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Passenger Vessel Services Act

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2 hours ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

IANAL, but Congress could add "except for sea going cruise ships" to the PVSA. There still would be pros and cons, but IMHO it would be perfectly clear for a judge that a duck boat or water taxi was not meant to be one of the exceptions.

 

You're ignoring the broader implications of relaxing cabotage legislation. As I said above, transportation industries worldwide are impacted by similar laws.  In the US, at least, firms generally see any move to change a regulation as a possible prelude to changing related regulations.  Thus a chance to the PVSA would likely be opposed by industry groups representing airlines, rail systems, etc., not to mention unions representing their employees.

 

1 hour ago, AmazedByCruising said:

One offers a vacation with sleeping, food and cocktails, booked a year in advance. The other is an attraction where people might suddenly decide to spend their money on the Ferris Wheel instead. How is that not a completely different industry? Would you reckon restaurants, saunas and theatres also to be similar to cruising?

 

As @chengkp75 pointed out, what matters is how the international community regulates the industry.  Cruise ships are treated worldwide as part of the transportation industry, and the US laws and regulation follow this globally accepted practice.

 

As far as an exclusion for cruise ships, how do you define cruise ship vs. ferry vs. tour boat?  The PVSA actually has definition sort of built in: ships doing a round trip from a single port are obviously not engaged in transportation of passengers from one domestic US port to another, and thus are not impacted by it.  If a ship is travelling from one US port to another, it is conceivable that at least some of the passengers chose that itinerary because they want to go to that second port.  They are being transported and thus the PVSA applies.

1 hour ago, AmazedByCruising said:

I thought it obviously was. The map of what is distant and what is not must be hilarious.

 

I'll agree it is a bit odd, but the concept was to prevent someone from running a foreign ship from NYC to Miami by stopping briefly in the Bahamas.

 

In practice it doesn't have a big impact on cruise ships, because the vast majority depart from and return to the same port.  In instances where a line wants to offer a one way trip, they can do so as long as either the origination or termination point is not located in the US.  If that still isn't possible, the distant foreign port comes into play.  There are not a whole lot of profitable routes that aren't possible within the existing guidelines (the most notable exception being Hawaii inter-island, hence NCL's US flagged ship).

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21 hours ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

One offers a vacation with sleeping, food and cocktails, booked a year in advance. The other is an attraction where people might suddenly decide to spend their money on the Ferris Wheel instead. How is that not a completely different industry? Would you reckon restaurants, saunas and theatres also to be similar to cruising?

Are you an America expat or are you Dutch?

And do you really care about the PVSA or do you just enjoy stirring the pot?

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22 hours ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

Exactly the same expectations of, and requirements for, the ships,crew, etc. 

Your distinction is based on the "passenger" experience, which has little to do with the standards of education, training, experience, etc. for ships and crew.

 

Yikes!  I can't help but think that the education and experience for a guy running a duck boat and the guy running a $900 million 150,000 ton cruise ship might be a little different.  But, I'm not an expert, to be sure.  

 

Anyway, I'm also no where near knowledgable about PVSA.  Interesting info in this thread.     

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14 minutes ago, ldubs said:

 

Yikes!  I can't help but think that the education and experience for a guy running a duck boat and the guy running a $900 million 150,000 ton cruise ship might be a little different.  But, I'm not an expert, to be sure.  

 

Anyway, I'm also no where near knowledgable about PVSA.  Interesting info in this thread.     

Of course, the extent of the educational, experiential and examination requirements for maritime deck and engineering officers will differ depending on the nature of the specific maritime license required.

But, at least in the United States, anyone engaged in operating a commercial passenger vessel (yes, even that duck boat) must demonstrate their mastery of navigational and related rules (in addition to required experience) as part of their qualification for an appropriate USCG license. 

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On ‎5‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 4:10 AM, denmarks said:

If the PVSA rule was eliminated do you think stops in Ensenada would be eliminated for most cruises especially to Hawaii? What about Alaska cruises starting or ending in Vancouver? The law currently seems to serve no real purpose. Eliminating it would also allow west coast cruises without stopping in Canada or Mexico.

