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Potential Permanent PVSA Exemption for Alaska Until ...


Ken the cruiser
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1 hour ago, chengkp75 said:

 

I'm not quite clear on your viewpoint.  First, you say that the PVSA harms US business "by resulting in ships being built, flagged, and crewed outside the US", and then you say that there is no loss to the US coastwise fleet (which is what the PVSA covers).  Then you say you would prefer the competition, which would harm those US businesses by competing with foreign businesses.  Though maybe its that the US businesses would benefit from being able to hire foreign crew, and operate ships at lower cost, and it would only hurt the US employees of those businesses that you find okay.

Sorry. Not going to debate you, on semantics or otherwise.  You have an opinion that is clearly engrained in the status quo.  Mine is not.  

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Here's a pretty in-depth article if you were interested in learning a little more about the various facets of the PVSA and how it relates to cruising.

 

What is the Passenger Vessel Services Act and How Does it Impact Cruises? (cruisehive.com)

 

For example did you know ...

 

Many cruise lines are accused of flying a “flag of convenience” as opposed to a flag of the company’s origin. This is simply because it’s true, and few companies would bother to deny it.

 

This is a long-standing practice that was started by passenger liners and ferries because of prohibition laws in the 1920s when American-flagged ships couldn’t serve alcohol. Using a different flag allowed them to serve alcohol in international waters.

 

 

Edited by Ken the cruiser
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4 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

Here's a pretty in-depth article if you were interested in learning a little more about the various facets of the PVSA and how it relates to cruising.

 

What is the Passenger Vessel Services Act and How Does it Impact Cruises? (cruisehive.com)

 

For example did you know ...

 

Many cruise lines are accused of flying a “flag of convenience” as opposed to a flag of the company’s origin. This is simply because it’s true, and few companies would bother to deny it.

 

This is a long-standing practice that was started by passenger liners and ferries because of prohibition laws in the 1920s when American-flagged ships couldn’t serve alcohol. Using a different flag allowed them to serve alcohol in international waters.

 

 

The use of flags of convenience was started, at the suggestion of the US government, during WW1, to keep US ships safe while transiting the war zone.  The ship was owned by US citizens, but flying the Panamanian flag made them neutral.

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The article also perpetuates the misconception that in order to be a US flag vessel, it must be built in the US.  This is not true, as witness Maersk Lines, Ltd, a US subsidiary of the AP Moeller Group (one of the largest container lines in the world), that operates 25 US flag vessels of various types, all of which have been built overseas.  The only ships required to be built in the US are those that wish to operate in Jones Act or PVSA trade.  US flag ships that trade internationally can be built anywhere.  I've served on several.  This just goes to  show that even when someone is supposedly researching the PVSA, they can get basic facts wrong.

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On 9/28/2021 at 6:34 AM, D C said:

Sorry. Not going to debate you, on semantics or otherwise.  You have an opinion that is clearly engrained in the status quo.  Mine is not.  

Or more that you really do not care about the people working on those ships today and would not mind at all if their jobs went away as long as it benefits you and your cruising choices. chengkp75 is clearly in favor of those people currently working on US ships, their jobs and livelihood.

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59 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

The use of flags of convenience was started, at the suggestion of the US government, during WW1, to keep US ships safe while transiting the war zone.  The ship was owned by US citizens, but flying the Panamanian flag made them neutral.

I don’t know. From what I can find, the author seems to have done the research in this area. Here’s an article that references the use of flags of convenience starting in 1920.

 

The practice of using flags of convenience began during the Prohibition era when the US banned the transport of alcohol for human consumption and shipping companies looked for alternative business options. That period extended from 1920 until 1933 and led to many shipping companies registering their vessels in Panama in an attempt to bypass the legislation.

 

Flags of convenience became more widely used following World War II with the expansion of the maritime trade. By offering registration as a commodity, several small nations saw opportunity in providing low registration fees, relaxed regulation, an easy registration process, and reduced standards surrounding inspection, employment and other conditions. These nations include well-groomed tax havens like Bermuda and states like Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Marshall Islands. Many of these countries have little to no ability to control the behaviour of the ships’ owners or captains.

 

https://www.bairdmaritime.com/work-boat-world/passenger-vessel-world/cruise/feature-flags-of-convenience-and-the-coronavirus-cruise-ship-debacle/

 

Also, Wikipedia mentions the use of flags of convenience in 1920 as well, but makes no reference to WW1. Not saying you’re incorrect, I just can’t find any earlier reference when doing an internet search.

