Coast Guard Bill that Mandates Reporting of Cruise Ship Crimes is Passed by Congress Despite Bush Veto Threat
By Andrew Miga
Associated Press Writer / April 24, 2008
WASHINGTON—Defying President Bush's threatened veto, the House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill making the Coast Guard enforce security zones around eight liquefied natural gas terminals and any arriving tankers --all potential terrorism targets.
more stories like this... The bill also sets stricter crime reporting requirements for cruise ships and requires double hulls around fuel tanks on large cargo ships to prevent catastrophic oil spills like the one in San Francisco Bay in November. To address complaints that crimes aboard cruise ships are underreported, the bill makes line operators report to the Homeland Security Department all security incidents, including deaths, serious bodily injuries and sexual assaults.
Cruise lines also are required to post crime statistics on an Internet site maintained by the Coast Guard, with links from the cruise line public Web sites. "Sometimes, even cruise ships need sunshine," said Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif. Cruise lines last year announced a voluntary agreement with the FBI and the Coast Guard to improve and standardize crime reporting.
"The bottom line is, the crime statistics provided by the cruise industry are inaccurate and inadequate," said Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn. "This has got to change." Cruise line industry officials say the reporting requirement is redundant, since they are already doing so voluntarily.