Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is trying to get a bill passed that would exempt cruise ships from the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA), which requires them to have enough lifeboats for all passengers and crew. The bill would also allow cruise ships to bring in more than 100 people at a time without having to comply with safety regulations.
The alaska tourism restoration act is a bill that aims to exempt cruise ships from the Passenger Vessel Services Act.
Despite the fact that cruise operations to Alaska from the United States have resumed, Alaska Senator Murkowski is working to ensure that cruise ships are not barred from visiting the state in the future. The Alaska tourist sector suffered during the suspension of operations as a result of no cruise ship stops, which was imposed by regulations and had a negative effect on small companies.
Cruises to Alaska are now subject to new legislation.
Senator Murkowski (R-AK) has introduced new legislation to safeguard the state’s tourist sector, with the goal of avoiding a recurrence of the pandemic’s lack of cruise ships in the area and the suspension of cruise operations.
The senator stated that further information will be revealed next week during her keynote address at the Southeast Conference Annual Meeting in Haines.
It all boils down to the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA), which forbids cruise ships leaving from the United States from visiting any ports other than those in the United States. Cruise ships must dock at a foreign port, such as Canada, to ensure compliance with the laws. The PVSA does not apply to cruise ships sailing under the flag of the United States; nevertheless, most cruise ships with a capacity of more than 1,000 passengers are registered outside of the United States.
The prohibition on cruise ships in Canada, which will last until November 2021, has had a significant effect on Alaska, since cruise ships leaving from places like Seattle, Washington, were unable to leave owing to the requirement to visit a foreign port.
(Photo credit: Ian Dewar Photography / Shutterstock.com) Cruise ships departing from Seattle for Alaska cruises.
As a result, the Senator has introduced a new law to ensure that the scenario of no cruise ship calls to Alaska never occurs again and to safeguard tourism. “While the PVSA was meant to safeguard American jobs and companies, it had the unintended effect of placing Alaskan enterprises at the mercy of the Canadian government,” Senator Murkowski stated. It almost wiped out the businesses of Southeast Alaska, as we watched company after business eager to welcome tourists but unable to do so because Canadians refused to comply with our pleas to allow international pauses at their ports to satisfy the PVSA criteria. We can’t allow anything like that happen again.”
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The measure seeks to exclude cruises with a passenger capacity of over 1,000 from the Passenger Vessel Services Act between the Lower 48 and Alaska. The waiver is set to expire whenever a cruise ship capable of transporting more than 1,000 people is constructed in the United States.
“Next week, I plan to propose legislation that would permanently exclude Alaskan cruises carrying more than 1,000 people from the PVSA,” Senator Murkowski stated. This law would generate employment for American merchant seamen in the cruise sector, and this waiver will expire whenever a U.S.-built cruise ship transports more than 1,000 people, ensuring that foreign-built cruise ships do not compete with U.S.-built ships. We don’t want to compete with American shipbuilders, therefore this law will expire once there is a market in the United States. In the end, we need to change the PVSA so that Alaskans’ freedom to conduct business is not hampered by the actions of another country’s government.”
Senator Murkowski has been a driving force for the return of cruise ships to Alaska. She was instrumental in getting the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act (ATRA) enacted and signed by President Biden earlier this year. This enabled cruise ships to temporarily avoid the Passenger Vessel Services Act.
Senator Murkowski’s office provided this image.
Several ships are now traveling to Alaska from Seattle, Washington. In July 2021, Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas was the first major cruise ship to return to the area. Since then, additional ships from Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Carnival Cruise Line have re-entered the area.
Over 1.3 million cruise ship passengers visited Alaska in 2016, but the epidemic brought that amount to a stop in 2020. Skagway’s company revenue was down 80% from the same time in 2019, according to a Southeast Conference report from June 2020.
Alaska Senator Aims to Exempt Cruise Ships From the Passenger Vessel Services Act. The bill would remove cruise ships from the list of vessels that are required to have a passenger vessel service agreement with the state. Reference: alaska cruise.