Rockefeller promises cruise ship safety hearing

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The chairman of the Senate committee that oversees transportation issues is promising to hold a hearing about cruise ship passenger safety next month. 

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) said the hearing would likely take place during the congressional work period before lawmakers take their traditional August recess. 

No date has been announced for the hearing yet. 

Rockefeller’s office said the West Virginia lawmaker, who is retiring at the end of the year, wants to try to include provisions that were in a cruise safety bill known as the Cruise Passenger Protection Act (S.1340) in a broader funding bill for the U.S. Coast Guard. 

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee was scheduled to mark up the Coast Guard bill tomorrow, but the meeting has been postponed to a later date. 

Lawmakers have been attempting to boost cruise ship safety since a pair of high-profile incidents at sea in the last year, including a deadly international crash near Italy and a U.S. cruiseliner being stranded in the Gulf of Mexico.