New bill on cruise ship safety, security

WASHINGTON, Del., July 2 (UPI) — A bill awaiting President Obama's signature means cruise ships must improve security and safety measures, officials say. Under the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, cruise ships must install peepholes on cabin doors, install higher ship rails and carry rape kits and STD medications, CNN reported Friday. They must also carry medical staff to treat sex assault victims and report incidents to the FBI, the bill says. The bill passed the Senate Wednesday after passing the House last year on a 416-4 vote, CNN said. The bill, authored by Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., applies to all ships that dock in U.S. ports. "Current law doesn't pass the test of providing common-sense security measures to the traveling public or to help protect them from crimes committed aboard ships," Matsui said in a statement Wednesday. A number of high-profile alleged assaults, disappearances and homicides helped earn support for the legislation, Matsui spokeswoman Mara Lee said. Matsui's office worked with the cruise ship industry in crafting the legislation, Lee said. "Having a law that's not going to be carried through wouldn't make sense, so we've worked with them to make very common-sense requirements that they can put in place," she said.

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