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Could lifting the ''Jones act'' be a help in this mess.

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2 hours ago, Charles4515 said:

It could be repealed but that would not change the “mess” the cruise lines are currently in. Also congress has no reason to do anything to help the cruise lines out of their mess. Cruise lines are not incorporated in the US. They don’t want to pay US taxes or comply with US laws.

 

You are correct.  If you had to recommend a reason for congress to help please suggest an idea. An example would be a cruise line incentive for taxes for registering under US or Canadian Flag?.  Fully deductable T&E write-offs for Fortune 500 to spur ship utilization.   

 

This is the Kobayashi Maru Syndrome and we need somebody like Captain Kirk to step forward and boldly go where no man has gone before...

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35 minutes ago, JRG said:

 

 

I could try to make the argument that a certain Jeffersonian principle might  outweigh the needs of the status quo.   

 

Prudence dictates that the PVSA be evaluated for feasibility.   Objectivity is justification.  Correction...be evaluated for potential feasible changes to better accommodate passenger and crew shipboard travel and its industry.

Not quite sure what all of that means.  So, you would be fine with amending the act so that all passenger vessels operating domestically in the US could be foreign flag?

 

While it is a good idea to review legislation periodically, what is not "feasible" about the PVSA?  And, do those changes to "better accommodate passenger and crew shipboard travel and its industry" envision better or worse safety measures?  Or just passenger comfort and preference? 

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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

Not quite sure what all of that means. 

 

It means that Thomas Jefferson recognized the need for laws to change and adapt.  Agree or Disagree?

 

56 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

And, do those changes to "better accommodate passenger and crew shipboard travel and its industry" envision better or worse safety measures?  Or just passenger comfort and preference? 

 

It would be foolish to accept such a restricted definition for me because a much more detailed set of requirements or parameters would have to be written up at a high level.   It would require research to identify and address all talking points that would be considered to be elements of cost benefit analysis.   (i.e. a feasibility study)

 

In better words though ....we need a Meta-Data Analysis,  not just a Data Analysis.....Agree or  Disagree?

  

 

 

 

Edited by JRG

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51 minutes ago, JRG said:

 

It means that Thomas Jefferson recognized the need for laws to change and adapt.  Agree or Disagree?

Agree, but change should be for the better.  Whose better?

 

It would be foolish to accept such a restricted definition for me because a much more detailed set of requirements or parameters would have to be written up at a high level.   It would require research to identify and address all talking points that would be considered to be elements of cost benefit analysis.   (i.e. a feasibility study)

 

In better words though ....we need a Meta-Data Analysis,  not just a Data Analysis.....Agree or  Disagree?

  

 

 

 

Wouldn't have any idea about "meta-data analysis", just a poor dumb boat mechanic here.  Now, if you mean that this would require the input of the 175 member nations of IMO, and their data analysis of the situation, then yes, 'cause that's what it would take.  And I can tell you that if you want to have cruise ships doing domestic voyages it will mean less stringent safety measures, since the USCG cannot enforce it's regulations on foreign flag vessels, only US vessels.

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10 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

Now, if you mean that this would require the input of the 175 member nations of IMO, and their data analysis of the situation, then yes, 'cause that's what it would take.

 

Yes,

12 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

And I can tell you that if you want to have cruise ships doing domestic voyages it will mean less stringent safety measures, since the USCG cannot enforce it's regulations on foreign flag vessels, only US vessels.

 

Assume same or better enforcement would be maintained ,  same for safety measures...thats a given...

 

but....As a cruiser

I really just want to be able to sail from point A to point B and not necessarily have to be limited in choices of itinerary or have to stop in Mexico or Vancouver to satisfy an unnecessary requirement.

 

 It is important to remember this thread topic affects only a portion of global cruising,  so its overall impact has greater impact on local port metropolitan areas where local cruising has pent-up demand and can cruise on the fly without flying.  We can do that from San Diego or LA.   

 

This approach makes sense for an industry getting ready to wade back into the water,  if you see my point.  

 

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25 minutes ago, JRG said:

Assume same or better enforcement would be maintained ,  same for safety measures...thats a given...

While everyone focuses on the crew pay and taxes, one of the largest savings a shipowner has when flagging to a "flag of convenience" is that the "port states" like the USCG for the US, cannot enforce the stricter regulations that they apply to US flag vessels.  As an example that I've used many times when discussing the PVSA, the USCG has the "goal" of inspecting every foreign flag cruise ship once a year, but budgetary constraints or the vessel's itinerary don't always make this possible, and the "port state" inspection is not mandatory for foreign flag ships.  On the other hand, a US flag cruise ship, like the POA, must, by law, be inspected four times a year.  So, merely the cost of annual inspections is over 4 times as high for a US flag ship.

