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Would this violate PVSA?

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1 hour ago, BlerkOne said:

 

We've already been around this bend in the river. When the PVSA was enacted, there was a ship building industry and so was protectionist. It still exists because Congress doesn't want to cross unions to get rid of it.

 

We all know how the strictest safety standards in the world keep duck boats afloat. Cough.

 

Yep, protectionist for passengers on vessels in the US.

 

Do you know the story of the duck boats, and how the USCG has fought to ban them or seriously modify them for years?  Because they fall both under USCG and DOT (road vehicle) regulations, there are areas where each side has to step back.

 

We agree that the ship building industry in the US is almost defunct, except for a few tankers and container vessels, so what would the unions' interest be in protecting something that has no jobs?  And what clout would those unions have, if they don't have members to vote for Congress.

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1 minute ago, chengkp75 said:

Yep, protectionist for passengers on vessels in the US.

 

Do you know the story of the duck boats, and how the USCG has fought to ban them or seriously modify them for years?  Because they fall both under USCG and DOT (road vehicle) regulations, there are areas where each side has to step back.

 

We agree that the ship building industry in the US is almost defunct, except for a few tankers and container vessels, so what would the unions' interest be in protecting something that has no jobs?  And what clout would those unions have, if they don't have members to vote for Congress.

 

NCL has a virtual monopoly on mass market cruises in Hawaii because of a waiver granted by Congress. Congress required the blessing of a union or two before they would grant the waiver. I can't think of a single reason for protecting non-existent jobs other than for propaganda purposes.

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1 hour ago, BlerkOne said:

 

NCL has a virtual monopoly on mass market cruises in Hawaii because of a waiver granted by Congress. Congress required the blessing of a union or two before they would grant the waiver. I can't think of a single reason for protecting non-existent jobs other than for propaganda purposes.

Uh, no.  There was no discussion between the US and the unions regarding the Pride of America.  The US government was on the hook for the loan guarantees to the shipyard, and were looking at either being the proud owner of a partially completed cruise ship hull, or paying more money to scrap it, when NCL offered to buy the hull for the amount of the loan guarantees, and the PVSA waivers.  You are right, there is no reason to protect non-existent jobs, which is why the PVSA has virtually nothing to do with shipbuilding of large vessels, but does protect the jobs of those that build small coastwise passenger vessels, which is what the PVSA was designed to do.  The PVSA does not preclude any cruise line from building a ship in the US, flagging it foreign, and then competing in the foreign cruise ship trade (i.e. ships that call at foreign ports).

 

As for a "virtual monopoly", just this month, while NCL had 4 port calls at Honolulu, the mass market lines Princess, Carnival, and HAL had 8 port calls.  While NCL is the only line that can offer Hawaii only cruises, their cruises for 7 days are more expensive than the other lines' 12-14 day cruises from the West Coast, which is why they continue.  If there was a demand for a foreign flag cruise almost strictly in Hawaii, they would have to do what NCL did with the Star back in 2004, and go to Fanning Island in Kiribati.

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Sometimes people need to know when to wave the white flag and learn something.

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11 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

Uh, no.  There was no discussion between the US and the unions regarding the Pride of America.  The US government was on the hook for the loan guarantees to the shipyard, and were looking at either being the proud owner of a partially completed cruise ship hull, or paying more money to scrap it, when NCL offered to buy the hull for the amount of the loan guarantees, and the PVSA waivers.  You are right, there is no reason to protect non-existent jobs, which is why the PVSA has virtually nothing to do with shipbuilding of large vessels, but does protect the jobs of those that build small coastwise passenger vessels, which is what the PVSA was designed to do.  The PVSA does not preclude any cruise line from building a ship in the US, flagging it foreign, and then competing in the foreign cruise ship trade (i.e. ships that call at foreign ports).

 

As for a "virtual monopoly", just this month, while NCL had 4 port calls at Honolulu, the mass market lines Princess, Carnival, and HAL had 8 port calls.  While NCL is the only line that can offer Hawaii only cruises, their cruises for 7 days are more expensive than the other lines' 12-14 day cruises from the West Coast, which is why they continue.  If there was a demand for a foreign flag cruise almost strictly in Hawaii, they would have to do what NCL did with the Star back in 2004, and go to Fanning Island in Kiribati.

