The International Cruise Victims Association (ICV) is praising the fact that American cruise ship passengers are now one step closer to being more fully protected and truly prioritized. This is the ICV organizations response to the announcement made yesterday by Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Chairperson of the Senate Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety as she introduced legislation which calls for an end to the oppressive 1920 law known as DOHSA (Death on the High Seas Act).
In the course of nearly one hundred years this law, originally a sword of protection and support for the widows and dependents of seamen who died while working on ships in foreign waters, became a shield behind which the cruise industry has been allowed to hide; avoiding financial accountability for the wrongful deaths of passengers who do not have dependents or income. These passengers, Senator Fischer says, include children, students, and retirees which account for a significant portion of the 12 million Americans who cruise each year.
The dedicated efforts of two sisters, Kelly Lankford and Jill Malott, members of ICV who lost both their mother and father in a tragic fire onboard a Peruvian river cruise on April 10, 2016, served as the impetus for this legislation. Senator Fischer has authored and named the bill Hammers Law for their parents, Larry and Christy Hammer of Omaha, Nebraska.
In her press release, Senator Fischer indicated the following:
The tragic passing of Larry and Christy Hammer is something no family should have to endure. My office has been working with their daughters, Jill and Kelly, coordinating with the State Department to get answers from the Peruvian government and hold culpable parties responsible. Hammers Law would change existing law to help ensure cruise lines are held accountable after such a devastating loss.
For nearly a century, countless American cruise ship passengers have been tragically affected by this law. Jill and Kelly spoke for many of them saying:
The only way we have found to move forward from the loss of our parents is by working to prevent future tragedies from devastating more families. We are grateful to Senator Fischer for introducing Hammers’ Law to safeguard the millions of Americans who cruise each year.”
DOHSA has prevented innumerable families from receiving fair and just compensation when their loved ones have died as a result of wrongful death at sea. Hammers Law will finally align the cruise industry with the aviation industry, which in 2000 amended DOHSA to allow for more adequate compensation for victims of major commercial aviation accidents. Sadly, cruise ship provisions have remained in the pre-World War ll era. International Cruise Victims joins with Senator Fischer and the Hammer family in calling for this inequity to be exposed and eliminated.
International Cruise Victims Association
Jamie Barnett, 818-355-6462 President