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President Obama is set to sign a bill that requires stronger security precautions on cruise ships, including ensuring alleged crimes are reported. The Senate passed the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act on Wednesday. Rep. Doris Matsui, D-California, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, authored the bill, which applies to all ships that dock in U.S. ports.
It passed the House 416-4 last year. The new law will require improved basic safety provisions on ships such as peepholes for doors and providing information on reporting crimes. All ships built going forward must have security latch door and smart keys.
Cruise ships have seen an increase in sexual assults, and under the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act ships would be required to have medical staff that can handle assaults, rape kits and STD medication.
"Current law doesn't pass the test of providing common-sense security measures to the traveling public or to help protect them from crimes committed aboard ships...Moreover, current law does not provide the support victims and their families need in the event of a disaster." Matsui said in a statement reported by CNN.
Under the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act ships will also be required to report incidents and contact FBI after a major crime such as homicide, kidnapping, assault or disappearance of a U.S. national.
The Cruise industry supported the provisions in the bill and said in a statement that many of the provisions have already been implemented.