Passengers looking to book a cruise will now be able to research the number of alleged crimes were reported to cruise operations.
The U.S. House and Senate introduced legislation that would require the crime information be made available to the public. Currently, only crimes that are no longer being investigated by the FBI are included in crime statistics available to the public.
A report highlighted the discrepancy between crimes reported by cruise lines to the FBI and the numbers that are disclosed publicly. The report showed that 130 alleged crimes had been reported in 2011 and 2012, but only 31 of those had been reported to the public.
Cruise lines reported a total of 959 alleged crimes to the FBI.
The three largest cruise companies, based in Miami-Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Corp. and Norwegian Cruise Line-all agreed to post all allegations in categories including sexual assault, theft greater than $10,000, tampering with the vessel, assault with serious injuries, kidnapping, missing U.S. national, suspicious death or homicide.
The statistics, dating back to 2010, will be posted Aug. 1.
The head of the Cruise Lines International Association said that the 12 remaining North American member lines are being asked to provide the same statistics.
This hearing comes after a difficult year for cruise companies. The Carnival Triumph was left without power at sea for days following a fire in February; in May, Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas also suffered a fire, and the sinking of the Costa Concordia in Italy that killed 32 people in 2012.
Since then, Carnival has taken steps to improve its ships including a $300 million investment in the entire fleet to upgrade backup power and fire safety equipment. In May, the CILA also adopted a 10-item passenger bill of rights including the right to a refund if a trip is cancelled or cut short and the right to disembark a docked ship if conditions on board are not satisfactory.
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Source: The Miami Herald, "In Senate grilling, cruise leaders pledge more transparency on crime," July 24, 2012.