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Cruise ship crime allegations reporting bill becomes US law

Cruise ship crime allegations reporting bill becomes US law
As expected, President Obama on Thursday signed into law a bill that mandates reporting of all cruise ship crime allegations, regardless of their investigative status, and transfers certain related responsibilities from the US Coast Guard to the Department of Transportation.

As earlier reported, this legislation toughens the Passenger Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010, which required a numerical accounting of alleged crimes that are no longer under investigation by the FBI. Cruise industry critics felt that reporting only those allegations no longer under investigation may have skewed the numbers too low.

However, for more than a year, Cruise Lines International Association member lines—more than 90% of the US industry—have been voluntarily reporting all alleged crimes on their websites, as distinct from the PVSSA just 'closed cases' mandate for the FBI numbers. This, too, may be imprecise as some allegations could be unfounded or subsequently retracted.

The new law, S. 2444, the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014, also mandates that the Department of Transportation assume responsibility for a website that lists the alleged crimes, by cruise line. Previously, USCG had been responsible for that.