I think it would change quite a few itineraries for the better without actually causing damage to what the act is supposedly protecting.

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1 hour ago, MicCanberra said:

I think it would change quite a few itineraries for the better without actually causing damage to what the act is supposedly protecting.

But, as noted, CLIA nor any of their member cruise lines, feel that it would improve itineraries.

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I bet if given the freedom to start and finish cruises wherever they wanted, itineraries would change.

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On 5/12/2019 at 1:36 AM, AmazedByCruising said:

 Why would the wording of the PVSA be limited to what is internationally understood as a "passenger vessel"?

On 5/12/2019 at 3:06 AM, chengkp75 said:

Because once you discuss foreign flag vessels, you are discussing international commerce, and international definitions must apply to international law.  

 

The change in definition of "near foreign ports" and "distant foreign ports" still only applies to foreign flag vessels, not US flag vessels, and is merely a restriction on the type of voyage that a foreign flag vessel can perform and meet an exemption to the Act. 

 

The distinction between near and distant foreign ports has no meaning in international law. It's a US thing, a US definition. I can't see why the US is limited to laws about "a passenger vessel according to the the UN" and "not a passengeser vessel according to the UN" instead of making a law that does distinguish a duck boat from a cruise ship even if the UN has no proper definitions for either. 

 

 

On 5/12/2019 at 3:06 AM, chengkp75 said:

And what is the legal definition of "cruise ship"?  How would a judge know that a large ferry, which goes in the ocean between NYC and Connecticut (and there are some) is not a "cruise ship"?  And merely that the law made an exception for "cruise ships", US law does not allow for one company to benefit to the detriment of another.  The ferry operator says "I carry passengers, so does the cruise ship", why should I have to pay more and have more regulation than the cruise ship?

 

The lawmakers could even list the vessels they consider a "cruise ship" as there aren't too many and update the list yearly. It's obvious what a cruise ship is. A judge who hasn't been on a cruise can go to any website made to sell cruises, and all of them would list a few hundred cruise ships and won't show the ferries. Everyone, including judges, know what lawmakers would mean by saying "a cruise ship". And in time, judges might say that some ferries are actually meant as "cruise ships" because they have cabins, a casino and a swimming pool, and they might also decide that a trip less than 14 hours cannot be called a cruise because people use it for transportation only. 

 

 

On 5/12/2019 at 3:06 AM, chengkp75 said:

Why does the EU restrict coastwise trade to EU registered vessels?  For the very same reasons.

 

I'm no sure the EU restricts anything, but individual countries do. For the very same reasons that I don't like.

 

On 5/12/2019 at 3:06 AM, chengkp75 said:

And, you know, its all moot, since CLIA shows no inclination to amend or repeal the Act.  They don't care.

 

I could give an example why in my industry, all of my competitors are officialy "in favor" of a rule they really hate, which is bad for their customers as well, but it would take more than a few pages to explain. In private, after a few drinks, they hate it as much as I do.

 

CLIA may say they don't care about an act that forbids them from offering certain itineraries, while their members jump through absurd hoops to make some itineraries possible, "visiting" "distant foreign ports" for 2 hours. It would be much simpler and cheaper if not every salesperson would need a massive manual to decide if someone could disembark one port earlier. I don't know the real reasons, but I can't believe that the lines simply "don't care".  

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On 5/12/2019 at 11:48 PM, thinfool said:

Are you an America expat or are you Dutch?

And do you really care about the PVSA or do you just enjoy stirring the pot?

 

If my English makes you think I might be an expat, thank you 🙂

I do care about the PVSA as West Coast itineraries don't exist, and East Coast always need to sail to some boring island taking up half the cruise. "Stirring he pot" was not my intention, but you're not the first accusing me of trying to do so. Somehow, almost every time I ask a simple, sincere question people think I'm trolling. 

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38 minutes ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

If my English makes you think I might be an expat, thank you 🙂

I do care about the PVSA as West Coast itineraries don't exist, and East Coast always need to sail to some boring island taking up half the cruise. "Stirring he pot" was not my intention, but you're not the first accusing me of trying to do so. Somehow, almost every time I ask a simple, sincere question people think I'm trolling. 

