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Repeal the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA)


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I came across this blog post about the need to reform the PVSA.  This is the regulation that requires cruises from the US to stop at a foreign port.

https://www.cato.org/blog/cruise-industry-bailout-washington-should-give-repeal-passenger-vessel-services-act

 

This seems to be part of a larger effort by Cato that is mainly to reform the Jones Act - which does the same for cargo ships.

https://www.cato.org/project-jones-act-reform

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Been many discussions around the boards on these topics. There are definitely pluses to the Jones Act and PVSA. Can't think of anybody in the cruising business, or in the freight business, that wants to change the two laws. Most other countries have their versions as well. As a result, there really isn't much demand to change the laws.

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What I find disturbing in all the talk of repealing/rewriting the Jones Act and the PVSA is the misinformation presented by those looking for revisions that they present as facts.

 

The CATO article claims the building of the Pride of America was "bungled", when in fact it was the owner that went bankrupt after 9/11, not any difficulties in building the ship that led NCL to buy the unfinished hull, and NCL's desire to save money and time by using a shipyard experienced in cruise ship fitting out that led to it being finished in the US.  Then is claims that the ship is still touted as "made in America", which it isn't, it received a waiver to the US built requirement of the PVSA.

 

And CATO disregards the industry's own association, CLIA, which has stated that none of its members have any desire to pursue a revision/repeal of the PVSA, as they don't see any benefit to their bottom line.

 

As for the Hawaii Free Press, if they feel that repealing the "US built" clause of the Jones Act would encourage more Jones Act ships, and reduce costs for transportation to Hawaii, they miss the US government's MARAD studies that show it costs 3.7 times as much to operate (not including building costs) a US flag vessel as a foreign vessel.  Also, not sure what the existence of "drones and nuclear missiles" has to do with the Jones Act.

 

And, what the opponents of the "US built" clause don't understand is that even a ship that is Jones Act or PVSA compliant, meaning it is considered to be "US built" can have all the steel in the ship be imported, so long as it is cut, shaped, and assembled in the US.  Up to 1.5% of the weight of the ship can be fabricated (shaped and manufactured) overseas (things like bulbous bows and stern castings, rudders), and all machinery, wiring, and piping can be pre-fabricated overseas and shipped to the US as modules for assembly in the US. 

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18 hours ago, JennysUncle said:

I came across this blog post about the need to reform the PVSA.  This is the regulation that requires cruises from the US to stop at a foreign port.

https://www.cato.org/blog/cruise-industry-bailout-washington-should-give-repeal-passenger-vessel-services-act

 

This seems to be part of a larger effort by Cato that is mainly to reform the Jones Act - which does the same for cargo ships.

https://www.cato.org/project-jones-act-reform

If the Cruise Industry had gotten a reprieve from this act we could have had an Alaskan season if we just used Seattle as the base of operation. The days of travel would have to have been staggered but HAL could have had a daily cruise out of Seattle to Alaska.  Releif would have helped the economy in both Washington State and our friends in Alaska.

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4 minutes ago, Himself said:

Releif would have helped the economy in both Washington State and our friends in Alaska

How so?  Neither Alaska or Washington State were open for tourism until lately, and Alaska still requires either a negative covid test or a 14 day quarantine, and no cruise line has submitted a covid mediation plan to restart sailing.  Seattle is under stricter travel restrictions than the remainder of Washington State, so that is yet another hurdle.  So, even if the PVSA was waived, there would not have been any cruises to Alaska to date, or even until the CDC approves covid planning.

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11 minutes ago, Himself said:

If the Cruise Industry had gotten a reprieve from this act we could have had an Alaskan season if we just used Seattle as the base of operation. The days of travel would have to have been staggered but HAL could have had a daily cruise out of Seattle to Alaska.  Releif would have helped the economy in both Washington State and our friends in Alaska.

The Port of Seattle banned cruise ships during this COVID-19 pandemic. The state of Washington and King County have also imposed a number of strict limitations to 'non-essential travel'. King County may make it to phase-2 of the reopening plan this week, but non-essential travel restrictions will still apply and no group larger than five individuals may gather together according to the guidelines.

