President Obama yesterday signed the Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act. Highlighted in the winter 2009/2010 Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine, the bill applies to ships of 250 ore more passengers that embark or disembark passengers in the United States.

It requires cruise operators to contact US agencies as soon as there is a questionable death or reports of problems, such as assault, onboard.

Additionally, ships must install peepholes and safety latches on stateroom doors. All ships must install key systems which can ascertain who comes into a stateroom and at what time – and cruise lines but have surveillance ships on the ships.

A log book is to be kept which reports in detail on complaints of crimes and theft of property.

Ships are to have a licensed doctor or registered nurse onboard who can provide exams and assistance in the event of a sexual assaults. And standardized training is to be put into place by the Security of Transpiration that mandates and allows for the certification of passenger vessel security personnel.

The act is expected to go into effect in 18 months.