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4-2-2021 CDC has issued new guidance


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Just now, DCGuy64 said:

Can you explain what the term "free pratique" means? As I understand it, it means the captain of a ship wishing to enter a port has to be able to guarantee the vessel is 100% free of contagious disease. Is that your understanding also?

That is correct.  Free pratique means that the ship will be granted clearance on the Captain's statement alone, not requiring a health inspection prior to docking/anchoring.  This makes the Captain criminally liable for a false government statement if it is shown the application for pratique was not truthful.  It can also result in the USCG Captain of the Port from banning the ship from entering US waters.  Even my ship, a US flag tanker, in the Jones Act fleet (only going between US ports) must submit a letter of free pratique for each port.

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3 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

That is correct.  Free pratique means that the ship will be granted clearance on the Captain's statement alone, not requiring a health inspection prior to docking/anchoring.  This makes the Captain criminally liable for a false government statement if it is shown the application for pratique was not truthful.  It can also result in the USCG Captain of the Port from banning the ship from entering US waters.  Even my ship, a US flag tanker, in the Jones Act fleet (only going between US ports) must submit a letter of free pratique for each port.

Thank you. Unlike you, I am not an industry expert, so forgive me if I ask what might seem like a dumb question. As regards the leisure cruise industry, would that mean in practice that the captain of, say, a mega cruise ship with 5,000 passengers and 1,000 crew would need to personally vouch for the absence of any contagious disease aboard his vessel before being allowed to dock, or else be subject to prosecution if he were wrong? Because that would seem to be an insuperable obstacle, in practice.

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14 minutes ago, DCGuy64 said:

Thank you. Unlike you, I am not an industry expert, so forgive me if I ask what might seem like a dumb question. As regards the leisure cruise industry, would that mean in practice that the captain of, say, a mega cruise ship with 5,000 passengers and 1,000 crew would need to personally vouch for the absence of any contagious disease aboard his vessel before being allowed to dock, or else be subject to prosecution if he were wrong? Because that would seem to be an insuperable obstacle, in practice.

You are correct, and that's why they pay them the big bucks.  The statement has to be "to the best of his knowledge", meaning that there are no reported cases of illness, and unless someone like a CBP agent notices sick people leaving the ship, they won't prosecute for isolated cases.

 

A ship's officer's license is a professional license, just like a civil engineer or a doctor, and makes that officer legally responsible for the actions of his/her subordinates, and for the Master, for the ship as a whole, including crew and cargo (passengers).

Edited by chengkp75
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Well, call me a pessimist then, because in the age of Covid-19, I don't see how any cruise ship carrying a typical crew and passenger load is going to be able to guarantee that no one on board is sick or contagious. So either the captain lies and hopes nothing is found out, or the captain tells the truth and ships are denied entry. Either way, that spells the end of the leisure cruise industry in this country. We had a good run, though. Time to liquidate the assets and declare bankruptcy. Personally I think that kind of requirement is a poison pill designed to prevent the industry from resuming, but it provides cover for the CDC who can just say they are trying to protect public health. But to me it's like the local health department saying that unless a restaurant manager can guarantee no one will get sick or have an allergic reaction to his food, he can't open up, which effectively closes him down. 😕

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35 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

You are correct, and that's why they pay them the big bucks.  The statement has to be "to the best of his knowledge", meaning that there are no reported cases of illness, and unless someone like a CBP agent notices sick people leaving the ship, they won't prosecute for isolated cases.

 

A ship's officer's license is a professional license, just like a civil engineer or a doctor, and makes that officer legally responsible for the actions of his/her subordinates, and for the Master, for the ship as a whole, including crew and cargo (passengers).

I know doctors carry malpractice insurance.  Is there something similar for the officers?  Would RC provide it for their captains?  Has this ever happened to a cruise ship captain?

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29 minutes ago, ATG said:

I know doctors carry malpractice insurance.  Is there something similar for the officers?  Would RC provide it for their captains?  Has this ever happened to a cruise ship captain?