 

The modern practice of ships being registered in a foreign country began in the 1920s in the United States when shipowners seeking to serve alcohol to passengers during Prohibition registered their ships in Panama. 
 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_convenience
 

 

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1 hour ago, chengkp75 said:

The article also perpetuates the misconception that in order to be a US flag vessel, it must be built in the US.  This is not true, as witness Maersk Lines, Ltd, a US subsidiary of the AP Moeller Group (one of the largest container lines in the world), that operates 25 US flag vessels of various types, all of which have been built overseas.  The only ships required to be built in the US are those that wish to operate in Jones Act or PVSA trade.  US flag ships that trade internationally can be built anywhere.  I've served on several.  This just goes to  show that even when someone is supposedly researching the PVSA, they can get basic facts wrong.

But her article is written only with regards to cruise ships and the PVSA and also briefly mentions the Jones Act towards the end as it pertains to cruise ships. I’m not quite sure why you trying to throw muddy water on this article with facts outside the scope of her article?

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17 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

I don’t know. From what I can find, the author seems to have done the research in this area. Here’s an article that references the use of flags of convenience starting in 1920.

 

The practice of using flags of convenience began during the Prohibition era when the US banned the transport of alcohol for human consumption and shipping companies looked for alternative business options. That period extended from 1920 until 1933 and led to many shipping companies registering their vessels in Panama in an attempt to bypass the legislation.

 

Flags of convenience became more widely used following World War II with the expansion of the maritime trade. By offering registration as a commodity, several small nations saw opportunity in providing low registration fees, relaxed regulation, an easy registration process, and reduced standards surrounding inspection, employment and other conditions. These nations include well-groomed tax havens like Bermuda and states like Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Marshall Islands. Many of these countries have little to no ability to control the behaviour of the ships’ owners or captains.

 

https://www.bairdmaritime.com/work-boat-world/passenger-vessel-world/cruise/feature-flags-of-convenience-and-the-coronavirus-cruise-ship-debacle/

 

Also, Wikipedia mentions the use of flags of convenience in 1920 as well, but makes no reference to WW1. Not saying you’re incorrect, I just can’t find any earlier reference when doing an internet search.

 

The modern practice of ships being registered in a foreign country began in the 1920s in the United States when shipowners seeking to serve alcohol to passengers during Prohibition registered their ships in Panama. 
 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_convenience
 

 

Concerning Panama for example

 

"Initially when the registry was developed the government limited vessel registrations to ships owned by Panamanian citizens, but by 1916 this had changed and registration was open to any Panamanian-registered corporation, even if owned by a foreigner. This created a unique opportunity for ship owners to register in Panama, and to aid in the attractiveness Panama made English-language contracts legally binding and held in the exact same regard as the Spanish versions."

 

Now your reference might be correct in that it refers to not all flag of convenience but modern practice as explained by this paragraph.

 

Carlisle also notes that the system in Panama became streamlined in the 1920s, and with this reformed legal structure Panama transitioned from “an accidentally discovered haven . . . into a more formal system, specifically and consciously designed to attract shipping,” at which point the state became a true open registry.2

 

So flags of convenience was done before 1920 during WW1, but  the modern business of intentionally trying to attract ships to register in countries was a follow-on picking up speed in the 1920's.

 

https://www.oceanfdn.org/sites/default/files/Gregory_georgetown.pdf referring to

 

Carlisle, Rodney P. Sovereignty for Sale: The Origins and Evolution of the Panamanian and Liberian Flags of Convenience. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1981.

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6 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

But her article is written only with regards to cruise ships and the PVSA and also briefly mentions the Jones Act towards the end as it pertains to cruise ships. I’m not quite sure why you trying to throw muddy water on this article with facts outside the scope of her article?

Here is the exact quote from the article:

"To become an American ship, the entire ship must be assembled in the US and hold primarily US crews. That’s a ship that sailed a long time ago, if you’ll pardon the pun."

 

This is not true, even for cruise ships, witness the POA.  She could, if NCL wanted, sell cruises that went from Florida to the Caribbean, and still fly the US flag.  Any cruise line that wanted to, could take their foreign built cruise ships, flag them in the US, and offer the same cruises that they offer today.  There is nothing stopping a cruise line from having US flag ships, certainly not being foreign built.  If the author had said that to sail strictly domestic itineraries, the ships have to be US built, then that would be true.