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5 hours ago, chengkp75 said:

How so?  Neither Alaska or Washington State were open for tourism until lately, and Alaska still requires either a negative covid test or a 14 day quarantine, and no cruise line has submitted a covid mediation plan to restart sailing.  Seattle is under stricter travel restrictions than the remainder of Washington State, so that is yet another hurdle.  So, even if the PVSA was waived, there would not have been any cruises to Alaska to date, or even until the CDC approves covid planning.

You keep stating facts that dispel the wishful thinking of some. Be aware that many of us appreciate your candor and knowledge.

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6 hours ago, Himself said:

If the Cruise Industry had gotten a reprieve from this act we could have had an Alaskan season if we just used Seattle as the base of operation. The days of travel would have to have been staggered but HAL could have had a daily cruise out of Seattle to Alaska.  Releif would have helped the economy in both Washington State and our friends in Alaska.

No, there still would not have been an Alaska cruise season.  If Canada had not put their BAN in place.  You still had CDC no Sail order.  If not those  you probably would seen action by Alaska to have stopped it. After all  Alaska is still requiring travelers to quarantine. 

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3 minutes ago, npcl said:

No, there still would not have been an Alaska cruise season.  If Canada had not put their BAN in place.  You still had CDC no Sail order.  If not those  you probably would seen action by Alaska to have stopped it. After all  Alaska is still requiring travelers to quarantine. 

I will be talking to friends in Alaska tomorrow.

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Ah....talk about a Seattle to Alaska cruise season, without the required Canada stop, would require a waiver of PVSA. So if that's not related to the PVSA, I don't know what is.

 

Don't think you get to say what people post on a thread you create. Kind of a freedom of speech thing...

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4 hours ago, JennysUncle said:

Hey, those who want to talk about the Alaska cruise season might start a thread on that. This one is about the PVSA.

Going to Alaska from Seattle is all about PVSA.

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17 hours ago, JennysUncle said:

Hey, those who want to talk about the Alaska cruise season might start a thread on that. This one is about the PVSA.

 

The article you posted specifically used Alaska as a main example, and how it would negate the current need to stop in Canada.  Like the others, I don't know how a repeal of the PVSA can be discussed without talking about Alaska.  

 

I will also note that article was written 3 months ago when theorists thought DC was going to bail out the cruise lines, and before the CDC issued the no sail order.  It's all a moot point now.  

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15 minutes ago, Aquahound said:

Like the others, I don't know how a repeal of the PVSA can be discussed without talking about Alaska.

Actually, I think it's quite possible.  Alaska cruises are a prime example of how cruise lines adapt to the PVSA but without it they could presumably run one way cruises from Seattle to San Diego or vice-versa without visiting a foreign port or New York to Miami.  I think the rub as Chengkp75 has pointed out is that the cruise lines have little interest in doing it.

 

One thing I wonder about is the Pride of America.  I know it has a partial PVSA exemption but am not sure if it would be permitted to do round trips, say Seattle to SF and back (once Seattle reopened).  Not sure how much of a role Hawaii must have in that exemption.

 

Roy

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36 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

Actually, I think it's quite possible.  Alaska cruises are a prime example of how cruise lines adapt to the PVSA but without it they could presumably run one way cruises from Seattle to San Diego or vice-versa without visiting a foreign port or New York to Miami.  I think the rub as Chengkp75 has pointed out is that the cruise lines have little interest in doing it.

 

One thing I wonder about is the Pride of America.  I know it has a partial PVSA exemption but am not sure if it would be permitted to do round trips, say Seattle to SF and back (once Seattle reopened).  Not sure how much of a role Hawaii must have in that exemption.

 

Roy

It has been mentioned here that POA is limited to Hawaii. It did a revenue cruise to SF to go into drydock...it had to get special permission.

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6 minutes ago, CruiserBruce said:

It has been mentioned here that POA is limited to Hawaii. It did a revenue cruise to SF to go into drydock...it had to get special permission.

This is almost correct.  The POA is limited to trade in the Hawaiian Islands exclusively, with the exception of transits to/from a drydock, so no special permission was required.