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You are correct.  If you had to recommend a reason for congress to help please suggest an idea.


I don’t want congress to help.

The cruise lines can choose to change their foreign flag, no tax, low paid labor way of operating or not. I am not worried if they go out of business because if they do the ships will go to new ownership who could forge a new operating policy.


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In better words though ....we need a Meta-Data Analysis,  not just a Data Analysis.....Agree or  Disagree?
  




Please don’t take offense but that is gobbledygook.



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but....As a cruiser

I really just want to be able to sail from point A to point B and not necessarily have to be limited in choices of itinerary or have to stop in Mexico or Vancouver to satisfy an unnecessary requirement.

 

 It is important to remember this thread topic affects only a portion of global cruising,  so its overall impact has greater impact on local port metropolitan areas where local cruising has pent-up demand and can cruise on the fly without flying.  We can do that from San Diego or LA.   

 

 

 

 

There is no pent up demand for local cruising.

 

Of course given the current situation the only demand for cruises is from fans like Cruise Critic members and the travel industry. There is negative demand from the public. Cruising has a bad name right now. There is demand from some of the public to reopen local businesses but that is far from demand to reopen cruises.

 

Personally if want to go locally up the east coast or west coast I would go by car or train. Not on a cruise even before this crisis.

 

 

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10 hours ago, Charles4515 said:

 

There is no pent up demand for local cruising.

 

Of course given the current situation the only demand for cruises is from fans like Cruise Critic members and the travel industry. There is negative demand from the public. Cruising has a bad name right now. There is demand from some of the public to reopen local businesses but that is far from demand to reopen cruises.

 

Personally if want to go locally up the east coast or west coast I would go by car or train. Not on a cruise even before this crisis.

 

 

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I also see little demand for change from the industry itself and that's where the demand would primarily have to come from. A lot of people love Canada/New England cruises but I'm kind of meh, Boston is a 4 hour drive, I've lived in Newport, the Maine coast is likewise within a 4/5 hour drive and Canada is 8 miles from my front door. (And yes, I realize that I'm only one person but I also agree with Charles4515 in that an east coast or west coast trip is also doable by car or train.) 

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12 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

 just a poor dumb boat mechanic here. 

And I'm just a Vermicious Knid.🤣

 

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18 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

one of the largest savings a shipowner has when flagging to a "flag of convenience" is that the "port states" like the USCG for the US, cannot enforce the stricter regulations that they apply to US flag vessels

 

Can you please elaborate why it translates into shipowner 'savings'    I understand your complaint that at present logistical inequities adversely affecting how USCG can best allocate its resources.  What cost saving dollars could possibly be such a large savings and why can't re-flagging under US or Canadian provide that same 'large savings benefit'.   

 

18 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

As an example that I've used many times when discussing the PVSA, the USCG has the "goal" of inspecting every foreign flag cruise ship once a year, but budgetary constraints or the vessel's itinerary don't always make this possible, and the "port state" inspection is not mandatory for foreign flag ships.  On the other hand, a US flag cruise ship, like the POA, must, by law, be inspected four times a year.  So, merely the cost of annual inspections is over 4 times as high for a US flag ship.

 

This is a fine textbook example to work with.  However, on paper it is fundamentally a logistical resource allocation issue.   It is a resource allocation issue that is out of balance,  therefore it is inequitable to some parties.     If you can't increase the USCG budget to cover the gaps created by the inequities,  then you have to change the law to allow for the rebalancing  under the financial or budget constraints.  The foreign flag inspection shouldn't have to be a 'goal'   but your usage here paints a very important picture of the reality.   

 

In your textbook case,  the strategic and tactical solution to rebalance the inequities seems to point to getting the law changed so foreign flagged vessels comply with mandatory inspections on a schedule determined by the USCG.   

 

Agree or Disagree?     

.  

 

 

 

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21 hours ago, JRG said:

 

Yes,

 

Assume same or better enforcement would be maintained ,  same for safety measures...thats a given...

 

but....As a cruiser

I really just want to be able to sail from point A to point B and not necessarily have to be limited in choices of itinerary or have to stop in Mexico or Vancouver to satisfy an unnecessary requirement.

 

 It is important to remember this thread topic affects only a portion of global cruising,  so its overall impact has greater impact on local port metropolitan areas where local cruising has pent-up demand and can cruise on the fly without flying.  We can do that from San Diego or LA.   

