages for the loss of their loved ones due to negligent and wrongful death when the death occurs on a cruise ship in international waters. Intangible damages are the type of damages that compensate family members for the grief, mental anguish, loss of comfort and companionship of their loved ones who are killed due to the wrongful conduct of another.
The Death on the High Seas Act was amended by Congress in 2000 to allow families of international plane passengers to recover damages for the loss of care, comfort and companionship. However, the act was not amended with respect to deaths that happen on cruise ships. There is no conceivable reason that can be advanced for this distinction, other than the cruise ship industry has been very successful in their lobbying efforts to prevent the amendment to the Death on the High Seas Act.