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Let's Think About Suspending the Jones Act.


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1 hour ago, Hawaiidan said:

The Jones act is kept  in place  by pressure from the Hawaiian politicians to protect 3shipping lines  MATSON  and HORIZON and Young brothers local....  Who are BIG contributors  to various politicians pockets.....  How do you think NCL  got a waiver to the Passenger Service act  to sail in Hawaii.....?????   Crooked Hawaiian politics..

 

Curious -- who staffs the NCL ship(s) sailing in Hawaii?  Is it American crew?  

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I think it would make sense to temporarily suspend the PVSA requirement to visit a foreign port on closed loop cruises (i.e. no real transportation involved). Leave the distant foreign port requirement in place for one way cruises. I would also like to see cruises to nowhere be allowed again.

 

I could see the "demand" for cruises initially being for short, close to home sailings with few or even no ports. Not having to stop at a foreign port for those sailings would also eliminate the need for those countries to be open to accepting US citizens before cruises could resume. 

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15 minutes ago, ldubs said:

 

Curious -- who staffs the NCL ship(s) sailing in Hawaii?  Is it American crew?  

 Yes, it is an American flagged ship with a primarily American crew.  Her hull was laid down in Mississippi by the soon to be  defunct United States Line.  She got a wavier for being U.S. built, though she was towed to Germany to be completed.    

 

NCL America had massive personnel problems initially.  The crew that staffs normal cruise ships are often top-notch people from their home countries.  Top notch U.S. citizens have much more and better opportunities than working on a cruise ship.

 

It ship needs to follow U.S. maritime labor laws  

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9 hours ago, Earthworm Jim said:

 

They're already avoiding American crews and associated wage levels. The group you're protecting is virtually non-existent among major cruise lines, save Norwegian's Pride of America.

Maybe not on major cruise lines, but there are 10's of thousands of jobs in the US protected by PVSA.  These include but are not limited to ferries, tour boats, charter boats, fishing excursion boats, river cruises, etc.

 

If you started excluding from the law, then exactly where on the slippery slope do you draw the line? What criteria do you use? size?  owning companies?

 

Also the cruise lines have not exactly been clamoring for a change, because they also know any change that benefits them might also hurt them.  Remember the old cruises to nowhere.  The ones that went away due to the realization that since the crew was only sailing to and from US ports that they needed a different immigration status.  Rather than comply with that the cruises went away.  If the cruise lines no longer were required to stop at non-US ports than guess what the same status would be required on the non-PVSA compliant cruises.

Edited by npcl
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The CLIA cited American restrictions as their reasons for registering their ships in other countries. They said U.S. flag vessels are required to have Americans as at least 75% of their on-board personnel, they must be owned by an American and they must be built in the United States.

 

Any discussion on changing the law would need to include a building discussion.  The US has closed the majority of its shipyards.  Our Navy can barely keep up with the building for defense and has backlogs for maintenance.  NASSCO in San Diego is one of the last commercial ship builder/refit yards in the US.  Another great example of an industry that could use a comeback in the US!

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10 hours ago, Essiesmom said:

They cannot register them in the US because they are not built in US shipyards.

I believe I have corrected you on this in the past.  The cruise lines could absolutely flag their ships in the US, even being built overseas (I've sailed on many ships flagged US that were built overseas, and even know of some ships that are US flag in Europe that could never cross the ocean to get to the US), but they would not be PVSA compliant.

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16 minutes ago, zonacruiser25 said:

The CLIA cited American restrictions as their reasons for registering their ships in other countries. They said U.S. flag vessels are required to have Americans as at least 75% of their on-board personnel, they must be owned by an American and they must be built in the United States.

 

Any discussion on changing the law would need to include a building discussion.  The US has closed the majority of its shipyards.  Our Navy can barely keep up with the building for defense and has backlogs for maintenance.  NASSCO in San Diego is one of the last commercial ship builder/refit yards in the US.  Another great example of an industry that could use a comeback in the US!

This is not correct.  Again, to be PVSA compliant (in other words able to make the strictly US cruises people here ask for), then yes, they would need to be built in the US, flagged in the US, crewed US, and owned by a US owner.  However, they could flag their ships in the US as they currently exist, but could not make strictly US cruises.

 

Nassco is not alone in shipbuilding, there is Aker in Philadelphia, and many yards undertake commercial ship repair.

