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Blumenthal Co-Sponsors Cruise Ship Bill

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File photo of a coast guard boat patrolling the area near the sinking of a dinner cruise ship. (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a coast guard boat patrolling the area near the sinking of a dinner cruise ship. (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal is co-sponsoring legislation designed to provide protections to cruise ship passengers.

The proposed Cruise Ship Passenger Protection Act of 2013 would make all crimes alleged on cruise ships available to the public. Also, the bill would create a toll-free hotline for consumer complaints and an advisory committee to make recommendations on improving consumer protection programs and services.

It would also require cruise lines to provide passengers a plain language summary of their rights before purchasing tickets, and provide the federal government with more authority to investigate consumer complaints.

The Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a hearing Wednesday in Washington, D.C. to learn more about consumer protections for passengers, crime reporting and safety issues.

Nearly 21 million Americans are expected to take a cruise this year.

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