Its is errors and omissions insurance for officers and directors.  Under the theory of "deep pockets" planitiffs attys go after the company vs the employee.

 

Except now the companies have more liabilities than asset, and its more than just cruise lines. AT&T, for example the old widows and orphans stock, has net negative tangible net worth, and Exxon Mobil had to borrow the last few years to pay dividends. But both companies brought that on themselves.

 

  It is why I have concerns about too much deposits and FCC with  cruise lines.

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2 hours ago, DCGuy64 said:

Personally I think that kind of requirement is a poison pill designed to prevent the industry from resuming, but it provides cover for the CDC who can just say they are trying to protect public health

Free pratique is the same for every country, so its not just the CDC.

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2 hours ago, ATG said:

I know doctors carry malpractice insurance.  Is there something similar for the officers?  Would RC provide it for their captains?  Has this ever happened to a cruise ship captain?

Yes, there is maritime license insurance.  No, typically ship owners do not provide this for their officers, the officer or his/her union/professional association will obtain it.  If you mean has a cruise ship Captain been prosecuted for falsifying a health declaration, I'm not sure.  If you mean has a cruise ship Captain been convicted of a crime for something a subordinate did, then definitely yes.  They have been convicted for environmental crimes (pumping oily water overboard), and the like.  Chiefs and other deck and engine officers have been convicted as well.   Just remember the Concordia, where bridge officers were prosecuted for not enforcing "bridge team management" principles, where officers went along with the Captain without voicing concerns.

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For anyone still unsure about the authority of DHHS/USPHS/CDC to issue COVID19 mitigation regulations to the cruise industry, such as the CSO, under US Law, the attached document contains relevant excerpts from Title 42 of the US Code. 

42 USC.docx

Edited by NavArch64
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3 hours ago, DCGuy64 said:

Well, call me a pessimist then, because in the age of Covid-19, I don't see how any cruise ship carrying a typical crew and passenger load is going to be able to guarantee that no one on board is sick or contagious. So either the captain lies and hopes nothing is found out, or the captain tells the truth and ships are denied entry.

 

There are cheap tests available that don't feel like a stick reaching your brain. Test everyone on board, every two days, for a week, and if every single test comes out negative the Captain can guarantee that the ship is OK without feeling he might be lying.

 

2 hours ago, DCGuy64 said:

Personally I think that kind of requirement is a poison pill designed to prevent the industry from resuming, but it provides cover for the CDC who can just say they are trying to protect public health. But to me it's like the local health department saying that unless a restaurant manager can guarantee no one will get sick or have an allergic reaction to his food, he can't open up, which effectively closes him down. 😕

 

I have never liked CDC making a lot of fuss about people getting sick from Salmonella on ships as I think that's beyond their mandate. CDC doesn't check restaurants in Malta, where Americans might get sick from undercooked food, and IMHO that should be exactly the same if the Maltese restaurant happens to be moored in Miami, like the Celebrity ships. Once you enter the ship, you are "abroad" and you should expect the rules and protections to be different.  When you leave the ship, you're not going to infect anyone.

 

Yet, CDC worrying about people carrying a deadly virus into the US is a completely different thing. That's exactly where they do have a mandate. The US simply stopped all air traffic from a large part of the world last year to prevent spreading corona in the US because corona is different from noro or salmonella. It's the job of CDC to be very suspicious about foreign ships. 

 

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16 minutes ago, NavArch64 said:

For anyone still unsure about the authority of DHHS/USPHS/CDC to issue COVID19 mitigation regulations to the cruise industry, such as the CSO, under US Law, the attached document contains relevant excerpts from Title 42 of the US Code. 

42 USC.docx 14.34 kB · 4 downloads

 

This is an antiquated code dating back to 1946 -- as laws changed, this should have changed as well. If it's still on the books, then it's still the law but any outdated legislation can be challenged.  This does not work well in today's situation. 

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33 minutes ago, NavArch64 said:

For anyone still unsure about the authority of DHHS/USPHS/CDC to issue COVID19 mitigation regulations to the cruise industry, such as the CSO, under US Law, the attached document contains relevant excerpts from Title 42 of the US Code. 

