Yesterday, President Obama signed a bill named the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act. The bill applies to all vessels which are capable of carrying 250 or more passengers, embarking or disembarking in the United States.
One of the points highlighted in the bill is the requirement of cruise operators to contact US agencies if there is a questionable/suspicious death onboard or if there are any reports of disturbances or problems onboard, such as assault.
Ships will also be required to install safety catches and peepholes on all stateroom doors incase of emergency. They must also install a key system which can record who enters/leaves a stateroom and at what time. They must also ensure the have CCTV surveillance onboard the ships in all public areas.
There will be a log book which will record all details of complaints of crime onboard the ship, including any report of theft of property.
Ships will be required to have a registered nurse or licensed doctor onboard, who would be able to provide examinations and advice in the event of a sexual assault taking place on a cruise. There will also be training put into place specifically for security personnel working on cruise ships. The training will be mandatory and will help to maintain a high level of security aboard the ships.
The act will be coming into effect in around 18 months time, which gives cruise lines plenty of time to implement any changes they may need to make in order to conform to the new rules and regulations.
The act is expected to go into effect in 18 months.