Maybe because when you ask a "sincere" question, you tend to then argue with the answers given by people who are definitely "in the know", like chengkp75. That doesn't sound like a sincere question...it sounds like stirring the pot.

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On 5/12/2019 at 4:13 AM, AL3XCruise said:

In the US, at least, firms generally see any move to change a regulation as a possible prelude to changing related regulations.  Thus a chance to the PVSA would likely be opposed by industry groups representing airlines, rail systems, etc., not to mention unions representing their employees.

 

Any change of any rule will be bad for some and good for others. Maybe some airlines should be scared after the abolishment of PVSA because the cheap Hungarian airlines might be offering $20 flights next for flights from NY to SF. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Everyone except shareholders and employees of US airlines would be quite happy. Should Congress listen to the lobby of Delta Airlines, or should a representive represent the people who elected them, and who do like cheap flights?

 

But even without the slippery slope argument that the abolishment of PVSA might lead to other industries being impacted, the situation now is that the Chief has explained maybe 500 times what itineries can or can't be done and it's still mysterious, while dead people need to visit a far port first before being buried. Even if you think that a state should protect its own industry, there is not much to protect left.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, CruiserBruce said:

Maybe because when you ask a "sincere" question, you tend to then argue with the answers given by people who are definitely "in the know", like chengkp75. That doesn't sound like a sincere question...it sounds like stirring the pot.

 

I have been discussing PVSA with chengkp75 for ages and stopped doing so because it got useless, hopefully to agree that we disagree. The new thing was "the US is bound to international definitions of what a passenger vessel is, so once a cruise ship can do X, a duck boat can do X too" and I felt I should question that because I think that's simply not true. If that's stirring the pot, so be it.

Edited by AmazedByCruising

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1 hour ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

If my English makes you think I might be an expat, thank you 🙂

I do care about the PVSA as West Coast itineraries don't exist, and East Coast always need to sail to some boring island taking up half the cruise. "Stirring he pot" was not my intention, but you're not the first accusing me of trying to do so. Somehow, almost every time I ask a simple, sincere question people think I'm trolling. 

Interesting....the question remains...are you Dutch?  And if yes, why do you find the PVSA so fascinating?  I'm sure you know that there isn't much you or I can do about it other than whine a lot.

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10 hours ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

The distinction between near and distant foreign ports has no meaning in international law. It's a US thing, a US definition. I can't see why the US is limited to laws about "a passenger vessel according to the the UN" and "not a passengeser vessel according to the UN" instead of making a law that does distinguish a duck boat from a cruise ship even if the UN has no proper definitions for either. 

The distinction to be able to make a one way transportation on a foreign ship by going to a "distant" foreign port was a concession to allow some of these to be done by foreign ships, but with a restriction against using a "technical port stop" as some used to do in Ensenada where only the ship's paperwork actually entered the port.  As for the definition of a passenger vessel, if you say that a Panamanian cruise ship can make one way passages in the US, if I buy a small boat and offer one way passage to 15 people, serve food, sell drinks, and have a crew member sing bad karaoke, and flag it in Panama, I can petition the court that the law discriminates against me, keeping me from doing business, and I can involve the Panamanian government on my side, and now you've got an international disagreement, since both Panama and the US have signed treaties stating what a passenger vessel is.

 

10 hours ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

 

The lawmakers could even list the vessels they consider a "cruise ship" as there aren't too many and update the list yearly. It's obvious what a cruise ship is. A judge who hasn't been on a cruise can go to any website made to sell cruises, and all of them would list a few hundred cruise ships and won't show the ferries. Everyone, including judges, know what lawmakers would mean by saying "a cruise ship". And in time, judges might say that some ferries are actually meant as "cruise ships" because they have cabins, a casino and a swimming pool, and they might also decide that a trip less than 14 hours cannot be called a cruise because people use it for transportation only. 