 

The major problem facing shipyards in the US are twofold, and they don't include the Jones Act or PVSA.  They are environmental regulations, and two, the fact that no one wants to work in a shipyard.  The average age of shipyard workers in the US is late 50's to early 60's.

Edited by chengkp75
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3 hours ago, Hawaiidan said:

The Jones act is kept  in place  by pressure from the Hawaiian politicians to protect 3shipping lines  MATSON  and HORIZON and Young brothers local....  Who are BIG contributors  to various politicians pockets.....  How do you think NCL  got a waiver to the Passenger Service act  to sail in Hawaii.....?????   Crooked Hawaiian politics..

Oh, horse puckey.  The Jones Act fleet is much larger than Matson and Young Bros, and Horizon has gone the way of the dodo, being bought by Matson.  And, what was the reason why NCL got the waiver of the PVSA for their ships?  Because the US government had issued loan guarantees to build the POA for American Hawaiian Cruises, who went bankrupt, and so the US was going to pay Ingalls shipyard for the cost of construction to date.  NCL offered to buy the hull from Ingalls, freeing the US taxpayer from paying for a partly completed cruise ship hull that they would have no use for.  Had any other cruise line seen the opportunity, they could have stepped in and bought the hull and received the waiver.

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2 hours ago, ldubs said:

 

Curious -- who staffs the NCL ship(s) sailing in Hawaii?  Is it American crew?  

nope  they are all foreign..... too NCL  got it set up so that another line  could NOT be granted the same exemption    I got this straight   from both a Hawaiian State senator  And a Hawaiian prosecutor......  so I tend to think this is the truth.      I was also informed  that the Hawaiian legisature  voted down an ethics measure because , as they said on the record," how would people then be able to show their appreciation for how we vote"......ya   got it

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8 hours ago, hobbyfarmer2 said:

The PVSA was passed a very long time ago for specific purposes.  I think many are approaching this from the wrong angle.

 

I would list the pros and the cons.

 

For the pros, I would ask, has the act achieved its purpose?  The answer here seems to be a definite NO as the cruise line industry has many avbl loopholes to circumvent the act.

 

For the cons, I would ask, what is the Act costing the USA?

 

The cruise business is a business and should legally reduce its cost and taxes as a business.  No surprise that ships are not built or flagged in the USA when there are much better alternatives.

Again, I ask that everyone remember that it is the Passenger Vessel Services Act, not the Cruise Vessel Services Act.  Looking at the PVSA from the narrow perspective of the cruise industry is wrong.  You must understand that the maritime law definition of a "passenger vessel" is any vessel that carries more than 12 people for hire, so the PVSA protects the ferries, commuter boats, water taxis, dinner cruises, casino boats, whale watching and sightseeing boats, and large charter fishing vessels.

 

And, one thing that most folks don't understand about the PVSA is not that it requires US labor laws and wages, it requires US safety laws.  The USCG inspects foreign flag cruise ships to enforce the international SOLAS regulations, but this inspection is voluntary, and sometimes budgetary restrictions or ship's itineraries preclude a cruise ship from being inspected at the USCG's goal of "once a year".  A US flag cruise ship must be inspected, by law, by the USCG 4 times a year.

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13 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

The major problem facing shipyards in the US are twofold, and they don't include the Jones Act or PVSA.  They are environmental regulations, and two, the fact that no one wants to work in a shipyard.  The average age of shipyard workers in the US is late 50's to early 60's.

Another reason for the US to strengthen our vocational training.  Any attempt to reopen or build a shipyard will not be a fast transaction.  I read yesterday that someone was looking at putting in a new crane at Mare Island.  if that is true, maybe they want to reactivate something there.  Foreign shipyards have a corner on the building and maintenance of most cruise ships.  Just adding my 2 cents worth.

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11 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

Oh, horse puckey.  The Jones Act fleet is much larger than Matson and Young Bros, and Horizon has gone the way of the dodo, being bought by Matson.  And, what was the reason why NCL got the waiver of the PVSA for their ships?  Because the US government had issued loan guarantees to build the POA for American Hawaiian Cruises, who went bankrupt, and so the US was going to pay Ingalls shipyard for the cost of construction to date.  NCL offered to buy the hull from Ingalls, freeing the US taxpayer from paying for a partly completed cruise ship hull that they would have no use for.  Had any other cruise line seen the opportunity, they could have stepped in and bought the hull and received the waiver.

