Post Info TOPIC: ICV Press Release - July 1, 2010

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Date: 05:02 PM Jul 1, 2010
ICV Press Release - July 1, 2010


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                  

Wednesday, June 30, 2010       

CONTACT: MARA LEE

(202) 225-7163                                                        



Congress Sends Matsui Legislation to the President

Bill Will Provide Critical Consumer and Safety Protections to Americans At
Sea

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congress took the final steps to pass legislation
authored by Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) to send H.R. 3360, the Cruise
Vessel Security and Safety Act, to the President for his consideration.  The
bill was passed with broad, bipartisan support in the House of
Representatives last year with a vote of 416-4; and passed the Senate
unanimously earlier this month with one amendment.  The House acted today to
unanimously accept the Senate amendment, which completes final action on
this legislation in Congress.

"H.R. 3360 will improve the safety and security of all cruise ship
passengers traveling in and out of U.S. waters," said Rep. Matsui.  "Current
law doesn't pass the test of providing common-sense security measures to the
travelling public to help protect them from crimes committed aboard ships or
to adequately prevent individuals from going overboard.  Moreover, current
law does not provide the support victims and their families need in the
event of a disaster.  This legislation is critical to providing the security
and safety measures that all Americans need and deserve, no matter if they
are on land or at sea."

The legislation is a critical and common-sense fix which will provide safety
and security to Americans who go on cruise vacations without realizing they
are not protected under U.S. laws when they leave its territorial waters.
Matsui's legislation would require the cruise industry to comply with a
number of security provisions including specific rail heights, peep holes,
warning devices, and cabin security measures. 

Additionally, the bill necessitates that vessels are equipped with a video
surveillance system to assist in documenting and prosecuting crimes, and
requires vessels to maintain a log book to record reports on specified
complaints.  Finally, the law will mandate cruise vessel personnel to
contact both the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the United
States Coast Guard as soon as a crime involving homicide, suspicious deaths,
missing U.S. nationals, kidnapping, assault, and other serious occurrences
are reported.

"The term 'duty free' does not apply to the safety of passengers," said
Senator Kerry, who sponsored the companion language in the Senate.  "Murky
lines of jurisdiction are no longer an excuse for risking the safety of
millions of Americans who will board cruise ships this year."

"When the cruise safety legislation is signed into law, it will serve to
protect Americans across the nation during what ought to be relaxing
vacations," said International Cruise Victims Association Chairman, Kendall
Carver.  "Without Congresswoman Matsui's efforts in the House, this
legislation would not have moved forward."

Scott Berkowitz, president and founder of RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest
National Network) added, "RAINN applauds Congresswoman Matsui for her
leadership on this important legislation, which reduces passengers' risk of
sexual assault, and expands the rights of those sexually assaulted on board.
By connecting cruise passengers with the support services available through
the National Sexual Assault Hotlines, this legislation provides a vital
lifeline for victims on cruise ships.  We look forward to working with the
cruise industry to ensure that passengers in need receive the help that they
deserve."

Rep. Matsui started advocating for the modernization of existing legislation
in 2006 after a constituent from her hometown of Sacramento, Laurie Dishman,
came to her after being raped on a cruise ship.  From that first letter,
Rep. Matsui has since worked with advocates and victims' rights
organizations from all across the country to help bring this legislation to
a reality. 

# # #



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