42 USC.docx 14.34 kB · 5 downloads

 

"Any vessel which violates section 269 of this title, or any regulations thereunder or under section 267 of this title, or which enters within or departs from the limits of any quarantine station, ground, or anchorage in disregard of the quarantine rules and regulations or without permission of the officer in charge, shall forfeit to the United States not more than $5,000, the amount to be determined by the court, which shall be a lien on such vessel, to be recovered by proceedings in the proper district court of the United States. "

 

 

Has $5 K been adjusted for inflation? If not I wouldn't worry too much as a Captain, and ask for a raise because of "unforeseen personal expenses". Unless it would cost him his license, too, of course.

 

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24 minutes ago, livingonthebeach said:

 

This is an antiquated code dating back to 1946 -- as laws changed, this should have changed as well. If it's still on the books, then it's still the law but any outdated legislation can be challenged.  This does not work well in today's situation. 

 

Yes, certainly makes no sense for public health authorities to be involved in protecting people from a worldwide disease. We should have travel agents doing it.

Edited by mayleeman
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12 minutes ago, mayleeman said:

 

Yes, certainly makes no sense for public health authorities to be involved in protecting people from a worldwide disease. We should have travel agents doing it.

 

The way this agency is handling it in a slipshod manner, I wouldn't be surprised if travel agents could do a much better job. My point is that laws need to be updated to fit the current times -- not much has been updated regarding Title 42. 

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56 minutes ago, AmazedByCruising said:

Once you enter the ship, you are "abroad" and you should expect the rules and protections to be different.

And, again, as I've explained, there is jurisdictional overlap between flag state and port state, and things that affect the "safety and harmony" of the port state can be regulated by the port state.  And, the Maltese have the right to inspect a US restaurant that is docked in Valetta.

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3 minutes ago, livingonthebeach said:

 

The way this agency is handling it in a slipshod manner, I wouldn't be surprised if travel agents could do a much better job. My point is that laws need to be updated to fit the current times -- not much has been updated regarding Title 42. 

So, what do you propose as possible updates to the quarantine regulations?  And by the way, the laws concerning vessel quarantine go back to the revolution.

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8 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

So, what do you propose as possible updates to the quarantine regulations?  And by the way, the laws concerning vessel quarantine go back to the revolution.

First, I love cruising and have over 30 cruises since 1990. But let’s be honest. The cruise lines turn their back on the U.S. by not registering ships or hiring more Americans. Then they expect to be treated like airlines who buy Boeing planes and hire Americans to fly and maintain them. Cruise lines “try” to be U.S. friendly by investing in ports. When they start paying their share of taxes, then they should be treated fairly. I am glad the got no bailout money. 

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9 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

So, what do you propose as possible updates to the quarantine regulations?  And by the way, the laws concerning vessel quarantine go back to the revolution.

 

For starters, reform the PVSA to allow cruises to nowhere.  Secondly, allow test cruises now.  Lastly, give timelines for the the current CSO. 

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26 minutes ago, livingonthebeach said:

 

For starters, reform the PVSA to allow cruises to nowhere.  Secondly, allow test cruises now.  Lastly, give timelines for the the current CSO. 

You have a better shot at winning one of the big lotteries than any of these happening.

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10 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

And, again, as I've explained, there is jurisdictional overlap between flag state and port state, and things that affect the "safety and harmony" of the port state can be regulated by the port state.  And, the Maltese have the right to inspect a US restaurant that is docked in Valetta.

 

I tried to find "safety and harmony" as a term, but Google leads me to CC 🙂 When even a purchase of a drink, by a foreigner, from a foreigner, on a foreign ship, can be taxed by the port state, I wonder what actually can be done on a ship without being subject to all the laws of the port state instead of being an "internal working of a ship". Where does it say you can tax the beer and shut down the casino, but you apparently cannot enforce, let's say, local minimum wages for the crew? 