While the NCL stepped in...just who set up the deal and why were they the only player?   And just how much green did ole NCL  part with to insure  no one  else could be granted the consideration.    You may know shipping but  I know Hawaii and its over the top corruption first hand    

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11 minutes ago, Hawaiidan said:

While the NCL stepped in...just who set up the deal and why were they the only player?   And just how much green did ole NCL  part with to insure  no one  else could be granted the consideration.    You may know shipping but  I know Hawaii and its over the top corruption first hand    

Largely because it was a unique situation with the federal government having been stuck with the results on a loan guarantee and NCL was the only cruise line that stepped up to take the ship off of the governments hands.

 

The other thing to keep in mind is that even if your state government is corrupt the items that control PVSA and the NCL ship in Hawaii is under the domain of  the Feds, not the state.  Or do you think the Hawaii government has more influence than the other 49 states.

Edited by npcl
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17 hours ago, dag144 said:

This act requires that cruise ships stop in at least one foreign port before embarking or disembarking in a US port.  While it is more complex than this in its entirety, it is a damper on cruising in this environment.  If the act is suspended cruises can have domestic itineraries with stops on both coasts and the Gulf.  This could create much needed land based jobs in restaurants, transportation (taxis and buses etc.) and attractions.  An added benefit would to give the CDC control of all health aspects of this type of cruise.  I can't see a downside, and it might be a way to make a small start for the cruise industry and cruisers who would like to take safe cruises overseen by our government.

The CDC would have no more control over cruise ships than they do currently, as the ships are still flagged in foreign countries.  The real reason that the PVSA was enacted was because steamboats had a horrible record of explosions and fires, and the US passed the Steamboat Acts to put safety measures in place.  In retaliation, the ship owners flagged their steamboats to foreign countries, so the safety requirements would not apply.  The PVSA made it mandatory that all coastwise traffic in the US be US flag, so that those safety measures would apply.

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For more detail look at the GAO analysis of the NCL Hawaii exemption

 

https://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04421.pdf

 

MARAD originally financed two of the ships that NCL will be operating in the Hawaiian Islands through MARAD’s Title XI loan guarantee program under a project known as “Project America,” that provided loan guarantees to help construct two new cruise vessels for American Classic Voyages in a U.S. shipyard for use in the Hawaiian Islands. Congress also granted American Classic Voyages a monopoly in the Hawaiian market for the life of the vessels. However, American Classic Voyages filed for bankruptcy in 2001, and the partially completed hull of one ship and parts for the other were purchased by NCL for $29 million.15 Subsequent to the purchase, NCL obtained the exemption, allowing them to complete these ships in a foreign shipyard and still operate them in Hawaii under the U.S. flag.16

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15 minutes ago, Hawaiidan said:

While the NCL stepped in...just who set up the deal and why were they the only player?   And just how much green did ole NCL  part with to insure  no one  else could be granted the consideration.    You may know shipping but  I know Hawaii and its over the top corruption first hand    

What bribe was needed?  There was only one hull in question, so when NCL bought it, there couldn't be anyone else in consideration.  Why the other lines did not step up?  Because the owner of NCL had dreams of owning vast tracts of Hawaii; golf courses, resorts, bus tours, and helicopter tours, and wanted to avoid the backlash that the Japanese got when they invested heavily in Hawaii, by saying that NCL was investing in Hawaii with US assets.

 

2 minutes ago, npcl said:

For more detail look at the GAO analysis of the NCL Hawaii exemption

 

https://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04421.pdf

 

MARAD originally financed two of the ships that NCL will be operating in the Hawaiian Islands through MARAD’s Title XI loan guarantee program under a project known as “Project America,” that provided loan guarantees to help construct two new cruise vessels for American Classic Voyages in a U.S. shipyard for use in the Hawaiian Islands. Congress also granted American Classic Voyages a monopoly in the Hawaiian market for the life of the vessels. However, American Classic Voyages filed for bankruptcy in 2001, and the partially completed hull of one ship and parts for the other were purchased by NCL for $29 million.15 Subsequent to the purchase, NCL obtained the exemption, allowing them to complete these ships in a foreign shipyard and still operate them in Hawaii under the U.S. flag.16

However, since NCL did not get the loan guarantees that American Hawaiian did, they did not receive the monopoly status that was granted to American Hawaiian.