 

This approach makes sense for an industry getting ready to wade back into the water,  if you see my point.  

 

Thanks for getting it ,not every debate or idea has to go back to the Big Bang.

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22 hours ago, JRG said:

 

but....As a cruiser

I really just want to be able to sail from point A to point B and not necessarily have to be limited in choices of itinerary or have to stop in Mexico or Vancouver to satisfy an unnecessary requirement.

 


And that right there is the rub. “As a cruiser” means you are looking at it for what you want, not what is right. That’s like saying “as a pilot” I’d like to purchase a F-22 Raptor but as in your “want,” it ain’t going to happen. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, JRG said:

In your textbook case,  the strategic and tactical solution to rebalance the inequities seems to point to getting the law changed so foreign flagged vessels comply with mandatory inspections on a schedule determined by the USCG.   

 

Agree or Disagree?     

Well, the flaw in your argument is that in order to change the law so that the USCG can perform mandatory inspections of foreign flag ships, is that it would require that SOLAS be amended so that the same conditions apply to every ship of every flag in every country that is not the ship's flag country.  SOLAS specifically states that signatory nations can enact stricter requirements than are in SOLAS, but they can only enforce those requirements on ships of their own flag.  And, if SOLAS could be changed to make inspections of foreign vessels mandatory, that would mean that every single ship, container, tanker, bulker, car carrier, etc, not just a cruise ship, would have to have mandatory inspections by the USCG.  Think about that budgetary nightmare.  It cannot be done unilaterally by the US.  I really don't see Liberia and Panama agreeing to this.  And, the safety issue goes far beyond the mere mandatory inspections, it goes into crew training and documentation, approval of equipment by specific testing practices, and so on, beyond the budgetary restraints of the USCG.

 

And I won't echo your annoying little pedantric ending.

Edited by chengkp75

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6 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

 And, if SOLAS could be changed to make inspections of foreign vessels mandatory, that would mean that every single ship, container, tanker, bulker, car carrier, etc, not just a cruise ship, would have to have mandatory inspections by the USCG.  Think about that budgetary nightmare. 

 

Oh, man, I think the thought of that just gave me a mini seizure.  It would be impossible to inspect every single ship quarterly.  The budget doesn't allow for it.  The manpower doesn't allow for it.  And frankly, other obligations like Port State Control and pollution response, cases responded to by the same shop, are not going to stop in order to allow for it.  Nightmare?  That's an understatement. 

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22 minutes ago, Aquahound said:

 

Oh, man, I think the thought of that just gave me a mini seizure.  It would be impossible to inspect every single ship quarterly.  The budget doesn't allow for it.  The manpower doesn't allow for it.  And frankly, other obligations like Port State Control and pollution response, cases responded to by the same shop, are not going to stop in order to allow for it.  Nightmare?  That's an understatement. 

Even if it were only for an annual, like they do cargo ships, it would be a nightmare.  Unfortunately, the USCG has been given so many new missions, or increased visibility of other missions, lately, that Marine Inspection has fallen a long way down their priority list.  I can remember when they hired retired Captains and Chiefs to do Marine Inspection because of their expertise, or later on when senior Warrants were Inspectors.  Now I get kids on the ship that are fresh out of the Academy.  Marine Inspection was stressed during the Gulf War, just keeping up with inspections of the ships broken out of the Ready Reserve Fleet, let alone the tens of thousands of ships that carry goods to the US annually.  Though if this were to come about, Port State inspections would end, since they would all be flag state inspections!!

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You two are both really good at giving reality checks! Thank you.

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19 hours ago, JRG said:

Can you please elaborate why it translates into shipowner 'savings'    I understand your complaint that at present logistical inequities adversely affecting how USCG can best allocate its resources.  What cost saving dollars could possibly be such a large savings and why can't re-flagging under US or Canadian provide that same 'large savings benefit'.   

