NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Following that cruise ship disaster off the Gulf Coast last month, Sen. Charles Schumer has called on the cruise industry to voluntarily implement a passenger’s bill of rights.
Schumer said the bill of rights would be modeled off the successful one already in place for airplanes.
Under Schumer’s plan, the bill of rights would ensure that all ships, regardless of where they are registered, would provide sanitary conditions, backup power and medical staff on board in case of an emergency.
“It can be scary to watch the shore drift away as you’re hundreds of miles out to sea. But to be out at sea without access to a doctor, electricity, toilet facilities, that’s unconscionable,” Schumer told reporters including WCBS 880’s Monica Miller. “If we can get this passenger bill of rights done, passengers can breathe a sigh of relief that they know that the trip will be safe and if, God forbid, there’s emergencies, that they will be taken care of in the right way.”
“If failures – mechanical, plumbing or otherwise – occur on these ships, passengers should get a full refund,” Schumer added.
A man named Darren just returned from a week-long cruise with his family, where travel went off without a hitch.
“We went to Orlando, then to the Bahamas and now we’re back,” Darren told Miller.
Still, he said he would support Schumer’s proposal for cruise ships.
“They don’t have any regulations like the FAA for airplanes for the boats, so I think they should get something like that,” he said.
For ships not registered in the U.S., Schumer has urged the State Department to begin negotiations with countries that host ships that serve American passengers.
Among the six guarantees Schumer wants to see in a passenger bill of rights are a right to full refunds and a right to have a trained crew to handle emergencies.
Last month, a Carnival cruise ship became disabled in the Gulf of Mexico after a fire in the engine room knocked out power. Passengers were stranded aboard the Triumph for days with no heat, few working bathrooms and unsanitary conditions as tug boats pulled the massive ship to shore.
Do you agree with Schumer’s call for a passenger’s bill of rights? Sound off in the comments section below…