Again, what you consider to be "common sense" as a definition of what a cruise vessel is, how is that applied legally?  Does the ship have to have a casino?  What about Disney ships that don't?  How big does the swimming pool have to be?  So, what you are saying is that this should eventually lead to ferries being allowed to flag out of the US, even though they never leave the US?

 

 

I'm no sure the EU restricts anything, but individual countries do. For the very same reasons that I don't like.

Trust me brother, they do.  If a ship wants to transport people or cargo from one port in an EU country to another port in the same EU country, it must be flagged to an EU member nation, unless it calls at another country in between.  Also, the EU grants "island service" or the right to carry people and cargo between the mainland of a member nation and an island of that nation to be that nation's decision as to whether to restrict that trade exclusively to that nation's flag or not.  These are EU laws, not individual nations, it used to be that every nation in Europe restricted cabotage to their own ships, at least now it is open to all member nations.

 

I could give an example why in my industry, all of my competitors are officialy "in favor" of a rule they really hate, which is bad for their customers as well, but it would take more than a few pages to explain. In private, after a few drinks, they hate it as much as I do.

 

CLIA may say they don't care about an act that forbids them from offering certain itineraries, while their members jump through absurd hoops to make some itineraries possible, "visiting" "distant foreign ports" for 2 hours. It would be much simpler and cheaper if not every salesperson would need a massive manual to decide if someone could disembark one port earlier. I don't know the real reasons, but I can't believe that the lines simply "don't care".  

Again, look at the attempts to do the cruises you want.  CLIA spent lots of money getting the exemption for Puerto Rico, and when it was granted, only Carnival started regular service one way from PR to the mainland, and that ended after a year or two due to low demand.  I think that CLIA and its member lines have done enough market research to know that offering PVSA cruises would not add to their bottom line sufficiently (as they have stated), and also are worried that any additional restrictions that might be placed on these ships to be allowed to offer PVSA cruises, would actually offset and negate any benefit to the bottom line.

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10 hours ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

If my English makes you think I might be an expat, thank you 🙂

I do care about the PVSA as West Coast itineraries don't exist, and East Coast always need to sail to some boring island taking up half the cruise. "Stirring he pot" was not my intention, but you're not the first accusing me of trying to do so. Somehow, almost every time I ask a simple, sincere question people think I'm trolling. 

You are free to take a cruise up the East Coast, you simply have to use a US flag ship.  They are out there.

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10 hours ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

Any change of any rule will be bad for some and good for others. Maybe some airlines should be scared after the abolishment of PVSA because the cheap Hungarian airlines might be offering $20 flights next for flights from NY to SF. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Everyone except shareholders and employees of US airlines would be quite happy. Should Congress listen to the lobby of Delta Airlines, or should a representive represent the people who elected them, and who do like cheap flights?

 

But even without the slippery slope argument that the abolishment of PVSA might lead to other industries being impacted, the situation now is that the Chief has explained maybe 500 times what itineries can or can't be done and it's still mysterious, while dead people need to visit a far port first before being buried. Even if you think that a state should protect its own industry, there is not much to protect left.

First off, you are mixing the PVSA with the Civil Aeronautics Act, both of which are cabotage laws, but which are separate.  I think that the legislators, by keeping the CAA and its follow on acts, and limiting domestic air travel to US airlines does a great job in protecting the safety of US citizens by not allowing airlines like Aeroflot to make domestic flights.  I think safety always outweighs price, but that's just me.

 

Yes, the CBP will levy a fine for a deceased passenger, but it is always refunded, as it is when a passenger is medically disembarked.  That is just the way bureaucracy operates.  As for the industry that the PVSA protects, again for the "500th time", it is not merely the cruise industry, but all passenger vessels.

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13 hours ago, AmazedByCruising said:

The lawmakers could even list the vessels they consider a "cruise ship" as there aren't too many and update the list yearly. It's obvious what a cruise ship is. A judge who hasn't been on a cruise can go to any website made to sell cruises, and all of them would list a few hundred cruise ships and won't show the ferries. Everyone, including judges, know what lawmakers would mean by saying "a cruise ship". And in time, judges might say that some ferries are actually meant as "cruise ships" because they have cabins, a casino and a swimming pool, and they might also decide that a trip less than 14 hours cannot be called a cruise because people use it for transportation only. 

