The top three US cruise lines have pledged to voluntarily publish more data about crimes on their ships.
The move by Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian came as they became the target of proposed legislation after high profile mishaps at sea.
The new policy will disclose all alleged crimes on ships worldwide.
The initiative was revealed by Royal Caribbean International president and chief executive Adam Goldstein at a hearing on cruise safety by the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation in in Washington.
It came as US Senator Jay Rockefeller, who heads the committee, introduced legislation to require disclosure of the crime data and make the Department of Transportation responsible for consumer protection on cruises.
Rockefeller said: “This bill is the only way we’re going to make consumer awareness and protection a priority, since the cruise industry seems to refuse to take action on its own.”
Royal Caribbean will begin posting the expanded data for all of its cruise divisions from August 1 and the information will date back to the fourth quarter of 2010, Goldstein said.
“We are proud of this initiative and believe that it addresses many of the concerns raised with the limited public reporting required [by current law],” he added.
A number of high-profile incidents, including the Costa Concordia disaster which cost 32 lives, brought cruise safety to the attention of US government officials and the public.
Ross Klein, a professor of social work at Memorial University of Newfoundland who has written four books on the industry, told the panel many crimes are not reported to the FBI or made public by the bureau.
“Access to reliable data is important for passengers who have a right to know the relative risk, including between one cruise line and another and ideally between one cruise ship and another,” he said.
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