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26 minutes ago, zonacruiser25 said:

Another reason for the US to strengthen our vocational training.  Any attempt to reopen or build a shipyard will not be a fast transaction.  I read yesterday that someone was looking at putting in a new crane at Mare Island.  if that is true, maybe they want to reactivate something there.  Foreign shipyards have a corner on the building and maintenance of most cruise ships.  Just adding my 2 cents worth.

I have built and repaired ships in both US shipyards and foreign shipyards, and I can tell you that the US, even with an updated vocational training system, is decades behind foreign shipyards.  And, even with vocational training, our wage structure is such that our prices are out of line with anywhere else, unless we invest heavily, and for years, in advanced technology in shipbuilding to make up for increased labor cost.  I can have a ship in a foreign shipyard, and during inspection we find a dent in the hull that the class surveyor wants to have repaired.  I call the yard superintendent, he sends the welding foreman and estimator to meet us right away, they stand and look at the job, punch a calculator, and have my cost and time estimate, firm, at that moment.  In a US yard, that kind of "change order" to the original shipyard repair specs would require scheduling the estimator to come see the job the next day, and then he would have my estimate the following day, costing 2 days time.  We don't have the experience in operating a shipyard that has to make a profit from commercial shipowners (who are also having to make a profit), rather than the government who never makes a profit, and takes delays in stride and pays for them.

 

To compare costs, our ships are US flag, and Jones Act compliant (built, owned, crewed in the US).  If a US flag ship has repairs done overseas, they must pay customs duty on those repairs at 50% of the invoice.  We routinely go to the Bahamas for shipyard repairs, because even adding 50% to the Bahamian shipyard cost is less than a US yard would charge.

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35 minutes ago, Hawaiidan said:

nope  they are all foreign..... too NCL  got it set up so that another line  could NOT be granted the same exemption    I got this straight   from both a Hawaiian State senator  And a Hawaiian prosecutor......  so I tend to think this is the truth.      I was also informed  that the Hawaiian legisature  voted down an ethics measure because , as they said on the record," how would people then be able to show their appreciation for how we vote"......ya   got it

This is the biggest pile of manure you have spread yet.  Of course no other line could get the exemption, since there was no other cruise ship being built with a US government loan subsidy.  As I've said, while American Hawaiian did have a monopoly clause put in their loan guarantee, since NCL did not get that loan guarantee, they did not receive a monopoly agreement.

 

As for the crew, you are so far from the truth here it isn't even funny.  As a US flag ship, regardless of whether the ship is PVSA compliant or not, all of the licensed deck and engine officers must be US citizens, and all of the crew must be either US citizens or 25% may be US Resident Aliens (green card).  NCL tried originally to hire a majority of the crew from the islands, but very few islanders wanted to work so close to home and not be able to return home for 3-4 months, and for the low pay.  Therefore, NCL went elsewhere in the US.  Now, NCL did work a deal where they wanted to get some of their supervisors on the US flag ships in order to better train the US crew, and they got Congress to create the NRAC (non-Resident Alien Crew), who receive a USCG document, but are not residents of the US, and who are paid US wage and pay US taxes and Social Security.  However, the number of NRAC crew on the ship is limited to coming from the 25% Green Card crew, so the more NRAC you have, the less Green Card crew you have, never to exceed 25%.  The NRAC supervisors have to have been employed by NCL for 10 years prior to getting NRAC status, and they have to get an H1-B work visa, and NCL has to sponsor them (accept all financial responsibility for them while in the US).

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There is always US River cruises....

 

It looks like Viking has found a way to build a ship in the U.S.:

 

https://www.workboat.com/news/passenger-vessels/viking-says-it-will-start-mississippi-river/

 

"River cruise behemoth Viking Cruises will start cruising the Mississippi River in August 2022 with a 450’x75’ vessel being built at a shipyard owned by Edison Chouest Offshore, Galliano, La."

 

and interesting part of this:

"Chouest would build and own the vessels and charter them to Viking. The cruise line earlier said that the vessels, costing $90 million to $100 million each, would be built at U.S. yards, crewed by U.S. citizens, owned by an investment management firm, and time-chartered to Viking “in full compliance with maritime laws.”