 

Laws don't work that way.  You cannot use, everyone knows.  Look how well that worked with pornography laws.

 

Even with being explicit, one judge could decide the Oasis is not a cruise ship, as it is a floating town.  

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On 5/17/2019 at 3:42 AM, thinfool said:

Interesting....the question remains...are you Dutch?  And if yes, why do you find the PVSA so fascinating?  I'm sure you know that there isn't much you or I can do about it other than whine a lot.

 

I'm Dutch. The PVSA fascinates me because the original law was never meant to do what is does now. 

 

Nothing ever changes if nobody whines.  

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1 hour ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

I'm Dutch. The PVSA fascinates me because the original law was never meant to do what is does now. 

 

Nothing ever changes if nobody whines.  

Actually, the "original law" does exactly what it was originally meant to do.  Protect the safety of US citizens by requiring domestic passenger travel to be by US flag and regulated vessels.  Nothing has changed.  Casino boats, dinner cruises, and whale watching excursions were not thought of in the 1800's either, so why is cruising so different in your mind?

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On 5/17/2019 at 11:41 AM, chengkp75 said:

 I think that the legislators, by keeping the CAA and its follow on acts, and limiting domestic air travel to US airlines does a great job in protecting the safety of US citizens by not allowing airlines like Aeroflot to make domestic flights.  I think safety always outweighs price, but that's just me.

 

Yes, the CBP will levy a fine for a deceased passenger, but it is always refunded, as it is when a passenger is medically disembarked.  That is just the way bureaucracy operates.  As for the industry that the PVSA protects, again for the "500th time", it is not merely the cruise industry, but all passenger vessels.

 

Aeroflot is not necessarily more dangerous than Delta. In comparison, most of the ships are not All American either. In fact, Boeing is failing miserably lately when it comes to safety.

 

Re: dead pax. Imagine going to restaurant that presents you with a bill for a $5000 bottle of Champagne. You can ask for a refund because you only ordered two beers, but that's just how the restaurant operates. That's not a very good restaurant, is it?

 

On 5/17/2019 at 11:29 AM, chengkp75 said:

 

Again, what you consider to be "common sense" as a definition of what a cruise vessel is, how is that applied legally?  Does the ship have to have a casino?  What about Disney ships that don't?  How big does the swimming pool have to be?  So, what you are saying is that this should eventually lead to ferries being allowed to flag out of the US, even though they never leave the US?

 

 

Let me do a "what you are saying". What you are saying is that we don't want duckboats to fly a Maltese flag, but because the UN has a definition for a "passenger vessel" that puts cruiseships and a bananaboat in one category and that's why it's impossible to treat them differently. 

 

More than 500 passengers is easy to put into law. Yes, that might include ferries, good for them. It does exclude almost all of "passenger vessels" that are not cruise ships. An actual lawyer might come up with a rule that does make a 100% correct distinction between ships that transport people and ships that are meant to provide a vacation. The PVSA was certainly never meant to forbid vacations. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

Actually, the "original law" does exactly what it was originally meant to do.  Protect the safety of US citizens by requiring domestic passenger travel to be by US flag and regulated vessels.  Nothing has changed.  Casino boats, dinner cruises, and whale watching excursions were not thought of in the 1800's either, so why is cruising so different in your mind?

 

If it is about safety, exploding steam boats, then it's obviously outdated. There is absolutely no reason to think a ship built in Italy, flagged in Malta is less safe than a ship build in the US, flagged in the US. Actually, a Fincantieri ship sounds a lot safer than a ship build by an imaginary McJones Ship Builders, founded in 2018. Not sure why, but Americans simply don't build ships. Putting an US flag on a ship doesn't make it safe either.

 

If it's not about safety, it's only cabotage that could be a reason. Nowadays, people fly to the ship to embark, and fly back after disembarking. That's certainly different. Using a cruise for transportation is virtually impossible. 