 

The other thing the author conveniently forgets to mention is the fact that the cruise lines have added clauses to their ticket contract, so that if the line is fined under the PVSA, they are entitled to pass that fine on to the passenger.  The author mentions how this fine could be massive for a large ship, but doesn't mention this pass through.

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6 minutes ago, nocl said:

So flags of convenience was done before 1920 during WW1, but  the modern business of intentionally trying to attract ships to register in countries was a follow-on picking up speed in the 1920's.

Even earlier. Per a Wikipedia article on Flag of Convenience (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_convenience), the practise dates back to the Roman era, and in the United States to the American Revolutionary War. An excerpt:

 

Merchant ships have used false flags as a tactic to evade enemy warships since antiquity, and examples can be found from as early as the Roman era through to the Middle Ages.[22] Following the American Revolutionary War, merchantmen flying the flag of the fledgling United States quickly found it offered little protection against attack by Barbary pirates – many responded by seeking to transfer their registry back to Great Britain. The use of false flags was frequently used as a ruse de guerre by the British during the Napoleonic Wars and the United States during the War of 1812.[4] During the mid-19th century, slave ships flew various flags to avoid being searched by British anti-slavery fleets.[23] The Belen Quezada, in August 1919, was the first foreign ship to be re-registered in the Panamanian registry, and was employed in running illegal alcohol between Canada and the United States during Prohibition.[24] The modern practice of registering ships in foreign countries to gain economic advantage originated in the United States in the era of World War I, though the term "flag of convenience" did not come into use until the 1950s.[25]

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55 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

Here is the exact quote from the article:

"To become an American ship, the entire ship must be assembled in the US and hold primarily US crews. That’s a ship that sailed a long time ago, if you’ll pardon the pun."

 

This is not true, even for cruise ships, witness the POA.  She could, if NCL wanted, sell cruises that went from Florida to the Caribbean, and still fly the US flag.  Any cruise line that wanted to, could take their foreign built cruise ships, flag them in the US, and offer the same cruises that they offer today.  There is nothing stopping a cruise line from having US flag ships, certainly not being foreign built.  If the author had said that to sail strictly domestic itineraries, the ships have to be US built, then that would be true.

 

But I got the impression she did state that, maybe not as precisely as you would have liked, in the preceding paragraph indirectly referencing the Alaska shutdown associated with foreign flagged cruise ships caused by Canada shutting her ports because of COVID. She wrote:

 

Now, with some of the COVID restrictions (which I believe she is referring to the closed Canadian ports), foreign-flagged ships were not allowed to continue service while American-flagged may be able to, which makes you wonder why they don’t just change their flags. That brings us to the reason they have “flags of convenience.” They can’t.

 

To become an American ship, the entire ship must be assembled in the US and hold primarily US crews. That’s a ship that sailed a long time ago, if you’ll pardon the pun. (which I believe she is referring to strictly domestic itineraries like from Seattle to Seward, Seward to Seattle, and Seattle to Seattle to name a few combinations which could not be accomplished unless it was a US flagged ship)

 

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On 9/19/2021 at 2:31 PM, jagoffee said:

 

Occasionally I forget the PVSA is too confusing for me, because I thought for sure that a technical stop could be used under certain circumstances.  I need to quit posting about this topic.

It’s confusing to me also and I think a lot of other people.

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4 minutes ago, OZ. said:

It’s confusing to me also and I think a lot of other people.

That's why I thought the article was interesting and did a fair job with the major points of the PVSA from an overview point of view for those of us sitting over in the peanut gallery.

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1 minute ago, Ken the cruiser said:

That's why I thought the article was interesting and did a fair job with the major points of the PVSA from an overview point of view for those of us sitting over in the peanut gallery.

It did help, but the whole thing can still be confusing for some of us.

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Just now, OZ. said:

It did help, but the whole thing can still be confusing for some of us.

True. But little by little, especially with the thoughtful and very knowledgeable inputs from @chengkp75 and others over these past many, many months, it's getting a little clearer. Clear enough to know there is no simple answers. 😎

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1 hour ago, Ken the cruiser said:

True. But little by little, especially with the thoughtful and very knowledgeable inputs from @chengkp75 and others over these past many, many months, it's getting a little clearer. Clear enough to know there is no simple answers. 😎

 

The thing is, I'd argue the actual PVSA, 46 U.S. Code § 55103, is incredibly simple and easy to understand. 

