Specifically, the bill is named after Larry and Christy Hammer of Omaha who lost their lives in a fire in their cabin onboard a Peruvian river cruise on April 10, 2016.
The Peruvian Navy reported, after the Hammers' passing, that the found plenty of safety violations and negligence on the part of the cruise company. For example, the Hammers’ cabin did not contain a working fire alarm and the power strip that was provided by the ship caused the fire. Over 20 minutes had passed before the crew, without adequate emergency training or fire equipment, entered the Hammers’ cabin.
Concerning the DOHSA 99-year-old law, it was firstly written to protect widows and dependents of seamen who died while working on ships in foreign waters. This gave dependents the opportunity to seek financial assistance for medical bills or lost wages.
The act was amended in 2000 to allow more adequate compensation for victims of major airline accidents, but cruise ship provisions have remained in the pre-World War II era.
Hammers’ Law would change existing law to help ensure cruise lines are held accountable after such a devastating loss.
... Senator Fischer stated.
The law will enable future families to pursue fairer compensation when similar tragedies strike. And it will hold the responsible cruise line accountable by allowing for compensation that more fully reflects the company’s.