- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Cruise industry pressed on safety
Survivors of shipwreck off Italy’s coast testify
At a Capitol Hill hearing Thursday looking into the deadly Costa Concordia cruise ship accident, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV called for improved safety regulations and more environmental protection - and also criticized the cruise industry for not paying enough taxes.
“You are a world unto yourself,” the West Virginia Democrat and chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation told representatives of the industry after hearing testimony from survivors of the Jan. 13 shipwreck off the Italian coast that claimed the lives of at least 25. Seven people are still missing.
“The reports from the survivors of the Costa Concordia do not inspire confidence in the industry’s ability to respond to a major accident,” Mr. Rockefeller said.
“Safety is the cruise industry’s No. 1 one priority,” she said.
Last February, the cruise industry initiated a new policy for conducting muster drills - drills to prepare for the evacuation of the ship. Under the new rules, cruise ships will conduct muster drills before leaving port, improving on the current legal requirement that ships conduct the drill within 24 hours of departure.
But a passenger on the Costa Concordia, Geoffrey Scimone, told lawmakers the crew of the ship did not conduct a muster drill, only showing a safety video followed by a sales pitch.
“We fined them and we went after them, even though we are thrilled that they are coming out of a recession,” he said.
Mr. Rockefeller criticized the dumping of solid waste at sea. It’s an issue that “gets to me,” he said, talking about “islands” of waste floating in the ocean.
Ms. Duffy said that a clean environment is vital to the cruise industry’s business model and that the industry is using greener ships and cutting down on emissions. “Clean oceans and beaches are essential to the cruise experience, she said.
Mr. Rockefeller said the industry relies on the services of 20 government agencies to operate, from the Coast Guard to customs officials, but “you are not, evidentially, willing to pay for that.”
He said Carnival, the largest company in the industry, pays only 1.1 percent in state, local and federal taxes.
Ms. Duffy said that the industry follows what it is legally obligated to pay.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- Obama pleads for peace in strife-torn Central African Republic
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow