The promise by the three major players in the U.S. cruise industry to be more forthcoming about the crimes that occur on their vessels is a step in the right direction. But any time an industry's promise for more transparency is offered only after authorities threaten tougher regulation, it underscores the need for just such regulation. Congress should toughen reporting laws so that cruise operators have to report the full complexion of the criminal incidents that occur on board a ship, not just some of them.
Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Corp. and Norwegian Cruise Line will post all reports of significant crimes in certain categories starting Thursday. The announcement came as West Virginia Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller renewed his call for tighter regulation. The industry's offer would correct an oversight in the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 in which the industry has been able to comply by reporting only the results of closed FBI investigations in those categories of crimes, such as sexual assault, theft greater than $10,000, kidnapping and suspicious deaths.
The cruise industry would be better trusted if it had never taken advantage of that loophole, understanding that being honest with customers — who are wholly dependent once on board a ship — should always be a primary objective.