The Cruise Lines International Association released the following statement in response to legislation introduced today by U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and U.S. Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA), The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009:

“The safety and security of cruise line passengers is the top priority of CLIA member cruise lines. Serious crime aboard cruise ships is very rare, however, even one incident is one too many. We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to crime and have comprehensive policies and procedures in place to ensure that passengers are safe while enjoying their cruise vacation.

“The cruise line industry is required by law to report serious crimes if they occur. Additionally, the industry has an agreement with the FBI and U.S. Coast Guard to report all alleged crimes involving U.S. citizens while at sea. When an alleged crime is reported, highly trained security personnel of the cruise lines handle these situations with professionalism. Millions of passengers each year enjoy a cruise vacation, and while serious incidents are rare, we say again, one is one too many. In recent years, Congress has held numerous hearings on this matter. During those proceedings and still today, we remain committed to working with lawmakers to address this important issue.

Cruise lines endeavor to make cruise ships safe and secure environments with 24-hour security personnel on duty who are trained to respond to a variety of emergencies or alleged crimes. Cruise ships are designed to comply with all federal and international passenger safety codes and regulations which maximize passenger safety and are subjected to oversight and inspection by U.S. federal agencies and others.