The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation said in a news release that Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va) sent letters to the three largest cruise liners about their passenger safety, security, and health practices. Chairman Rockefeller’s letters to Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian follow a series of oversight letters that he sent in February 2012.
“The cruise industry enjoys many advantages operating out of the United States but the advantages to American consumers and taxpayers are less clear,” said Rockefeller. “Recent cruise ship incidents underscore the need for a strong commitment to passenger safety and security from the entire cruise industry, not just those that wind up on the news most frequently. The responses from the cruise line companies will help Congress make sure the rules governing the cruise industry provide passengers with the safe and comfortable traveling experiences they expect and deserve, instead of giving the companies a free pass at taxpayer expense.”
The latest letters are part of Chairman Rockefeller’s ongoing efforts to provide robust oversight of the cruise industry. Chairman Rockefeller in March wrote a letter to Micky Arison, CEO of Carnival Corporation, expressing his serious concerns surrounding the recent Carnival cruise ship incidents. In the letter, Rockefeller asked Arison if Carnival intended to reimburse federal taxpayers for the cost of responding to the Carnival Splendor or Triumph marine casualties.
In February, Rockefeller wrote a letter to Admiral Robert Papp, Commandant of the United States Coast Guard, sharing his concerns regarding the Carnival Triumph incident. Rockefeller held a Commerce Committee oversight hearing in March 2012 to examine the cruise line industry’s compliance with federal safety, security, and environmental standards and review whether cruise ship industry regulations sufficiently protect passengers and the environment.