A cruise liner pulling up to St John's Harbor
A cruise liner pulling up to St John's Harbor - 
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Renita Jablonski: The cruise ship industry is growing at about 8 percent a year. This year, an estimated 12.6 million Americans will take a cruise.
But worries about safety on ships is growing, too. That'll be the focus of a Senate hearing this morning. Jeremy Hobson has more from Washington.

Jeremy Hobson: Senators will hear from the International Cruise Victims Association. Its vice president, Sun Michael Pham, lost both his parents three years ago, when they disappeared while aboard a cruise ship.

Pham says most people don't know the dangers that exist, from disappearance to sexual assault. And because many cruise ships are registered in other countries, he says safety regulations need to be strengthened.

Sun Michael Pham: We want independent law enforcement officer on board, because right now, it is a self-regulated and self-policed environment.

Those inside the industry say cruise ships are still about the safest place to vacation. And they say putting an independent officer on board would disrupt current international and federal laws.

Lawmakers here in Washington are moving forward nonetheless. There's already house legislation on the table to beef up cruise ship safety. And a Senate bill is said to be in the works.

In Washington, I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson