Canada commits to reopen ports to cruise ships; Murkowski launches maritime law reforms

Cruise ship Norwegian Sun at Canada Place in Vancouver, Canada, August 2, 2015 (Creative Commons photo by Xicotencatl)

Canadian officials say they will lift the ban on cruise ships in the country’s waters during the pandemic, but that will only happen after the end of Alaska’s 2021 cruise season. The move means cruise ships could sail from Vancouver and Victoria to Alaska again in 2022.

“As Canadians have done their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our government continues to work hard to restart our economy safely and build back better. We will welcome cruise ships – an important part of our tourism sector – back to Canadian waters for the 2022 season, ”Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a statement.

Until this year, large foreign-registered cruise ships had to call in Canada en route from Seattle to Alaska to comply with federal law. But after Canada extended its cruise ship ban until the 2021 summer cruise season, Congress granted a temporary waiver to allow cruise ships to bypass a stopover abroad.

The law that required exemption was the Passenger Ship Services Act, or PVSA. It requires that passenger ships navigating between national ports be built, owned and equipped by the United States. It aims to protect the US shipbuilding and transportation industries.

The waiver expires upon the reopening of Canadian ports. But at an event last week in Ketchikan, Senator Lisa Murkowski said maybe it was time to change the law.

“I’m working with colleagues as we speak to look at some of the reforms we could put in place and how we can better ensure that when we talk about the American economies it’s not just about shipbuilding and jobs. in the cruise industry, but it’s also the importance of protecting local economies, ”said Murkowski.

Murkowski says his efforts are limited to the PVSA; she said she was not pushing for reforms to the Jones Act which restricted the movement of goods between US ports.

Canadian ports reopen to cruise ships on November 1.

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