 

(a) In General.—Except as otherwise provided in this chapter or chapter 121 of this title, a vessel may not transport passengers between ports or places in the United States to which the coastwise laws apply, either directly or via a foreign port, unless the vessel—
(1) is wholly owned by citizens of the United States for purposes of engaging in the coastwise trade; and
(2) has been issued a certificate of documentation with a coastwise endorsement under chapter 121 or is exempt from documentation but would otherwise be eligible for such a certificate and endorsement.
(b)Penalty.—
The penalty for violating subsection (a) is $300 for each passenger transported and landed.
 
 
Yes, you have to go to Chapter 121 to find what qualifies for a coastwise endorsement but it's still not that hard. 
 
The problem is that there are multiple other sections in the Code of Federal Regulations that also relate to passenger vessels that have nothing to do with the actual language of the PVSA. But the same proponent (CBP) is responsible for the entire section of the CFR. That incudes things like distant foreign ports (specifically prohibited in the language of the actual law) and closed loop cruises (not addressed at all). The issue with closed loop cruises (without foreign stops) are taxes and immigration, NOT the PVSA. But it all gets lumped together, including by the author of the article you quoted, Ken.
 
The only reason distant foreign port stops are allowed is an Attorney General's ruling in the early 20th century, and one court case upholding that ruling, that the purpose of a round the world cruise (in that case) wasn't transportation, but recreation. Quite frankly, the easiest thing to do would be for Congress to codify that ruling for cruise ships. But I honestly don't think that would change anything because the tax and immigration issues are the real concern, beautifully sidestepped in this year's Alaska legislation.
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23 minutes ago, markeb said:

But I honestly don't think that would change anything because the tax and immigration issues are the real concern, beautifully sidestepped in this year's Alaska legislation.

 

This is where you make the critical error.   The tax and immigration issues are being treated the same way viz a viz as they would be currently (or pre-covid).   Nothing more is gained or lost (to those who would collect such taxes )except for the re-distribution of cruising booty ($4billion annually) more going back to the US ports, so that Seattle and the WC get a larger proportion of the current cruising revenue at current capacities.   It is folly to think that other foreign states or bad guys will suddenly appear with a cruise ship and paying passengers from another country ready to crash our ports,  it is just not going to happen as this part of the sky is definitely going to come falling down.

 

So,  you cannot defend any argument which says that there will be tax or immigration or duty sales tax issue because they are being dealt with in the corresponding legislature.   They are being dealt with and you will have no worries.

 

In other words,  it was beautifully sidestepped because the law is obsolete for this century,   cruising came into existence in the 60's and was 'Grandfathered' into the web of leftover PVSA coastline transportation law.  It needs to be updated to reflect the times so that the itineraries are not restricted as they have been,  including B2B's.   I'd be happy to spend the extra day skipping V&V and just circum-navigating Vancouver Island in the long days of summer,  as one alternative.

 

Covid 19 exposed the vulnerability of the US and Alaskan economies to its PVSA laws and when Canada closed ports there was no choice but to make the changes and the extension or waiver will probably be extended if not replaced by the bills in play.

 

 

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3 hours ago, JRG said:

So,  you cannot defend any argument which says that there will be tax or immigration or duty sales tax issue because they are being dealt with in the corresponding legislature.   They are being dealt with and you will have no worries.

 

 

I was talking about as is, and the reality that the PVSA is actually not the primary concern on closed loop cruises, which are actually not subject to the PVSA. It may or may not change in the future, but it's the law of the US today.

 

Foreign nationals on crew visas cannot work in the US. It's the situation that prevents German crews on a Lufthansa flight from changing to United and flying from IAD to DEN. And it's the same premise that prevents US citizen United crews from flying Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Milan. All of that could change, but it hasn't, and NONE of it has anything to do with the PVSA. And it's the actual issue on closed loop cruises, not the PVSA, which only applies to transport from one US port to another.

 

And arguably you're reinforcing my point that people can't differentiate the PVSA from other aspects of US law and the CFR that impact cruising.

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On 9/24/2021 at 3:31 PM, chengkp75 said:

And, the PVSA is intended to keep passengers on passenger vessels (note I said passenger vessels, not cruise vessels, because it does not only apply to cruise ships) safer and our waterways cleaner, and does so by making every single passenger vessel, from a 12 person charter fishing boat to the Pride of America, that operates exclusively in the US adhere to stricter USCG regulations than the foreign ships must meet.  It also keeps several hundred thousand US citizens employed, and hundreds of millions of dollars added to the US economy and the tax rolls.

Let me ask you this question.

