A Miami woman spoke in front of a special Senate Committee Hearing in Washington D.C. Wednesday afternoon. Amanda Butler said she’s trying to make it safer for the thousands of people who go on board cruise ships every year.
“What my family went through, no one deserves to go through that,” said Butler.
She was one of four victims who testified Wednesday to try and strengthen safety regulations onboard cruise ships nationwide.
Butler’s 51-year-old mother dropped to the ground on board the Carnival Conquest last year. Butler said it took more than 15 minutes for medical help to show up.
“The way these contracts are written, you don’t know what you’re signing onto and you’re literally signing all of your rights as a human away,” said Butler.
Kim Ware of Houston also testified in front of members of Congress. She was on board the Carnival Triumph when it caught fire and lost power.
"They really didn’t know what to do or how to take care of us, didn’t have a plan,” said Ware.
The ship was stranded at sea for four days. Ware said she wants to prevent a similar situation from happening to anyone else.
“Our ship was set out to sea with only four of six generators working and Carnival had been told that fuel hoses were leaking and they were not fixed,” said Ware.
The head of the Senate Commerce Committee is sponsoring a new bill that would not only strengthen safety regulations but it would also make it easier for passengers to file complaints.
“It’s not about human life anymore for larger corporations, its’ the bottom line, it’s a dollar bill,” said Butler.
The Cruise Lines International Association, the group representing the cruise corporations, released a statement shortly after the hearing. A spokesperson said:
“Today’s hearing presented a distorted picture of an industry that has an exceptional guest care and safety record. More than 22 million cruise passengers every year enjoy exceptional vacation value and a lifetime of positive memories, as demonstrated by a more than 90% customer satisfaction rate and 70% repeat cruisers. The cruise industry is already heavily regulated. Adding a new layer of federal regulation and bureaucracy at the expense of taxpayers, cruise lines and cruise passengers is both unjustified and unnecessary. The CPPA is a solution in search of a problem.”