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22 hours ago, rafinmd said:

I think the rub as Chengkp75 has pointed out is that the cruise lines have little interest in doing it.

 

I think this is the frozen o-ring in his argument.

 

As a maritime professional,  Chengkp75 could not possibly know or have the best interests of CLIA in mind.   It is also an issue that is above his paygrade and above that of the ferry captains and defenders of the PVSA galaxy,  knowledgeable in the respective fields as they may be,   they have missed the boat on this one.

 

I would challenge his statement that CLIA has no interest in having Cruiselines excluded from PVSA regs.; there has just never been an impetus to change (until now).   Markets get what they want and if the CLIA gets wind that such a type of cruising could be made possible,  then they would jump on it like a Spanish fly on a Valencia Orange.

 

Not to make an argument out of it,   but the groundswell from the cruising community to be able to sail from one US port to another without having to make a foreign stop is one of the most common questions put to these forums.   This groundswell indicates that there is a need in the market.

 

The PVSA as it relates to cruiselines sailing from US to US port is fubar because the PVSA is so broad in scope that it encompasses cruising like an innocent animal caught in a old bear-trap.   It prevents the development of new or alternate cruise itineraries.

 

It is outdated and cruiselines need to be exempt in such a way that the wayward seamen and duty-bound professionals don't have an issue.  

 

Markets get what they want.    That's just the way it is.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by JRG
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44 minutes ago, JRG said:

 

As a maritime professional,  Chengkp75 could not possibly know or have the best interests of CLIA in mind.   It is also an issue that is above his paygrade and above that of the ferry captains and defenders of the PVSA galaxy,  knowledgeable in the respective fields as they may be,   they have missed the boat on this one.

 

I would challenge his statement that CLIA has no interest in having Cruiselines excluded from PVSA regs.; there has just never been an impetus to change (until now).   Markets get what they want and if the CLIA gets wind that such a type of cruising could be made possible,  then they would jump on it like a Spanish fly on a Valencia Orange.

 

Not to make an argument out of it,   but the groundswell from the cruising community to be able to sail from one US port to another without having to make a foreign stop is one of the most common questions put to these forums.   This groundswell indicates that there is a need in the market.

 

 

You do realize that Cruise Critic is less than 5% of the cruise market? And many people here don't seem to even understand the PVSA, or the difference between it and the Jones Act. 

 

I am  glad we have someone here that knows more than someone who has served at pretty high ranks in the cruise and cargo industries. 😒

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1 hour ago, JRG said:

I would challenge his statement that CLIA has no interest in having Cruiselines excluded from PVSA regs.; there has just never been an impetus to change (until now).   Markets get what they want and if the CLIA gets wind that such a type of cruising could be made possible,  then they would jump on it like a Spanish fly on a Valencia Orange.

House committee meeting regarding the repeal of PVSA from 1998:

 

http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/Trans/hpw105-65.000/hpw105-65_1.HTM

 

"Proponents of repealing the PVSA argue that such action will increase trade in the U.S. cruise industry and help local economies. Yet, in my view, there is no evidence that this will happen. In fact, the International Council of Cruise Lines has expressed no interest in changing law to open new U.S. routes for its member companies. It even stated publicly that while the reformed PVSA might add some U.S. ports to cruise itineraries, most of our members believe that this would not be significant, especially in light of restrictions that would likely be attached."

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29 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

House committee meeting regarding the repeal of PVSA from 1998:

 

1.  1998 is way too old too cite and everybody knows it.   Think in the now as the context has changed.

 

2.  Nobody is talking about 'repealing',  that is your built-in bias at work,   read again, we are talking about excluding cruiselines from the act,  not repealing.   I say again NOT repealing, but excluding.    The sky will not come falling down if cruiselines are exempted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, CruiserBruce said:

I am  glad we have someone here that knows more than someone who has served at pretty high ranks in the cruise and cargo industries

 

Then they should be qualified to differentiate the usage of 'repeal'  and 'exclude' in this context.   

 

If they cannot then there will always be failure to communicate on this issue.

 

And I am glad that I have met one of our local US house reps,  in case I needed to bring it up with somebody important.  He has served at a pretty high rank himself.

Edited by JRG
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