WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Congress is looking into the cruise ship industry and how it handles crimes at sea.
Victims of shipboard crimes want lawmakers to regulate the industry and its response to crime, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.
Cruise ship companies say increased regulation isn't necessary.
"A person on a cruise is many times safer than a person on land in the United States," Royal Caribbean spokesman Michael Sheehan told the Times.
But the newspaper reported there is little consensus on what to do about crime in international waters, and industry critics say cruise ships don't adequately report shipboard crimes to authorities in U.S. ports.
Industry executives told a House subcommittee that from 2003 to 2005, 178 passengers on North American cruises reported being sexually assaulted, 24 people went missing and four others were robbed, the Times said. Royal Caribbean Cruises accounted for 66 of the 178 reports of sexual assaults.
Documents obtained by the Times said at least 273 people told Royal Caribbean they had been the victims of sexual assault, battery, harassment and inappropriate touching during an even shorter time period. Royal Caribbean said it only testified about the most serious reports.