 

Uh, yes there was. We've been around that bend, too.

 

If the PVSA has nothing to do with cruise ships, then it needs to be updated to say so. If only for coastwise vessels, then why are there exemptions for transportation between the mainland and, for example, Puerto Rico? 

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1 hour ago, BlerkOne said:

 

Uh, yes there was. We've been around that bend, too.

 

If the PVSA has nothing to do with cruise ships, then it needs to be updated to say so. If only for coastwise vessels, then why are there exemptions for transportation between the mainland and, for example, Puerto Rico? 

Never said it had nothing to do with cruise ships, where was that?  I said it had nothing to do with building large passenger vessels today, since that is no longer an economically viable industry. And again, it is the "passenger" vessel act, not the "cruise" vessel act, and this goes to the international definition of a passenger vessel, as noted above.  To change that definition, you would need the IMO to do it.  Barring a change in definition of a passenger vessel, if you changed the PVSA to allow foreign cruise ships to do coastwise transportation, then the Alaskan Marine Highway and the Washington State Ferries, and the Staten Island ferries would all sue in court to be able to reflag to Panama, since they are passenger vessels as well.  And those would just be the largest companies to sue for this, it would get down to every small passenger boat in the US.

 

Since Puerto Rico is part of the US, then transportation between Puerto Rico and the mainland is "coastwise", since it doesn't go to any other country.  Just as transportation between England and Northern Ireland, or the Faroe Islands and Denmark, Okinawa and Japan, France and Corsica and Italy and Sardinia are examples of "coastwise" trade.   The Virgin Islands are also part of the US, but are subject to the PVSA.  The exemption to the PVSA for Puerto Rico was granted because there was no US flag operation providing passenger service to the mainland.  The exemption expires as soon as someone starts up a US flag passenger service there.

 

Which unions were consulted?  The vast majority of the steelwork was done (most cruise ship cabin outfitting is done by subcontractors, not shipyard workers) so the yard workers job was done.  The maritime unions were gaining a ship, so they would be winning.

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I can tell you with 100% certainty that Carnival won’t let you do this B2B. I say this because in 2017, I did a Vancouver to Seattle Alaska cruise. The cruise before it was the Hawaii itinerary you mentioned. There were people on my roll call that had book both cruises, only to find out at some point that they couldn’t do both. So they ended up having to cancel the Alaska cruise and find one on a different cruise line. 

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Since the cruising industry didn't exist when the act was written, how could the law make provisions for cruise lines?

 

Why would there be any exemptions to PVSA and allow something less than the strictest safety standards in the world to be in effect?

 

As for unions, I imagine the same ones the GAO interviewed when trying to determine the impact of the exemption for NCL on related industries.

 

But still, why not update the act to modern day reality. As it is, American based cruise lines went bankrupt because they couldn't afford to comply with the US laws, not because of foreign competition.

 

 

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2 hours ago, BlerkOne said:

But still, why not update the act to modern day reality. As it is, American based cruise lines went bankrupt because they couldn't afford to comply with the US laws, not because of foreign competition.

And again, looking at the PVSA through the narrow lens of the cruise industry is wrong.  US passenger vessel operators can afford to comply with US laws because they are protected against the foreign competition.  Many are in operation around the country today.  And, as I said, that was the original intent of the act, to force ship owners to meet the safety standards (those US laws), and to protect them while forcing them to spend the money.

Edited by chengkp75

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10 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

And again, looking at the PVSA through the narrow lens of the cruise industry is wrong.  US passenger vessel operators can afford to comply with US laws because they are protected against the foreign competition.  Many are in operation around the country today.  And, as I said, that was the original intent of the act, to force ship owners to meet the safety standards (those US laws), and to protect them while forcing them to spend the money.

