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Cruise critic Rockefeller to deliver final speech as a senator

Senate Commerce Committee
Jay Rockefeller chaired several Senate committee hearings on cruise ship safety
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, who has been a tough critic of the cruise industry in areas ranging from safety and taxation to consumer protection, is scheduled to deliver his final speech as a member of the US Senate.

Rockefeller, 77, will reflect on his 50 years of service during remarks on the Senate floor of the US Capitol Thursday afternoon. His speech, expected to begin at approximately 3 p.m. Eastern time, will be broadcast live on C-SPAN.

As chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia, stepped up his focus on the cruise sector following Costa Concordia's fatal grounding in early 2012. He summoned cruise leaders and industry critics to a series of committee hearings.

At last year's July hearing, Rockefeller introduced the Cruise Passenger Protection Act. S. 1340 would have the US Department of Transportation develop standards for cruise passage contracts, establish a DOT advisory committee and require the public reporting of crime allegations on cruise ships—something the industry voluntarily elected to do.

The bill remains in committee.