The family of a Greenwich, Connecticut man who disappeared during a honeymoon cruise 10 years ago joined U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut on Tuesday to call for new safety requirements for cruise lines.
George Smith IV was aboard a Royal Caribbean ship when he vanished somewhere between Greece and Turkey on July 5, 2005. Smith’s parents have said they suspect foul play was involved in the death of their 26-year-old son, but FBI officials in Connecticut earlier this year ended their investigation of the case.
Legislation proposed by Blumenthal and U.S. Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts would mandate the use of safety technology including “man-overboard detection.” The bill, called the Cruise Passenger Protection Act, would also require new protection measures for passengers who require medical attention or are victims of crimes.
“With serious health and safety incidents continuing to occur, passengers aboard these floating cities need and deserve basic protections. Federal action is needed now,” Blumenthal said.
The Cruise Lines International Association, an industry group, said in a statement that cruising is already heavily regulated.
“Singling out a high-performing segment of the travel and hospitality industry to impose a new and costly layer of federal consumer regulation is both unnecessary and punitive,” the association said.
Smith’s sister, Bree Smith, said the lack of answers about what happened to her brother shows why it is important to have more protections for cruise ship passengers.
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