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Cruise passengers recount nightmarish experiences, ask Congress for more passenger protections

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WASHINGTON - A California woman called for more protections for passengers on cruise lines as she recounted before Congress the assault she suffered during a trip aboard a cruise ship.

She told senators during a hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill that she was choked and raped on a Royal Caribbean cruise by one of the line's employees.

She says that passengers have virtually no rights or protections.

Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia says her experience and other horror stories recounted at the hearing point to a lack of oversight and accountability for passenger safety in the cruise industry.

Rockefeller introduced a bill last year to improve protections for passengers on cruise ships. The hearing Wednesday was the second he has called to raise awareness of the issue.

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