 

The original intent was to protect US maritime industry from foreign competition by penalizing the foreign competition. A 1000 years ago, the US was more competitive in ship building, but a killer today are US labor laws and the US labor market. Add to that required US majority ownership in today's global economy.

 

The reality is that foreign flagged ships can do a round trip cruise with a stop in any foreign port or a one way voyage with a distant foreign port. If safety standards were truly the reason, why would they make it that easy to bypass?  

 

 

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3 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

And again, looking at the PVSA through the narrow lens of the cruise industry is wrong.  US passenger vessel operators can afford to comply with US laws because they are protected against the foreign competition.  Many are in operation around the country today.  And, as I said, that was the original intent of the act, to force ship owners to meet the safety standards (those US laws), and to protect them while forcing them to spend the money.

I would bet that American Cruise Lines appreciates the PVSA, as well as a couple of other small river cruise providers.  In this case, I agree with the Act.  A foreign operator with a foreign built vessel and poorly-paid foreign crews would be able to undercut these carriers easily.  I do think that they would have to comply with USCG regulations though.  That would be one unavoidable cost shared equally across the segment.

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3 minutes ago, DryCreek said:

I would bet that American Cruise Lines appreciates the PVSA, as well as a couple of other small river cruise providers.  In this case, I agree with the Act.  A foreign operator with a foreign built vessel and poorly-paid foreign crews would be able to undercut these carriers easily.  I do think that they would have to comply with USCG regulations though.  That would be one unavoidable cost shared equally across the segment.

I would support an exemption for cruise ships that carry 3,500+ passengers along with some other stipulations. 

Edited by soremekun

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1 hour ago, DryCreek said:

I would bet that American Cruise Lines appreciates the PVSA, as well as a couple of other small river cruise providers.  In this case, I agree with the Act.  A foreign operator with a foreign built vessel and poorly-paid foreign crews would be able to undercut these carriers easily.  I do think that they would have to comply with USCG regulations though.  That would be one unavoidable cost shared equally across the segment.

 

For the benefit of a few, why not scrap the obsolete act and write something more specific and tailored for whatever American cruising industry still exists? Keeping something ancient around, just in case, is silly. There will never be another American mass market cruise line. The market it would serve can't afford it. Yes, cruise ships have USCG inspections.

 

I don't buy the "strictest safety standards" argument. It sounds more like a union talking point to me. While there are some vessels seriously lacking in safety (overloaded, leaking ferries in far off lands for example), there are plenty of ferries with adequate and perhaps equal safety. Examples would be ferries that go from England to Holland, or many ferries zipping all over the Med.

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13 hours ago, BlerkOne said:

 

The original intent was to protect US maritime industry from foreign competition by penalizing the foreign competition. A 1000 years ago, the US was more competitive in ship building, but a killer today are US labor laws and the US labor market. Add to that required US majority ownership in today's global economy.

 

The reality is that foreign flagged ships can do a round trip cruise with a stop in any foreign port or a one way voyage with a distant foreign port. If safety standards were truly the reason, why would they make it that easy to bypass?  

 

 

I'll answer a few more, and then be done with this discussion.  Do you really believe that in 1880's that riverboats and harbor craft were being built in foreign shipyards and transported across the ocean for use in the US?  Because that would be the scenario if the original intent was to punish foreign shipyards.  At the time of the act, those steamboats were still being built in the US, but were flagged foreign.

 

As I've said, the original intent was for safety reasons, because at the time, no one else had any safety regulations, there was no SOLAS, no IMO.  So,  while safety concerns have closed the gap, but USCG regulations are still stricter for US flag ships than SOLAS is for everyone else, the act still preserves jobs for many US citizens, and provides money to the US economy.  As for "bypassing" the act with a foreign port stop, there are legal distinctions between "coastwise" and "foreign" voyages, and the cruises that are allowed, meet these definitions, and are not "bypassing" anything.

