MUN professor to testify before U.S. Senate

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MUN professor and world cruise ship expert Ross Klein is shown in a file photo. — Photo by Chris Hammond/ Courtesy Cruisejunkie.com

Memorial University social work professor Ross Klein, recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on the cruiseship industry, will again testify as an expert witness about the industry before a U.S. Senate committee hearing.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a hearing on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) titled, "Cruise Industry Oversight: Recent Incidents Show Need for Stronger Focus on Consumer Protection."

Klein's appearance was requested by the committee’s chairman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, following Klein’s appearance at a hearing held in March 2012. He also testified before the Senate committee in 2008, before a House of Representatives committee in 2007, and has made numerous other presentations on the industry.

“It is a great honour to again be asked to provide my expertise and insights to the deliberations of the U.S. Senate, and gratifying to have my research program validated for its value in furthering policy development,” Klein said in a news release from MUN. “I take satisfaction from knowing my research positively impacts the lives of people and communities.”

At the hearing next week, Rockefeller will review the current state of consumer protection in the cruise industry in light of recent safety and security incidents that endangered thousands of Americans travelling aboard cruiseships.

“I’ve been told time and again that cruise lines will change, that things will get better for passengers. But according to our investigation, it doesn't seem like things have changed,” said Rockefeller. “I’m coming to this hearing with an open mind, but so far the cruise lines haven’t been willing to make enough changes that matter on their own. I expect straight-forward answers from our witnesses, not more empty promises about how things will get better after the next safety review.”

Klein gives lectures around the world and serves as an expert witness in lawsuits against the cruise industry, including cases involving sexual assaults, environmental and social impact issues, labour rights, and passenger deaths. His publication record includes books, monographs, and published reports pertaining to sex-related crimes on cruiseships, cruise industry environmental practices, oppressive and exploitative labour practices and passenger rights.

Organizations: U.S. Senate, U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Klein's House of Representatives

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  • Stewart
    July 24, 2013 - 01:24

    It's hard to believe that this is the best maritime industry "expert" that the U.S. Senate could find to testify. This is a college professor, specializing in social work, with absolutely no connection to the global cruise industry. His information and statistics are based on news stories and third-party data. Much of the data is outdated and/ or irrelevant.

  • Alec
    July 22, 2013 - 21:29

    Wow, it appears the Yanks have really lowered their standards in soliciting "expertise" for the formulation of their public policy.