March 7. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) have introduced a bill that would waive U.S. cabotage requirements for cruise ships operating between Washington State and Alaska. If enacted, it would remove a U.S. legal hurdle created by Canada’s cruise ban.
Due to COVID-19, Canada has extended its ban on large cruise ships until February 2022, removing port calls in Vancouver or Victoria from the itinerary for any cruise line. Those port calls are essential for all large cruise ships operating in the Alaskan market, because all are foreign-flagged and must comply with the terms of the U.S. Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA). The Act allows foreign passenger vessels to make round-trip voyages beginning and ending in the same U.S. port, so long as they call in at least one foreign port along the way; this means that these vessels need to call in Canada in order to lawfully operate a “foreign voyage” on the Seattle-to-Alaska route.
The bill introduced by Senators Murkowski and Sullivan would alleviate this burden by waiving the requirement for foreign-flag cruise ships on the Alaska run.
Source: The Maritime Executive
Photo: Cruise Critic