 

Owing to which protected cruise ships in the US do we have "safer or cleaner waterways"?  Does the PoA have a different emissions system?  Nope.  In fact, more recently built foreign-flagged ships are much more fuel and emissions efficient than PoA can ever be.  And that's because you keep your environment (incl. water) clean not through an outdated protective law - but rather modern, focused environmental laws like those in Norway and Europe that have necessitated the building of cleaner ships.

 

Secondly, all it takes to go around the PVSA is adding a foreign port.  These foreign flagged ships are still operating in the US waters, skirting the same 'laws', and employing the same pool of international workers.  All while adding billions to the economies of the likes of Mexico and Bahamas.

 

Thirdly, which hundreds of thousands of US employees are currently employed by cruise ships?  The one ship that has them struggles to keep that staff on board because most US workers considering working on a cruise ship only transitory - at 2x-5x the costs.   Just because you can employ a US worker for a certain job doesn't mean you should.  The cruise product is so beloved partly because the US consumers love the pampering vacations - and they don't see any semblance of it at the pricey US resorts where the workers are mostly Americans. 

 

If you want to protect other non-recreational/transport vessels with this law, make the law specific to them. 

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6 hours ago, intr3pid said:

Let me ask you this question.

 

Owing to which protected cruise ships in the US do we have "safer or cleaner waterways"?  Does the PoA have a different emissions system?  Nope.  In fact, more recently built foreign-flagged ships are much more fuel and emissions efficient than PoA can ever be.  And that's because you keep your environment (incl. water) clean not through an outdated protective law - but rather modern, focused environmental laws like those in Norway and Europe that have necessitated the building of cleaner ships.

 

Secondly, all it takes to go around the PVSA is adding a foreign port.  These foreign flagged ships are still operating in the US waters, skirting the same 'laws', and employing the same pool of international workers.  All while adding billions to the economies of the likes of Mexico and Bahamas.

 

Thirdly, which hundreds of thousands of US employees are currently employed by cruise ships?  The one ship that has them struggles to keep that staff on board because most US workers considering working on a cruise ship only transitory - at 2x-5x the costs.   Just because you can employ a US worker for a certain job doesn't mean you should.  The cruise product is so beloved partly because the US consumers love the pampering vacations - and they don't see any semblance of it at the pricey US resorts where the workers are mostly Americans. 

 

If you want to protect other non-recreational/transport vessels with this law, make the law specific to them. 

First off, your entire premise is built on the incorrect assumption that the PVSA only applies to cruise ships.  It doesn't.  And, in your last sentence, you say we should carve out cruise ships from other passenger vessels.  The problem with this, is that under SOLAS, to which the US is signatory, a passenger vessel is defined as any vessel that carries more than 12 people for hire.  Now, since the US is signatory to SOLAS, that means the US is required to, and has, passed laws that incorporate the wording of SOLAS into US law.  If we change the definition of "passenger vessel" to make a new category for cruise ships, we would no longer be in compliance with SOLAS.  And, what about the existing cruise vessels (that apparently you disregard as being too small, or whatever, that are US flag, and already serve not only Alaska, but other areas of the US with domestic cruises?).

 

I will debate with you that newer ships are more efficient and with less emissions than POA, but lets forget that, because no maritime regulation is made to be retroactive.  While Norway has passed legislation requiring ships with less emissions into certain waters, I am not aware of any in Europe in general, perhaps you could list them?  And, just because a nation has "focused environmental" laws, does not mean that ships will comply with them at all times.  An example of how having US flag domestic passenger vessels will keep our waterways safer and cleaner can be easily seen when you compare compliance inspections between US flag cruise ships and foreign flag cruise ships.  The foreign flag cruise ship abides by the law of the flag state, which generally requires that the class surveyor (who is paid by the cruise line for this service) inspect the ship at least once a year for compliance with SOLAS (safety), MARPOL (pollution), STCW (training and competency), and other conventions.  When that ship is in US waters, the USCG has the right to board and inspect that ship every time it enters the US, but budgetary constraints means that the USCG has a target of inspecting every ship once a year, but that target is not mandatory.  A US flag passenger vessel, on the other hand, has the USCG inspect for the things outlined above (and the line does not pay them for it), and it must be done four times a year.  And, the regulations that US flag vessels operate under are stricter than what the USCG can enforce on the foreign flag ships.  Which system do you think will catch environmental or safety non-compliance better?  What cruise line has been fined for many violations of environmental regulations, going back many years?

 

You really think that the foreign port calls place "billions" into those countries' economies?