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Just now, grandgeezer said:

You have a better shot at winning one of the big lotteries than any of these happening.

 

Sadly, you are probably right.  That's what wrong with our system.  Other countries are way ahead of us and are profiting from our lack of expeditiousness and efficiency. 

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9 hours ago, livingonthebeach said:

 

For starters, reform the PVSA to allow cruises to nowhere.  Secondly, allow test cruises now.  Lastly, give timelines for the the current CSO. 

Neither of those has any bearing on the section of USC that covers quarantine, which was the topic under discussion.  Secondly, "cruises to nowhere" are specifically allowed under the PVSA, it is a CBP regulation requiring work visas for foreign crew on those cruises that makes them uneconomical for the cruise lines to offer.  And, finally, if the CDC were to say, "you have 30 days to get these required agreements and contracts in place" and then we will proceed with the approval process, you don't believe that all the people crying for cruising to restart now, would be crying that it is impossible to meet that timeline.  Or, are you saying that the CDC should say, "in 30 days we will have the technical instructions for the simulated cruises published, but since you won't be able to have the agreements and contracts in place by that time, well, I guess we'll just gloss over that portion of our plan"?

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9 hours ago, AmazedByCruising said:

 

I tried to find "safety and harmony" as a term, but Google leads me to CC 🙂 When even a purchase of a drink, by a foreigner, from a foreigner, on a foreign ship, can be taxed by the port state, I wonder what actually can be done on a ship without being subject to all the laws of the port state instead of being an "internal working of a ship". Where does it say you can tax the beer and shut down the casino, but you apparently cannot enforce, let's say, local minimum wages for the crew? 

The wages and working conditions of the crew are an agreement between the crew and the Captain (personally, acting as the ship owner's representative), and therefore enacted under the laws of the flag state.  As such, they are "internal operations" of the ship.  A beer sold on the ship is "commerce" that is taking place inside the territorial waters of the port state, and therefore subject to taxation and any other limitations placed on all other commerce within that port state.  Jurisdictional overlap is a very complex concept of law, and one that admiralty lawyers work to define every day.  You could spend a career learning admiralty law, and still not understand all aspects of it.  Doesn't the EU charge VAT on purchases on Bahamian ships in EU ports?  (I know there are exceptions and limitations, and up to each EU member as to whether or not they do it, but it is completely legal under EU law).

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38 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

Neither of those has any bearing on the section of USC that covers quarantine, which was the topic under discussion.  Secondly, "cruises to nowhere" are specifically allowed under the PVSA, it is a CBP regulation requiring work visas for foreign crew on those cruises that makes them uneconomical for the cruise lines to offer.  And, finally, if the CDC were to say, "you have 30 days to get these required agreements and contracts in place" and then we will proceed with the approval process, you don't believe that all the people crying for cruising to restart now, would be crying that it is impossible to meet that timeline.  Or, are you saying that the CDC should say, "in 30 days we will have the technical instructions for the simulated cruises published, but since you won't be able to have the agreements and contracts in place by that time, well, I guess we'll just gloss over that portion of our plan"?

 

While I appreciate your technical knowledge and explanation on why we in the United States are in a different situation than other parts of the world, I feel those technicalities / regulations / code / law could be relaxed a bit to catch up with the 21st Century to compete in a global cruising industry.

 

Other countries are offering cruises to nowhere free of the archaic obstacles in place here, whether it is the CBP or other regulations.  The negative economic impact on our US port cities these policies demonstrate is not negligible. 

 

 

Edited by livingonthebeach
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10 hours ago, rcclmiami said:

First, I love cruising and have over 30 cruises since 1990. But let’s be honest. The cruise lines turn their back on the U.S. by not registering ships or hiring more Americans. Then they expect to be treated like airlines who buy Boeing planes and hire Americans to fly and maintain them. Cruise lines “try” to be U.S. friendly by investing in ports. When they start paying their share of taxes, then they should be treated fairly. I am glad the got no bailout money. 

 

1) Cruise lines didn't expect bailout money

2) Airlines do a good job of avoiding paying taxes

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