 

So IMHO the only reasons to uphold the law are the casino boats and dinner cruises, and in return fantastic itineraries can't be done and people are sailing to a "far port" for no other reason than the PVSA. Who cares about casino boats? 

 

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10 hours ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

If it is about safety, exploding steam boats, then it's obviously outdated. There is absolutely no reason to think a ship built in Italy, flagged in Malta is less safe than a ship build in the US, flagged in the US. Actually, a Fincantieri ship sounds a lot safer than a ship build by an imaginary McJones Ship Builders, founded in 2018. Not sure why, but Americans simply don't build ships. Putting an US flag on a ship doesn't make it safe either.

 

If it's not about safety, it's only cabotage that could be a reason. Nowadays, people fly to the ship to embark, and fly back after disembarking. That's certainly different. Using a cruise for transportation is virtually impossible. 

 

So IMHO the only reasons to uphold the law are the casino boats and dinner cruises, and in return fantastic itineraries can't be done and people are sailing to a "far port" for no other reason than the PVSA. Who cares about casino boats? 

 

Well, I leave it at this, since I know you will never change your opinion.  The US has stricter regulations regarding training, certification, equipment standards and maintenance than the international conventions like SOLAS, just as Holland does for their flag ships like HAL, so to me that makes them safer at least in concept and in control.

 

Why doesn't the US build ships?  Because it is too expensive.  A major part of that is of course the labor cost, but there is also the cost of documentation of equipment (that it has been tested to certain standards), and the cost of inspection during construction by the USCG and other agencies.  As an example, for a tanker, much of the equipment must be certified to be safe to operate in explosive atmospheres (we, after all carry combustible, flammable, and explosive liquids in bulk).  In Europe, this equipment is given an "ATEX" rating, but in the US this equipment must meet NFPA and OSHA requirements, and ASTM as well.  You can look up all the abbreviations if you want, but the major difference is that the EU relies on the manufacturer to test the equipment and declare it conforms to ATEX, while in the US, the USCG requires a third party to test for compliance.

 

Who cares about casino boats?  I would say the many gamblers who use these boats for their recreation, the thousands of crew who man the boats, the families that are supported by these jobs, and the US economy that benefits from these jobs and those that support the boats.  What makes your choice of a cruise ship any more important than someone who chooses to go on casino boats, or watch whales, or have an anniversary dinner on the water as their preferred form of recreation?

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11 hours ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

Aeroflot is not necessarily more dangerous than Delta. In comparison, most of the ships are not All American either. In fact, Boeing is failing miserably lately when it comes to safety.

 

Re: dead pax. Imagine going to restaurant that presents you with a bill for a $5000 bottle of Champagne. You can ask for a refund because you only ordered two beers, but that's just how the restaurant operates. That's not a very good restaurant, is it?

 

 

 

Let me do a "what you are saying". What you are saying is that we don't want duckboats to fly a Maltese flag, but because the UN has a definition for a "passenger vessel" that puts cruiseships and a bananaboat in one category and that's why it's impossible to treat them differently. 

 

More than 500 passengers is easy to put into law. Yes, that might include ferries, good for them. It does exclude almost all of "passenger vessels" that are not cruise ships. An actual lawyer might come up with a rule that does make a 100% correct distinction between ships that transport people and ships that are meant to provide a vacation. The PVSA was certainly never meant to forbid vacations. 

 

 

And, the PVSA does not forbid vacations.  If a cruise line wants to offer vacations that cruise along the US coast, then they can follow the lead of American Cruise Lines, and Blount Adventure Cruises, and build ships in the US, and follow the restrictions of the PVSA.  If there was that much demand for US coastwise cruises, don't you think that these US flag carriers would have expanded their fleets, both to increase the shipbuilding capability/expertise in building passenger vessels, and to allow the size of their market and fleet to lower fares through competition?  If a mainstream cruise line put a large ship suddenly into the PVSA market, would there suddenly be that much demand for these cruises?  What if every line decided to jump in and build a large ship into the market (forgetting for now the US built requirement), would there be that much demand?  Who would get the fiscally sustainable share and who wouldn't?  You only need to look back at NCL's experiment in the PVSA trade, where they expanded their capacity far too quickly into a (at that time) very underused market, to see how that works.  Three ships in, and two ships back out in under 2 years, and $170 million a year in losses.