 

As for those employed in the PVSA trade, again look at my first paragraph, and the international law definition of "passenger vessel" before you disregard them.  I stress "international law" or "maritime law", as once you involve a foreign flag ship in your legislation, you enter into "maritime law" as this involves two nations.  Then, you would have the Staten Island Ferry reflagging their vessels, and saying, "under international law, we are passenger vessels, and therefore we should be able to operate in NY harbor under our new flag, with a foreign crew, and not pay US taxes, since you allow other foreign flag passenger vessels to do so", and what would be the legal justification for denying their demand?  It would be granted on the basis of any "carving out" of cruise ships as "unfair competition".

 

And, finally, it all comes down to your statement:

 

"The cruise product is so beloved partly because the US consumers love the pampering vacations - and they don't see any semblance of it at the pricey US resorts where the workers are mostly Americans."

 

This is what it's all about, my comfort, and my ability to have a cheap vacation, and to heck with all else.

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The time for hyperbole has come and gone.(I hope).   The facts that remain are that legislature is addressing the very issues about PVSA that adversely affect cruising and US port economies.   Most of the talking points have been championed already and are now beyond worthwhile discussion with the naysayers.    

 

Nobody has been able to "Pull out the Sword from the Stone",   that is,   explaining how PVSA helps cruising,  it doesn't.   

 

It's time for the naysayers who oppose updating the law to finally, (metaphorically speaking) , Fall on the Sword and admit that the times have changed and they have been wrong about their opinions on PVSA,   and now is the time to jump on the winning bandwagon.

 

 

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10 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

First off, your entire premise is built on the incorrect assumption that the PVSA only applies to cruise ships.  It doesn't.  And, in your last sentence, you say we should carve out cruise ships from other passenger vessels.  The problem with this, is that under SOLAS, to which the US is signatory, a passenger vessel is defined as any vessel that carries more than 12 people for hire.  Now, since the US is signatory to SOLAS, that means the US is required to, and has, passed laws that incorporate the wording of SOLAS into US law.  If we change the definition of "passenger vessel" to make a new category for cruise ships, we would no longer be in compliance with SOLAS.  And, what about the existing cruise vessels (that apparently you disregard as being too small, or whatever, that are US flag, and already serve not only Alaska, but other areas of the US with domestic cruises?).

 

I will debate with you that newer ships are more efficient and with less emissions than POA, but lets forget that, because no maritime regulation is made to be retroactive.  While Norway has passed legislation requiring ships with less emissions into certain waters, I am not aware of any in Europe in general, perhaps you could list them?  And, just because a nation has "focused environmental" laws, does not mean that ships will comply with them at all times.  An example of how having US flag domestic passenger vessels will keep our waterways safer and cleaner can be easily seen when you compare compliance inspections between US flag cruise ships and foreign flag cruise ships.  The foreign flag cruise ship abides by the law of the flag state, which generally requires that the class surveyor (who is paid by the cruise line for this service) inspect the ship at least once a year for compliance with SOLAS (safety), MARPOL (pollution), STCW (training and competency), and other conventions.  When that ship is in US waters, the USCG has the right to board and inspect that ship every time it enters the US, but budgetary constraints means that the USCG has a target of inspecting every ship once a year, but that target is not mandatory.  A US flag passenger vessel, on the other hand, has the USCG inspect for the things outlined above (and the line does not pay them for it), and it must be done four times a year.  And, the regulations that US flag vessels operate under are stricter than what the USCG can enforce on the foreign flag ships.  Which system do you think will catch environmental or safety non-compliance better?  What cruise line has been fined for many violations of environmental regulations, going back many years?

 

You really think that the foreign port calls place "billions" into those countries' economies?

 

As for those employed in the PVSA trade, again look at my first paragraph, and the international law definition of "passenger vessel" before you disregard them.  I stress "international law" or "maritime law", as once you involve a foreign flag ship in your legislation, you enter into "maritime law" as this involves two nations.  Then, you would have the Staten Island Ferry reflagging their vessels, and saying, "under international law, we are passenger vessels, and therefore we should be able to operate in NY harbor under our new flag, with a foreign crew, and not pay US taxes, since you allow other foreign flag passenger vessels to do so", and what would be the legal justification for denying their demand?  It would be granted on the basis of any "carving out" of cruise ships as "unfair competition".

 

And, finally, it all comes down to your statement:

 

"The cruise product is so beloved partly because the US consumers love the pampering vacations - and they don't see any semblance of it at the pricey US resorts where the workers are mostly Americans."

