US senator calls for tougher regulations on cruise ships

An American senator is pushing for tougher regulations on cruise ships after a senate hearing was held on cruise passenger safety.

During the hearing, called by senator Jay Rockefeller last week, four cruise passengers recounted their stories, in which they were violently assaulted during their time on ships.

The senator, also committee chairman said after hearing the stories he sees a lack of oversight and accountability for passenger safety in the industry.

However, a renowned American criminologist says cruising is one of the safest forms of travel, claiming that the only other place that can be statistically safer to vacation is in one’s backyard.

Ph.D of Northeastern University, James Alan Fox said that crime is not an issue on ships and says crime rates at sea at significantly less compares to land.

According to 2010-2012 statistics published on Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the rate of rape on board a ship per 100,000 passengers is 5.9. However, the rate in cities of 100,000 people is 42.8.

The rate of assaults with serious bodily injury on a ship is 3.8 per 100,000 people, and on land it is 11.7.

Cruise industry body, CLIA told American news site, WLRN, that the hearing presented a distorted picture of cruising.

“Adding a new layer of federal regulation and bureaucracy at the expense of taxpayers, cruise lines and cruise passengers is both unjustified and unnecessary,” CLIA said.

Senator Rockefeller introduced a bill of passenger safety last year. This is the second hearing he has called on the topic.