 

You say that putting an artificial limit on "500 passengers" would be easy to put into law.  However, that is easy to put into law for the US, but once you are dealing with international commerce (i.e. different countries' flag ships) you must have laws that are acceptable to those countries as well, as well as not passing laws that contravene international treaties.

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Posted (edited)

I apologize, when I said in my first post today that it would be my last on this thread, but consider these three posts as one, as I feel very passionate about this topic.  I do not want to come across as all xenophobic, and claiming that the US way is the best way.  There are many nations whose officers are trained to higher standards than required, and whose ships are inspected and regulated to standards above the minimum required by the IMO.  Holland, Germany, France, UK and Canada are just a few.  But suffice it to say that until the STCW convention went into effect in 1984, there was no international standard for granting anyone a Captain's license;  any nation could set their own requirements.  Even with the STCW convention, the IMO found it necessary to compile a "white list" of those nations who had been signatory to the convention, and who had demonstrated that they were in full compliance, and even as late as 2009, when the white list was published, only about 2/3 of the signatory nations were on the white list.  A recent article (last week) in a Greek shipping forum noted that the IMO sub-committee on the white list had found that even of those nations on the white list, 58% would be removed from the list if they were strictly held responsible for reporting practices.  This means that the IMO is relying on the member nations themselves to report whether they are or are not in compliance with training and competency standards.  While I don't know what nations would be considered for removal from the white list, the numbers are staggering.  Any mariner who has certification from a nation not on the white list, or any ship flagged in a country not on the white list may be denied entry into a nation's waters, inspected intensely, or detained.

 

So, yes, I do feel that nations who promulgate stricter regulations on training, certification, and safety have at least set the bar higher for safety than other "flags of convenience" nations.  Even Norway, which has two "ship's registries" the "NOR" (Norwegian Ordinary Registry), and the "NIS" (Norwegian International Ship Registry), and only those ships in the NOR can operate in coastwise trade due to stricter requirements.

Edited by chengkp75

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6 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

I apologize, when I said in my first post today that it would be my last on this thread, but consider these three posts as one, as I feel very passionate about this topic.  I do not want to come across as all xenophobic, and claiming that the US way is the best way.  There are many nations whose officers are trained to higher standards than required, and whose ships are inspected and regulated to standards above the minimum required by the IMO.  Holland, Germany, France, UK and Canada are just a few.  But suffice it to say that until the STCW convention went into effect in 1984, there was no international standard for granting anyone a Captain's license;  any nation could set their own requirements.  Even with the STCW convention, the IMO found it necessary to compile a "white list" of those nations who had been signatory to the convention, and who had demonstrated that they were in full compliance, and even as late as 2009, when the white list was published, only about 2/3 of the signatory nations were on the white list.  A recent article (last week) in a Greek shipping forum noted that the IMO sub-committee on the white list had found that even of those nations on the white list, 58% would be removed from the list if they were strictly held responsible for reporting practices.  This means that the IMO is relying on the member nations themselves to report whether they are or are not in compliance with training and competency standards.  While I don't know what nations would be considered for removal from the white list, the numbers are staggering.  Any mariner who has certification from a nation not on the white list, or any ship flagged in a country not on the white list may be denied entry into a nation's waters, inspected intensely, or detained.

 

So, yes, I do feel that nations who promulgate stricter regulations on training, certification, and safety have at least set the bar higher for safety than other "flags of convenience" nations.  Even Norway, which has two "ship's registries" the "NOR" (Norwegian Ordinary Registry), and the "NIS" (Norwegian International Ship Registry), and only those ships in the NOR can operate in coastwise trade due to stricter requirements.

All of this is important, and I appreciate your passion. But, does it really protect us? I'm sure the captain of the Costa ship who soiled the reputation of captains everywhere was subject to the strictest rules. However, when common sense goes out the window and ego prevails, what good are all the protections in the world.

 

And I do realize that he is an exception to what real captains are.

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