WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today issued the following statement after U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the launch of a new federal website that will for the first time give consumers a reliable one-stop resource where they can find information on important consumer protection issues related to cruise vacations.
“I am so pleased to see Secretary Foxx take this important and extraordinary step to help protect passengers on cruise ships. Passengers desperately need access to accurate and updated information, which is why Secretary Foxx’s leadership on this issue is a game changer. As Chairman of the Commerce Committee, I’ve repeatedly urged the cruise industry to strengthen their consumer protections and disclosures, but they have very disappointingly failed to act. It is far past time that we step up to help American citizens when something goes wrong on a cruise ship, and I commend the Department of Transportation for this first step toward providing consumer protections for passengers.”
Today’s action by Secretary Foxx follows years of vigorous oversight of the cruise industry by Chairman Rockefeller. Rockefeller has worked to bring greater accountability to the cruise industry and increase consumer protections for cruise line passengers, including more accurate and transparent crime reporting by cruise lines.
Following several serious incidents aboard cruise ships over the past several years, Rockefeller introduced the Cruise Passenger Protection Act of 2013 in July 2013. The bill would close gaps in cruise industry consumer awareness and crime reporting by: giving consumers clearer summaries of their rights and limitations while aboard cruise ships; giving DOT greater authority to protect consumers and investigate complaints; and requiring more accurate reporting of alleged crimes on cruise ships. In July 2014, Rockefeller chaired his most recent hearing to examine the cruise industry’s consumer protection practices.