Madam Speaker, when most people think about taking a cruise, they imagine dream destinations, sunny days, and boatloads of fun. What people don't imagine is that these so-called fun ships are not free from crime. Sometimes American passengers disappear on the high seas or become victims of sexual or physical assault.

You see, American passengers board these ships in U.S. ports and do not realize the ship is likely registered in a foreign country. That means these luxury ships are not required to report crimes to our government unless the crime occurs within U.S. territorial waters. This creates a serious problem for protecting the rights of Americans.

As founder of the Victims Rights Caucus and a former judge, it seems to me Americans should be concerned by the absence of law enforcement on cruise ships, concerned by the lack of duty to report crime and concerned with the sometimes careless way that crime scenes are handled or not handled at all.

Americans should be protected on U.S. soil or on the high seas. Representative Matsui's Cruise Vessel Safety and Security Act will help protect Americans on cruise ships. It's high time we take back the high seas.

And that's just the way it is.