Well, as a simple thing, each inspection is paid for by the ship owner, so there is that savings.  Then there are items that must be either USCG approved, which requires USCG inspectors to witness testing of equipment at the equipment manufacturer's plant to see that the equipment meets USCG standards, and this of course costs the manufacturer to pay for the inspection, the review process, and the certification, so the equipment costs more for the shipowner to purchase.  Then there is equipment that must meet certain third party standards, as set by the USCG.  To give an example, my ship was built in the US, but most of the electrical equipment is foreign manufacture.  Most of it meets European electrical standards like "CE" and "ATEX" (for explosion-proof electrical gear).  However, these standards allow the manufacturer themselves to conduct the testing to determine if their product meets the standards.  USCG requires electrical equipment on US flag vessels to meet ASTM and IEEE standards, and these standards require testing by third parties to determine if a manufacturer's equipment meets the standards.  The USCG overlooked this when the ships were built, and about 2 years later, came out and directed us to replace all of the electrical equipment with the more expensive US equipment.  These kinds of approvals range from a firefighter's glove to a main generator, and result in added cost to build and operate the ship.  Flagging Canadian might save some money, I'm not fully aware of their requirements, but I am aware of certain things that they do even stricter than the USCG.  Then there is crew training.  The vast majority of foreign flag cruise ship crew have only had a 4 hour "Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities" class onboard the ship as the minimum mandatory training under STCW.  The USCG requires that every crew member who has an assigned emergency duty (which means everyone short of the guest entertainers), must be a fully credentialed merchant mariner, whether your job is dishwasher, laundry person, or cabin steward.  This entails, for the USCG, a classroom 40 hour course in firefighting and life saving, and can only be given at USCG approved locations.  It also entails a TWIC identity card, which requires an FBI background check.  All of this costs money.

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Thank you for taking the time to address my questions.   

 

With respect to my review of DHS\CPB Informed Compliance Publication dated April 2010 regarding the PVSA,  I have the following observation:

 

I am somewhat surprised to find absolutely no reference to USCG inspections which relate to safety or equipment,  whatsoever, at least in this publication, which is only about PVSA.   

 

Yet, by contrast,  in your examples,   all of the inspections  pertain to safety and equipment,  none of your examples talk about the enforcement of PVSA violaters.  It appears  you are not differentiating between the requirements of the PVSA and the requirements of routine USCG inspections.    

 

This leads me to believe that,  over the years,   there has been a 'marriage of convenience' in which the USCG/CBP have simultaneously discharged both responsibilities....and this makes perfect sense,   whether the inspection is at sea or in ports,  for obvious logistical  economies of scale.

 

If this is true,   then amending the the waiver definition to exclude cruse ships from the PVSA would allow cruiselines to complete domestic point to point sailings without visiting a foreign port.    If you are hung up on where do you draw the line between cruiseships and small craft (for example),  then leave it up to somebody else who can prepare a definition that works.

 

Of course, the physical and geographical changes would be costly,  leave that up to the beancounters and analysts.   If you are saying that this will never happen just to satisfy local cruising demand,   you have to remember that markets get what they want.   Sometimes it just takes time,   sometimes it take an extraordinary event to drive the changes.

 

BTW,   Dad was a USCG veteran,  and he received full USCG regalia at his funeral,   down to the bagpipes.   Please don't bash the USCG here they do a fine job.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I am explaining the difference in cost between a US flag ship and a foreign flag ship, that is where the cost of USCG inspections comes into effect.  And this cost difference is why cruise lines do not want to flag in the US and meet the PVSA requirements.  Further, I was saying that without flagging a ship to US, even if you grant it the right under a PVSA waiver, you grant the ship the right to operate in the US and not meet US safety requirements, with their attendant cost.  This not only can create greater safety risks, as witnessed by ferry accidents in various countries around the world (these are passenger vessels), but you also place the existing US flag passenger operations (and there are small cruise lines under US flag) at an extreme economic disadvantage, which would result either in the waiver being struck down by the courts, or these US flag operations going to foreign flag.  And that could lead to the ferries and smaller passenger vessels in the US going foreign flag as well.

 

There is no "marriage of convenience" between USCG and CBP.  The CBP document you cite clearly states that the difference in "handling" of passenger vessels carrying passengers within the US depends solely upon that ship's flag (and the build requirement).  And if that flag is US, then it meets USCG requirements.  And, since it is US flag, CBP doesn't even look at the vessel's manifests with regards to the PVSA, since there cannot be a PVSA violation.  If it is not US flag, then it does not meet USCG requirements, and the USCG nor the US can force compliance on a foreign vessel, so CBP doesn't have anything to do with the difference in cost or safety of the ship.

 

It is not my ideas of where to draw the line for an exemption to the act, nor is it the US's ideas that would matter.  As soon as you involve the US and a foreign ship, you enter the realm of maritime law, and this can get very tricky to negotiate, as any decision the US wants to make can affect every other maritime nation, and they may not want that to happen.  The Act uses terms like "passenger" and "passenger vessel", and these have long held definitions in maritime law, and cannot be changed unilaterally.

