New security rules on the way for cruise ships

Cruise ships may soon be required to strengthen their existing security measures if legislation passed by Congress last week is signed into law by President Barack Obama.

In addition to new rules that require ships to carry rape kits and have personnel onboard that are experienced in dealing with victims of sexual assault, the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act mandates that ships upgrade their security infrastructure by installing peep holes on passenger doors and maintain a working surveillance system. The bill also calls for the installation of acoustic hailing or warning devices.

In a statement posted on its website, the International Cruise Victims Association called the passage of the legislation a victory for passenger's rights.

"Adoption of this bill would be proof to the world that our small group of volunteers with limited funds has been able to make a difference in the safety of Americans," said ICV Chairman Kendall Carver in the statement. "When the Cruise Safety legislation is signed into law, it will serve to protect Americans across the nation during what ought to be relaxing vacations."