H.R.1485 - Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009
To amend title 46, United States Code, to establish requirements to ensure the security and safety of passengers and crew on cruise vessels, and for other purposes.
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Ms. MATSUI (for herself, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Mrs. MALONEY, Mr. POE of Texas, and Mr. DOGGETT) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and InfrastructureCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
(1) There are approximately 200 overnight ocean-going cruise vessels worldwide. The average ocean-going cruise vessel carries 2,000 passengers with a crew of 950 people.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) Even with these high passenger numbers, few vacationing passengers on cruise vessels fully appreciate their potential vulnerability to crime while on an ocean voyage, and those who are victimized often do not know their legal rights or whom to contact for help in the immediate aftermath of the crime.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(5) Over the last five years, sexual assault and physical assaults on cruise vessels were the leading crimes reported to and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with regard to cruise vessel incidents.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(7) There are no Federal statutes or regulations that explicitly require cruise lines to report alleged crimes to United States Government officials, unless such crimes occur within the territorial waters of the United States.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(8) It is not known precisely how often crimes occur on cruise vessels or exactly how many people have disappeared during ocean voyages because cruise line companies do not make comprehensive, crime-related data readily available to the public.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(9) Obtaining reliable crime-related cruise data from governmental sources can be difficult, because multiple countries may be involved when a crime occurs on the high seas, including the flag country for the vessel, the country of citizenship of particular passengers, and any countries having special or maritime jurisdiction.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(10) Due to the absence of law enforcement officials on ocean voyages, it can be difficult or impossible for professional criminal investigators to immediately secure an alleged crime scene on a cruise vessel, recover evidence of an onboard offense, and identify or interview potential witnesses to the alleged crime.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(11) Most cruise vessels that operate into and out of United States ports are registered under the laws of another country, and investigations and prosecutions of crimes against passengers and crewmembers may involve the laws and authorities of multiple nations.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(12) The Department of Homeland Security has found it necessary to establish 500-yard security zones around vessels to limit the risk of terrorist attack, but no viable means of communicating and enforcing the security zones has been established. Recently piracy has dramatically increased throughout the world and vessels have limited if any means of protection against piracy and terrorism while on the high seas.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(13) To enhance safety of cruise passengers, the owner of these cruise vessels could upgrade, modernize, and retrofit the safety and security infrastructure on such vessels by installing peep holes in passenger room doors, installing security video cameras in targeted areas, limiting access to passenger rooms to select staff during specific times, installing acoustic hailing and warning devices capable of communicating and enforcing the 500-yard security zone.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 3. CRUISE VESSEL SECURITY AND SAFETY REQUIREMENTS.
‘Sec. 3507. Cruise vessel security and safety requirements
‘(E) The vessel shall be equipped with a sufficient number of operable acoustic hailing and warning devices to provide 360 degrees of communication capability around the vessel. The acoustic hailing and warning devices shall be capable of communicating clear voice instructions to approaching vessels that are 500 yards away, over 88 dB of background noise at the listener’s position with 90 percent intelligibility. The broadcasts made by such devices shall be directional in nature so as not confuse other vessel operators who are not in the security zone and to limit unnecessary noise. The device controls shall be manned and operable during transits in and out of harbors and whenever another vessel approaches within 500 yards of the passenger vesselCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(A) record in a log book reports on reported deaths, missing individuals, and each significant alleged crime committed on the vessel, and all passenger and crewmember complaints regarding theft, sexual harassment, and assaults; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(i) shall contact the nearest Federal Bureau of Investigation Field Office or Legal Attache by telephone as soon as possible after the occurrence on board the vessel of an incident involving homicide, suspicious death, a missing United States national, kidnapping, assault with serious bodily injury, any offense to which section 2241, 2242, 2243, or 2244(a) or (c) of title 18, United States Code, applies, firing or tampering with the vessel, or theft of money or property in excess of $10,000 to report the incident;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(ii) shall furnish a written report of the incident by facsimile or electronic mail to the Coast Guard National Command Center and by facsimile to the Federal Bureau of Investigation;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(iii) may report any serious incident that does not meet the reporting requirements of clause (i) and that does not require immediate attention by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the nearest Field Office or Legal Attache by facsimile or electronic mail; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(i) the ship, regardless of registry, is owned, in whole or in part, by a United States person, regardless of the nationality of the victim or perpetrator, and the incident occurs when the vessel is within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States and outside the jurisdiction of any State;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(iv) the incident concerns a victim or perpetrator who is a United States national on a vessel during a voyage that departed from or will arrive at a United States port.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(A) WEBSITE- The Secretary shall maintain, on an Internet site of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, a numerical accounting of the missing persons and alleged crimes recorded in each report filed under paragraph (1)(A). The data shall be updated no less frequently than quarterly, aggregated by cruise line, and each cruise line shall be identified by name.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(B) ACCESS TO WEBSITE- Each cruise line taking on or discharging passengers in the United States shall include a link on its Internet website to the website maintained by the Secretary under subparagraph (A).