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Flip-Flopper? Sen. John Kerry, Cruise Ship Safety Act Sponsor, Waters Down Bill Without Notifying Key Stakeholders

Ever since Kendall Carver's daughter mysteriously disappeared on an Alaskan cruise in 2004, he has dedicated his life to holding the cruise-line industry more accountable for passenger safety. The retired Phoenix businessman believed he succeeded in 2010 with the passage of federal legislation that was supposed to reveal the full picture of the deaths, sexual assaults, thefts, missing persons and other crimes reported on cruise ships.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., who sponsored the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act, promised the bill would provide greater transparency about crimes on passenger ships operating out of U.S. ports. However, unknown to Carver and other supporters, the bill was changed shortly before it passed to provide less, not more, information about cruise-ship crime.

Kerry's own office was responsible for altering the bill without alerting other stakeholders about the changes. Kerry's press secretary acknowledged for the first time publicly last month that the bill was changed to hold back information about cases at the request of the FBI and U.S. Coast Guard.

The agencies "feared that reporting on pending cases could impact ongoing investigations and endanger lives and efforts to bring criminals to justice," press secretary Whitney Smith said.

Carver, who helped spearhead the legislation, said he feels betrayed.

"The bill is being sabotaged. ... The FBI is using the regulation to gut the intent of the bill," he said. "The FBI and the Coast Guard, the very people who should be looking out for United States citizens, have watered this thing down."

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