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13 hours ago, BlerkOne said:

Sec 211 is the gibberish that grants NCL a monopoly on HI cruises via a waiver to PVSA

 

https://www.congress.gov/108/plaws/publ7/PLAW-108publ7.pdf

Other ships have been granted waivers of the construction or other aspects of the PVSA in the past, for various economic reasons, and anyone is free to build a ship in the US and compete with NCL in Hawaii, so no monopoly, and if the US were ever in another situation where it was holding onto a half finished ship that they could sell off to someone who wanted to finish it overseas and get a waiver, I'm sure that cruise line would get the waiver as well, so no monopoly.  Besides, I'm not convinced that the POA does not meet the "substantial content" measure for being US built (PVSA and Jones Act compliant ships are allowed some portion of their materials and construction labor to be of foreign origin), the real advantage NCL got was allowing an existing foreign built ship (Norwegian Sky/Pride of Aloha), and a foreign built new ship (Norwegian Jade/Pride of Hawaii) to be given waivers, but after the losses NCL had with three ships in Hawaii, those ships reflagged back foreign and lost their waivers.

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10 hours ago, soremekun said:

I would support an exemption for cruise ships that carry 3,500+ passengers along with some other stipulations. 

But, again, since you are dealing with ships of other countries, you must deal in international law, and the international definition of a "passenger" vessel (more than 12 passengers).  If exemptions were granted for ships with a given pax count, others would sue as being discriminated against, since by law, they are "passenger" vessels as well.  And what would cruise lines like the luxury lines that don't have ships as large as the arbitrary pax limit do?  They'd sue as well.

 

One large thing to note, is that CLIA, the cruise line group, which represents nearly all of the major cruise lines has stated that none of their members have any interest in repealing or modifying the PVSA, as they see no positive benefit to their bottom line.

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9 hours ago, BlerkOne said:

 

For the benefit of a few, why not scrap the obsolete act and write something more specific and tailored for whatever American cruising industry still exists? Keeping something ancient around, just in case, is silly. There will never be another American mass market cruise line. The market it would serve can't afford it. Yes, cruise ships have USCG inspections.

 

I don't buy the "strictest safety standards" argument. It sounds more like a union talking point to me. While there are some vessels seriously lacking in safety (overloaded, leaking ferries in far off lands for example), there are plenty of ferries with adequate and perhaps equal safety. Examples would be ferries that go from England to Holland, or many ferries zipping all over the Med.

Again, the act is not limited to cruise ships.  And yes, foreign flag cruise ships have USCG inspections, called "Port State Control", that any nation can do to any foreign ship in their port, but only to ensure that SOLAS regulations are met.  An example of the difference is that the USCG "target" is to inspect every foreign flag cruise ship that calls at US ports once a year, but ship scheduling, and USCG budgetary restraints make this a "target" only, and not always met, nor is it mandated under law.  A US flag passenger vessel (whether the Pride of America, an American Cruise Line ship, or a Washington State Ferry) must have a USCG inspection every 3 months.

 

An example of a European ferry is the Herald of Free Enterprise, a UK flag ferry that capsized virtually at the mouth of Zeebrugge harbor, killing 178 people.  This disaster led to the implementation of the ISM (International Safety Management) Code by the IMO, the most sweeping regulation in the maritime industry since SOLAS (and we all know what prompted SOLAS).

 

And with that, I will let this die.

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I have to wonder if the PVSA were to be done away with how many US cargo ships would be retro-fitted to carry 12 passengers so they could flag in a foreign state. There have to be many benefits to being able to flag in a foreign state or companies wouldn't jump through hoops to do so. 

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1 hour ago, sparks1093 said:

I have to wonder if the PVSA were to be done away with how many US cargo ships would be retro-fitted to carry 12 passengers so they could flag in a foreign state. There have to be many benefits to being able to flag in a foreign state or companies wouldn't jump through hoops to do so. 

Sparks, since it's you, I'll answer one more.  Cargo ships that carry passengers carry 12 because that still classes them as cargo ships.  You would have to carry 13 to be a passenger vessel, and then you have to meet all of the IMO regulations for passenger ships (construction, etc) not a cargo ship anymore.  Plus dealing with the pax is a pain for the crew (they don't add any crew for the passengers), so the trade off just wouldn't be worth it.

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