 

This is what it's all about, my comfort, and my ability to have a cheap vacation, and to heck with all else.

First of all,  your entire argument is hinged on a supposed inability to change the wordings of a law that interlocks with another that has 160+ signatories, the vast majority of which have no PVSA equivalent.  Australia, for example, has one of the highest per capita cruise penetration in the world without an old protective law  I hope there is a better argument here than that it's "too difficult to change the wording".

 

Let's talk about your reference to USCG inspection rights on ships.  USCG has no expertise nor experience in creating, upholding, and enforcing environmental standards without appropriate  environmental oversight.  Their right to board a vessel is irrelevant if the standards they are operating with are antiquated in the first place.  Both Norway and Germany have design boards whose crafty laws have resulted in much more environmentally friendly ships being built today.  An abstract PVSA theory might exist in the US textbooks - the actual results of proper environmental oversight are found elsewhere.  

 

As for the ships being caught violating the environmental standards, how long do you think that went on before it was caught?  Let's refer to the Alaskan dumps.  How long?  Years - almost half a decade.  Before anyone noticed.  And even then it was a whistleblower.  It proves (A) how incompetent such governance is in the US waters and (B) why the PVSA has achieved almost nothing to date on its own to prevent such acts from happening. 

 

"But, but, these ships weren't PVSA governed?"  Well, I got news - 99% of the cruise ships in the US waters aren't.  99% of the times the law will do nothing to stop such violations from happening.

 

As for the Staten Island ferry example, is the premise here that the ferry will think of a cruise ship as unfair competition?  Because a cruise ship is ferrying passengers between two NYC islands?  That there is no way to change the wording of a law that saw exemptions provided and passed by the legislators in a matter of weeks this year for Alaska?

 

-----------------------------------------

 

"This is what it's all about, my comfort, and my ability to have a cheap vacation, and to heck with all else."

 

Ahh, the strawman. 

 

Your smartphone has 90% of the manufacturing labor sourced from Asia.  The clothes you are wearing have 70% of the work completed in the likes of Mexico and Bangladesh.  The computer you are typing your posts from has sky high foreign content.  Do you ever care to ask why these products are so affordable yet super useful? 

 

Theory of comparative advantage.  Economics 101.  Who is better at doing what.  Yes, I absolutely want an affordable vacation - a better vacation - where a superior service is provided more cost effectively.  I don't want an antiquated law determining where my hard-earned money goes - or whose out-of-date skills I have to protect.

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2 hours ago, intr3pid said:

First of all,  your entire argument is hinged on a supposed inability to change the wordings of a law that interlocks with another that has 160+ signatories, the vast majority of which have no PVSA equivalent.  Australia, for example, has one of the highest per capita cruise penetration in the world without an old protective law  I hope there is a better argument here than that it's "too difficult to change the wording".

 

Let's talk about your reference to USCG inspection rights on ships.  USCG has no expertise nor experience in creating, upholding, and enforcing environmental standards without appropriate  environmental oversight.  Their right to board a vessel is irrelevant if the standards they are operating with are antiquated in the first place.  Both Norway and Germany have design boards whose crafty laws have resulted in much more environmentally friendly ships being built today.  An abstract PVSA theory might exist in the US textbooks - the actual results of proper environmental oversight are found elsewhere.  

 

As for the ships being caught violating the environmental standards, how long do you think that went on before it was caught?  Let's refer to the Alaskan dumps.  How long?  Years - almost half a decade.  Before anyone noticed.  And even then it was a whistleblower.  It proves (A) how incompetent such governance is in the US waters and (B) why the PVSA has achieved almost nothing to date on its own to prevent such acts from happening. 

 

"But, but, these ships weren't PVSA governed?"  Well, I got news - 99% of the cruise ships in the US waters aren't.  99% of the times the law will do nothing to stop such violations from happening.

 

As for the Staten Island ferry example, is the premise here that the ferry will think of a cruise ship as unfair competition?  Because a cruise ship is ferrying passengers between two NYC islands?  That there is no way to change the wording of a law that saw exemptions provided and passed by the legislators in a matter of weeks this year for Alaska?

 

-----------------------------------------

 

"This is what it's all about, my comfort, and my ability to have a cheap vacation, and to heck with all else."

 

Ahh, the strawman. 

 

Your smartphone has 90% of the manufacturing labor sourced from Asia.  The clothes you are wearing have 70% of the work completed in the likes of Mexico and Bangladesh.  The computer you are typing your posts from has sky high foreign content.  Do you ever care to ask why these products are so affordable yet super useful? 

