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Blumenthal Calls For Public Access To Cruise Ship Safety Records

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (credit: blumenthal.senate.gov)

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (credit: blumenthal.senate.gov)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined colleagues from Massachusetts and West Virginia Saturday, in a call to make it easier for consumers to assess the safety record of the cruise ship they are about to board in what for many is the vacation of a lifetime.

Blumenthal, along with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), wants the U.S. Coast Guard to publish online information from its inspection of cruise ships.

The request comes after the Coast Guard began unannounced inspections of cruise ships at U.S. ports, targeting those with patterns of safety problems.

“Information is power, and the Coast Guard collects information that is vital to cruise ship consumers to make smart choices, and avoid being taken for a ride when cruise ships fail meet sanitary food conditions, or sufficient preparation maintenance of the ships,” Blumenthal told WCBS 880, “and that’s what consumers deserve to know. The information should be made available by Coast Guard.”

The senators sent a joint letter to the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., saying his agency does a disservice to the public when it keeps from consumers the identity of cruise ships and lines that have a pattern of safety violations.

“Nondisclosure is a disservice to the public when it engages in secrecy or nondisclosure that simply protects incompetence, or worse, on the part of the cruise ships,” Blumenthal said. “The Coast Guard does a disservice when it fails to provide information needed by the public to make smart choices about which line to give their businesses to.”

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