 

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Chengkp75 is wrong regarding one point that I made when I started this thread.  If foreign flagged ships were allowed to offer cruises that are confined entirely to US ports, the CDC would have total control.  Here is how.  If the lines offer this domestic cruise they would have to abide by whatever rules the CDC sets regardless of where they are flagged.   If they don't agree to follow these CDC rules, the CDC could close U S ports to this type of cruising just as our government can close our ports in an emergency.  There is not even any humanitarian consideration.  In other words to get this privilege the line would have to follow U S rules under this suspensions of the Act.

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13 minutes ago, dreaminofcruisin said:

There is always US River cruises....

 

It looks like Viking has found a way to build a ship in the U.S.:

 

https://www.workboat.com/news/passenger-vessels/viking-says-it-will-start-mississippi-river/

 

"River cruise behemoth Viking Cruises will start cruising the Mississippi River in August 2022 with a 450’x75’ vessel being built at a shipyard owned by Edison Chouest Offshore, Galliano, La."

 

and interesting part of this:

"Chouest would build and own the vessels and charter them to Viking. The cruise line earlier said that the vessels, costing $90 million to $100 million each, would be built at U.S. yards, crewed by U.S. citizens, owned by an investment management firm, and time-chartered to Viking “in full compliance with maritime laws.”

 

There are also American Cruise Lines and Blount Adventure Cruises, which are both US flag operations.

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11 minutes ago, dreaminofcruisin said:

There is always US River cruises....

 

It looks like Viking has found a way to build a ship in the U.S.:

 

https://www.workboat.com/news/passenger-vessels/viking-says-it-will-start-mississippi-river/

 

"River cruise behemoth Viking Cruises will start cruising the Mississippi River in August 2022 with a 450’x75’ vessel being built at a shipyard owned by Edison Chouest Offshore, Galliano, La."

 

and interesting part of this:

"Chouest would build and own the vessels and charter them to Viking. The cruise line earlier said that the vessels, costing $90 million to $100 million each, would be built at U.S. yards, crewed by U.S. citizens, owned by an investment management firm, and time-chartered to Viking “in full compliance with maritime laws.”

 

A big difference between a river boat and an ocean cruise liner like the major cruise lines are using today.

 

Viking is paying the increased cost because they want access to the market.  As far as ocean going ships they can get access to the market without paying cost of a US ship with US crew.

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4 minutes ago, dag144 said:

Chengkp75 is wrong regarding one point that I made when I started this thread.  If foreign flagged ships were allowed to offer cruises that are confined entirely to US ports, the CDC would have total control.  Here is how.  If the lines offer this domestic cruise they would have to abide by whatever rules the CDC sets regardless of where they are flagged.   If they don't agree to follow these CDC rules, the CDC could close U S ports to this type of cruising just as our government can close our ports in an emergency.  There is not even any humanitarian consideration.  In other words to get this privilege the line would have to follow U S rules under this suspensions of the Act.

Actually if the ships stay totally inside the US the CDC may actually lose some ability since the power for the CDC to act is in dealing with limiting communicable disease from crossing the US borders.  They would still retain some control to block across state lines, but their authority would be more limited.

 

However, if the ship never leaves the US then the same immigration rules that stopped cruises to nowhere a few years ago.  That the employees on board ship would need a different Visa than those on board ship that cuise following PVSA rules that leave the US and return.

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1 minute ago, dag144 said:

Chengkp75 is wrong regarding one point that I made when I started this thread.  If foreign flagged ships were allowed to offer cruises that are confined entirely to US ports, the CDC would have total control.  Here is how.  If the lines offer this domestic cruise they would have to abide by whatever rules the CDC sets regardless of where they are flagged.   If they don't agree to follow these CDC rules, the CDC could close U S ports to this type of cruising just as our government can close our ports in an emergency.  There is not even any humanitarian consideration.  In other words to get this privilege the line would have to follow U S rules under this suspensions of the Act.

The CDC has the right to close ports (via the USCG) at any time, whether the ship is foreign flag or US flag, and the CDC can refuse pratique (health clearance) to any ship entering US waters whether they are foreign flag or US flag.  So, just as they have done right now, the CDC, again via the USCG, has the ability to shut down a foreign flag ship from entering US waters.  There is a lot of jurisdictional overlap between "port state" law and "flag state" law when a ship is in a port other than in its home country, and to say that the CDC would have "complete control" is not accurate, but just as they have done now, they can stop a ship from sailing if a problem presents itself, regardless of flag.  And, once outside the territorial waters of the US (between US ports, let's say), then the CDC and US law have very, very little jurisdiction, regardless of the nature of the voyage.

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