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Social work professor testifies at U.S. Senate hearings
Dave Sorensen and Laura Woodford
Dr. Ross Klein at U.S. Senate hearings

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on Wednesday, July 24, titled Cruise Industry Oversight: Recent Incidents Show Need for Stronger Focus on Consumer Protection.

His appearance was specifically requested by the committee's chairperson, Senator Jay Rockefeller, following Dr. Klein’s appearance at a hearing held in March 2012.

He also testified before the Senate committee in 2008, before a House of Representatives committee in 2007, and has made numerous other presentations on the industry.

At the hearing, Senator Rockefeller reviewed the current state of consumer protection in the cruise industry in light of recent safety and security incidents that endangered thousands of Americans travelling aboard cruise ships.

“I’ve been told time and again that cruise lines will change, that things will get better for passengers. But according to our investigation, it doesn’t seem like things have changed,” said Senator Rockefeller.

Dr. Klein served on a witness panel that included the CEOs for Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International, a rear admiral of the United States Coast Guard, and the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board Member of the Cruise Line International Association's "Panel of Experts".

Each witness provided a five-minute oral presentation, and then discussions ensued amongst all present for more than two hours.

“The timing of my testimony was auspicious - just two days before the Cruise Passenger Protection Act was introduced by Senators Rockefeller and Blumenthal,” said Dr. Klein. “Much of my testimony directly related to and laid a foundation for the various provisions in the Act. It is gratifying when one's academic work impacts policy formulation and lends support to legislation – in this case legislation that will better protect passengers and employees on cruise ships.

Dr. Klein gives invited lectures around the world and serves as an expert witness in lawsuits against the cruise industry, including cases involving sexual assaults, environmental and social impact issues, labour rights, and passenger deaths. His publication record is lengthy including books, monographs, and published reports pertaining to sex-related crimes on cruise ships, cruise industry environmental practices, oppressive and exploitative labour practices, and passenger rights.

Aug 15th, 2013

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