Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009
S. 588 H.R. 1485 Dear Congressman/Senator, Please support the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009, introduced by Senator John Kerry and Congresswoman Doris Matsui. This legislation would establish requirements to ensure the security and safety of passengers and crew on cruise vessels. It would IMPROVE SHIP SAFETY by mandating guard rails to reach 54 inches in height, and entry doors of each passenger stateroom and crew cabin to have peep holes, security latches, and time sensitive key technology. Ship owners would be required to implement fire safety codes as well as technology to detect when a passenger falls overboard. Procedures would also be established to determine which crew members have access to staterooms and when. The bill would PROVIDE TRANSPARENCY IN REPORTING based on the current voluntary agreement in place between the cruise industry, the FBI, and the Coast Guard. Each ship would also be required to maintain a log book, which would record all deaths, missing individuals, alleged crimes, and passenger/crewmember complaints regarding theft, sexual harassment, and assault. The log books would be available to FBI and Coast Guard electronically, as well as to any law enforcement officer upon request. Statistical information would be posted on a public website maintained by the Coast Guard. To IMPROVE CRIME SCENE RESPONSE, each ship would be required to maintain medications to prevent sexually transmitted diseases after assault, as well as equipment and materials for performing a medical examination to determine if a victim has been raped. A United States licensed medical practitioner would be on every ship to perform the necessary examinations and to administer treatment. Private medical information would be protected, and would require written authorization for release. All passengers would be given free, immediate, and confidential access to a National Sexual Assault Hotline and the FBI. The legislation would establish a program designed by the Coast Guard and the FBI, and certified by the Administrator of the Maritime Administration, to TRAIN APPROPRIATE CREWMEMBERS IN CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION. Each ship would be required to maintain one crewmember trained and certified under such a program. To ENFORCE SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS, the Coast Guard is authorized to dispatch personnel to monitor discharge of waste, to verify logbook entries related to waste treatment and disposal, and to act as public safety officers by securing and collecting evidence of alleged crimes. The Secretary of the Coast Guard will conduct a study of passenger security needs and report findings and suggestions to Congress. The bill also ESTABLISHES FAIR AND EQUITABLE REMEDIES by amending the Death on the High Seas Act by for persons who die from negligence.