 

Theory of comparative advantage.  Economics 101.  Who is better at doing what.  Yes, I absolutely want an affordable vacation - a better vacation - where a superior service is provided more cost effectively.  I don't want an antiquated law determining where my hard-earned money goes - or whose out-of-date skills I have to protect.

Thankfully this has finally been resolved.

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19 hours ago, intr3pid said:

Secondly, all it takes to go around the PVSA is adding a foreign port.

 

Even if you die on a ship, you can't simply be flown back before having visited a foreign port without a fine for the company. The whole concept of "transportation of people" is completely obsolete when most passengers fly to their ship to embark, and fly back after disembarkation. 

 

The law originally and officially meant to make sure steamboats were safe, and I do doubt that that was the real reason for making it a law as lobbying is not a recent invention. I guess the owners of gambling ships back then didn't want their ship to explode either. 

 

Now, in the cruise line business (not the duck boats, not the ferries, I think your lawmakers are perfectly able to make a distinction), it protects jobs that don't exist. At the same time, there could have been a thriving Miami-like industry to supply the ships to make West Coast cruises happen. Unfortunately it's so much easier to see a job that could be lost than it is to see how many new jobs could have been created. It's also hard to convince voters that some of their vacation options are stolen if they didn't have them in the first place.

 

A super-waver,  simply saying "ships that are on the list of officially accepted cruise ships, which is overseen by our important Committee that can decide that a duck boat is not a cruise ship but MS Rotterdam is, can hire whoever they want, can be built anywhere in there world, and we don't care about their itineraries."

 

Recent Covid-laws did simply include a list of ships. Those "experimental" laws will show all unwanted results and welcomed results. I'm convinced that the current waivers won't lead to job losses, threats to the environment,  or threats to the safety of guests. Let's see how it works out.

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2 hours ago, intr3pid said:

First of all,  your entire argument is hinged on a supposed inability to change the wordings of a law that interlocks with another that has 160+ signatories, the vast majority of which have no PVSA equivalent.  Australia, for example, has one of the highest per capita cruise penetration in the world without an old protective law  I hope there is a better argument here than that it's "too difficult to change the wording".

 

Let's talk about your reference to USCG inspection rights on ships.  USCG has no expertise nor experience in creating, upholding, and enforcing environmental standards without appropriate  environmental oversight.  Their right to board a vessel is irrelevant if the standards they are operating with are antiquated in the first place.  Both Norway and Germany have design boards whose crafty laws have resulted in much more environmentally friendly ships being built today.  An abstract PVSA theory might exist in the US textbooks - the actual results of proper environmental oversight are found elsewhere.  

 

As for the ships being caught violating the environmental standards, how long do you think that went on before it was caught?  Let's refer to the Alaskan dumps.  How long?  Years - almost half a decade.  Before anyone noticed.  And even then it was a whistleblower.  It proves (A) how incompetent such governance is in the US waters and (B) why the PVSA has achieved almost nothing to date on its own to prevent such acts from happening. 

 

"But, but, these ships weren't PVSA governed?"  Well, I got news - 99% of the cruise ships in the US waters aren't.  99% of the times the law will do nothing to stop such violations from happening.

 

As for the Staten Island ferry example, is the premise here that the ferry will think of a cruise ship as unfair competition?  Because a cruise ship is ferrying passengers between two NYC islands?  That there is no way to change the wording of a law that saw exemptions provided and passed by the legislators in a matter of weeks this year for Alaska?

 

-----------------------------------------

 

"This is what it's all about, my comfort, and my ability to have a cheap vacation, and to heck with all else."

 

Ahh, the strawman. 

 

Your smartphone has 90% of the manufacturing labor sourced from Asia.  The clothes you are wearing have 70% of the work completed in the likes of Mexico and Bangladesh.  The computer you are typing your posts from has sky high foreign content.  Do you ever care to ask why these products are so affordable yet super useful? 

 

Theory of comparative advantage.  Economics 101.  Who is better at doing what.  Yes, I absolutely want an affordable vacation - a better vacation - where a superior service is provided more cost effectively.  I don't want an antiquated law determining where my hard-earned money goes - or whose out-of-date skills I have to protect.

You make some good points. But I guess the question would then be “who” is going to “create the air of motivation” to actually accomplish what you suggest as it would be no small task to “modernize” the PVSA. As an wise old tech controller told me one time, it’s easy to draw a line between two points. It’s an entirely different effort to make electrons flow through that line.

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