In a herculean win for Kendall Carver and the International Cruise Victims (“ICV”), a new website has been launched by the U.S. Department of Transportation that is designed to provide information and other resources for cruise ship passengers as a way of finding information by federal agencies for vacation planning. ICV has led the fight against the concealment of basic information about cruise ship crime statistics and other vital information about foreign flagged cruise vessels. This is a great victory that will help educate consumers as to their best course of action when planning a potential cruise.
The information that may be found on the website provided by these federal agencies includes cruise line incident reporting statistics, vessel safety, and consumer assistance. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the agencies are dedicated to provide consumers who travel with the most information possible to ensure they are able to make informed decisions and know their rights before their trip, during and after.
Foxx said this will be a helpful tool for consumers who have saved for travel on cruise ships and the Transportation Secretary said they are appreciative of the continuing advocacy of Chairman Rockefeller. The website is aimed at providing relevant and reliable information to consumers, even though the U.S. Department of Transportation does not regulate the cruise line industry. Information that is provided on the website includes other federal agencies that do have direct jurisdiction over the industry.
Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV issued a statement after the announcement of the launching of the new federal website involving the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Senator said he was pleased the website was created to help protect cruise ship passengers and its importance of providing the information. Calling Secretary Foxx’s leadership a “game changer” and he as the Chairman of the Commerce Committee has continually requested the cruise industry improve consumer disclosures and protections. The Senator said he has been disappointed in the failure of the cruise industry in this area and that is time help is provided to American citizens when there are problems on a cruise ship.
Information for the Consumer
Vessels leaving U.S. ports carrying at least 50 passengers or more are required by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to be financially solvent enough to reimburse consumers in the event a cruise is canceled. Other FMC financial requirements include the ship operator providing proof of the ability to pay claims in the instance of passenger injury or death they may be held liable. In any of these events the consumer, or in the case of death the family of the consumer is required to initiate legal action on their own against the cruise line. This new site, with its information, is especially important when you consider that sexual assaults, man overboard, and other incidents have gone unreported as a matter of course for so many years, even though they have occurred at alarming rates. Victims would want to know about financial solvency and ability for the cruise operator to be able to compensate the survivors of such a calamity.
In the event passengers bring inquiries or issues involving a cruise line the FMC Office of Consumer Complaints (OCC) will contact the cruise line on behalf of the person making the claim. The OCC during its inquiry will help to hasten a fair deliberation. It will still be up to the consumer to file the complaint against the cruise line legally for a settlement. More information can be found at the FMC website and consumer complaint information.
Other Information Helpful To Consumers About Cruise Ship Laws:
Cruise Ship Accident Website – Ehline Law