 

Please show me anywhere in my posting history where I've "bashed" the USCG.  My comments about the quality of Marine Inspectors is simply fact, something Aquahound (a USCG incident investigator) can confirm, and merely represents the shifting of mission priorities within the USCG (driven by funding) away from Marine Safety and into law enforcement (drug interdiction, immigration) as evidenced by the moving of the USCG from the Transportation Dept to Homeland Security.  The USCG has been studying outsourcing Marine Inspection for years, and has done some of it with their “Alternative Compliance Program”, where some of the actual inspections are not done by USCG any longer, but by the class society surveyors.

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10 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

 

Please show me anywhere in my posting history where I've "bashed" the USCG.  My comments about the quality of Marine Inspectors is simply fact, something Aquahound (a USCG incident investigator) can confirm, and merely represents the shifting of mission priorities within the USCG (driven by funding) away from Marine Safety and into law enforcement (drug interdiction, immigration) as evidenced by the moving of the USCG from the Transportation Dept to Homeland Security.  The USCG has been studying outsourcing Marine Inspection for years, and has done some of it with their “Alternative Compliance Program”, where some of the actual inspections are not done by USCG any longer, but by the class society surveyors.

I think you have always shown great respect for the US Coast Guard.

 

I also think it is fair to say that their priorities are set by politicians, not by the members of the Coast Guard that are tasked with carrying out their duties.

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I love when people propose changing the rules, but wants to leave it to someone to figure out the details.

 

Those details are what make the loopholes that everyone has issues with (except those who benefit from them).

 

It is not easy to write laws or regulations that do what you want them to do, and ONLY what you want them to do.

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8 hours ago, JRG said:

 

BTW,   Dad was a USCG veteran,  and he received full USCG regalia at his funeral,   down to the bagpipes.   Please don't bash the USCG here they do a fine job.   

 

 

No one's bashing the USCG.  I've got 27 years in between my active duty, reserve and civilian service.  

 

My condolences for your father.  He sounds like he was a good man.  Semper Paratus!  🙂 

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2 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

I am explaining the difference in cost between a US flag ship and a foreign flag ship, that is where the cost of USCG inspections comes into effect.  And this cost difference is why cruise lines do not want to flag in the US and meet the PVSA requirements.  Further, I was saying that without flagging a ship to US, even if you grant it the right under a PVSA waiver, you grant the ship the right to operate in the US and not meet US safety requirements, with their attendant cost.  This not only can create greater safety risks, as witnessed by ferry accidents in various countries around the world (these are passenger vessels), but you also place the existing US flag passenger operations (and there are small cruise lines under US flag) at an extreme economic disadvantage, which would result either in the waiver being struck down by the courts, or these US flag operations going to foreign flag.  And that could lead to the ferries and smaller passenger vessels in the US going foreign flag as well.

 

There is no "marriage of convenience" between USCG and CBP.  The CBP document you cite clearly states that the difference in "handling" of passenger vessels carrying passengers within the US depends solely upon that ship's flag (and the build requirement).  And if that flag is US, then it meets USCG requirements.  And, since it is US flag, CBP doesn't even look at the vessel's manifests with regards to the PVSA, since there cannot be a PVSA violation.  If it is not US flag, then it does not meet USCG requirements, and the USCG nor the US can force compliance on a foreign vessel, so CBP doesn't have anything to do with the difference in cost or safety of the ship.

 

It is not my ideas of where to draw the line for an exemption to the act, nor is it the US's ideas that would matter.  As soon as you involve the US and a foreign ship, you enter the realm of maritime law, and this can get very tricky to negotiate, as any decision the US wants to make can affect every other maritime nation, and they may not want that to happen.  The Act uses terms like "passenger" and "passenger vessel", and these have long held definitions in maritime law, and cannot be changed unilaterally.

 

Please show me anywhere in my posting history where I've "bashed" the USCG.  My comments about the quality of Marine Inspectors is simply fact, something Aquahound (a USCG incident investigator) can confirm, and merely represents the shifting of mission priorities within the USCG (driven by funding) away from Marine Safety and into law enforcement (drug interdiction, immigration) as evidenced by the moving of the USCG from the Transportation Dept to Homeland Security.  The USCG has been studying outsourcing Marine Inspection for years, and has done some of it with their “Alternative Compliance Program”, where some of the actual inspections are not done by USCG any longer, but by the class society surveyors.

So what this means if the PVSA is repealed that a company that currently has US flagged vessels (such as a ferry operator) could re-flag under a flag of convenience and potentially save money from inspections (in addition to possibly saving money in other areas such as labor and wage law requirements), is that right? 

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