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(d) Crew Database Requirement- The Secretary shall prescribe regulations that require the owner of each vessel to which this section applies to participate in the establishment and maintenance of a database for reporting all individuals whose employment on such a vessel has been terminated for a matter reported under subsection (c)(1)(A).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(1) maintain on the vessel adequate, in-date supplies of anti-retroviral medications and other medications used to prevent sexually transmitted diseases after a sexual assault;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(2) maintain on the vessel equipment and materials for performing a medical examination to evaluate the patient for trauma, treat injury, and collect forensic evidence;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(3) make available on the vessel at all times an individual licensed to practice as a medical doctor in the United States who has received training in conducting forensic sexual assault examinations, to promptly perform such an examination upon request and to provide proper medical treatment of a victim, including antiretroviral medications and other medications that may prevent the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus and other sexually transmitted diseases;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(4) prepare, provide to the individual, and maintain written documentation of the performance and findings of such examination that is signed by the individual and ensure that no medical information is released to the cruise line or any legal representative thereof without the prior knowledge and approval in writing of the victim, or, if the victim is unable to provide written authorization, the victim’s next-of-kin; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(A) a description of the toll-free telephone number and website by which the individual may access the National Sexual Assault Hotline and the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline referred to in section 628 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (
Public Law 109-248; 42 U.S.C. 16985);CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(f) Crime Scene Investigation Training for Passenger Vessel Crewmembers- The Secretary, in consultation with the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, shall develop a training curriculum for crewmembers and law enforcement officials of passenger vessels to educate them concerning appropriate methods for collecting evidence at a crime scene and proper evidence preservation. The Administrator of the Maritime Administration may certify organizations that offer the curriculum for training and certification under subsection (g).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(g) Certification Requirement- Beginning 2 years after the date of enactment of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009, no passenger vessel may enter a United States port on a voyage (or voyage segment) on which a United States citizen is a passenger unless there is at least 1 crewmember onboard who is certified as having successfully completed training in the collection of crime scene evidence on passenger vessels under subsection (f).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(h) Inspection- The Secretary shall conduct an annual inspection of each passenger vessel seeking to enter a port in the United States to determine whether the passenger vessel has adequate equipment to investigate covered crimes on the vessel and has at least 1 crewmember who is certified under subsection (f).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(1) REQUIREMENT TO MAINTAIN SURVEILLANCE- The owner of a vessel to which this section applies shall maintain video surveillance to monitor and document crimes as they occur on the vessel and to provide evidence for the prosecution of such crimes, as determined by the Secretary.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(2) ACCESS TO VIDEO RECORDS- The owner of a vessel to which this section applies shall provide to law enforcement officials, upon request, a copy of all records of video surveillance that may provide evidence of a crime reported to law enforcement officials.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(C) the contact information for the National Sexual Assault Hotline and the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline referred to in section 628 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (
Public Law 109-248; 42 U.S.C. 16985);CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(2) include in mandatory crew training the details of this section, its application, and the determination of the United States to protect its citizens against crimes committed at sea.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(1) PENALTIES- Any person that violates this section or a regulation under this section shall be fined not more than $250,000 or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(l) Procedures- Within 6 months after the date of enactment of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009, the Secretary shall issue guidelines, training curricula, and inspection and certification procedures necessary to carry out the requirements of this section.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 4. DETAILING COAST GUARD PERSONNEL TO ENFORCE CRUISE SHIP REQUIREMENTS.
‘(3) dispatch properly trained and qualified armed Coast Guard Personnel on vessels and public or commercial structures on or adjacent to waters subject to United States jurisdiction--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
‘(i) assisting vessel passengers and crew, as needed, with the reporting and investigation of potential criminal activities occurring on board vessels to which
section 3507 of title 46, United States Code, applies while such vessels are in United States territorial waters;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(b) Fees and Charges- The Commandant of the Coast Guard may promulgate regulations under
SEC. 5. STUDY AND REPORT ON THE SECURITY NEEDS OF PASSENGER VESSELS.
(a) In General- Within 3 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating shall conduct a study of the security needs of a passenger vessel depending on number of passengers on the vessel, and report to the Congress findings of the study and recommendations for improving security on those vessels.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(b) Report Contents- In recommending appropriate security on those vessels, the report shall take into account typical crewmember shifts, working conditions of crewmembers, and length of voyages.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 6. AMENDMENT OF THE DEATH ON THE HIGH SEAS ACT.
‘(c) Incidents Occurring Within 12-Mile Limit- This chapter does not apply if the death of an individual is caused by wrongful act, neglect, or default occurring on the high seas 12 nautical miles or less from the shore of the United States.’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) by adding at the end ‘In this section, the term ‘nonpecuniary loss’ means loss of care, comfort, and companionship. The individuals for whose benefit the action is brought may also recover damages for the decedent’s pre-death pain and suffering.’.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink