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CRUISE SHIP SECURITY BILL

Well fellow seafarers here we go again, more law for us to try and figure out, apply and follow. A Bill that requires cruise ships to report alleged crimes and increase security awaits the United States President's signature. The United States Senate has passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act. It already passed in the U.S. House last year by a vote of 416-4.

Frankly it seems to NAUTICAL LOG, who spent two decades as an officer in passenger ships that Big Brother is now watching every move. Serving in passenger ships is now like living in London, England with thousands of cameras watching one constantly. The new Act requires peepholes in cabin doors, rails no lower than 42 inches and information packets on how to report crimes are some of the changes that commercial cruise passengers can expect to see after this legislation takes effect. New ships built after the legislation's passage must be equipped with time sensitive security technology - you know just like every United States city, town and village has. What do you mean our town does not have any of that stuff? Of course it does not because the ACLU and other organisations would go crazy at this flagrant abuse of power and the United States 'Bill of Rights'. However once they go on cruise ships U.S. passengers seem not only willing but demand that Congress have them give up their freedoms.

The authors of this Bill are Rep. Doris Matsui, D-California, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts and it applies to all ships that dock in U.S. Ports. Vessels must also keep a log of incidents and contact the nearest FBI field office "as soon as possible" after a homicide, kidnapping, assault or disappearance of a U.S. national is reported.

The legislation originated from a letter sent to Rep. Matsui by one of her constituents, Laurie Dishman, who has gone public with her story before U.S. Congress and International Cruise Victims. While the Bill has a certain merit it stems from a bundling of incidents on many different ships, of many different companies and of many different Flag States. The total of these incidents is relatively small when compared to similar incidents in any U.S. city, town or village which could not pass a similar law by 'bundling' many towns statistics in the manner that this Bill has done for cruise ships. Recently a Federal Judge overruled the Government when they bundled oil rigs in this very same manner and ordered drilling to resume. This argument would seem to have merit in being applied to the cruise ships. NAUTICAL LOG just feels that there is a strong element of discrimination against seafarers and cruise ship crewmembers in particular. Perhaps there will be international legal challenges to clarify the Bill's legality by the various Flag States that register passenger vessels.

Good Watch.

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