U.S. senators Rick Scott and Senator Marco Rubio have introduced the Set Sail Safely Act in an effort to restart cruises.
The bill will establish a Maritime Task Force, in coordination with a Private Sector Advisory Committee, to address the health, safety, security, and logistical changes needed to allow for cruise lines and ports to resume operations.
Currently, cruise lines are under a No Sail Order until September 30, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Specifically, the Set Sail Safely Act would require the proper federal agencies, led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to work together with input from private sector stakeholders to develop a plan for the safe resumption of cruise line operations. The Maritime Task Force would include representatives from several federal agencies, while private sector stakeholders would include representatives from the passenger cruise line industry.
The Act would also create a timeline for meetings of the Task Force, recommendations, and implementation of the Task Force’s recommendations.
“Florida is a tourism state with thousands of jobs relying on the success of our ports, cruise lines and maritime industries. Over the past few months, I’ve had many conversations with leaders at Florida ports, federal agencies, and within the cruise industry about how to ensure the safety of passengers and employees,”Senator Rick Scott said.
“As we work to solve the coronavirus and safely reopen our economy, this legislation will support the development of guidelines needed to ensure the safe resumption of our cruise lines and port operations.”
“The cruise and maritime industries are vital to the prosperity of our state’s economy, and securing guidance for safely resuming operations is a top priority of mine. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve been working with the Administration, officials from the state, and industry leaders to identify ways to mitigate risk in hopes of an eventual return to business,” Senator Marco Rubio commented.
“I am proud to join Senator Scott in introducing legislation that will provide a roadmap for cruise lines and port authorities to safely resume operations, allowing our valuable tourism economy, and the people it employs, to begin to recover.”
“On behalf of the wider cruise community, including nearly 44,000 American travel advisors and hundreds of small and medium sized businesses in the U.S. that provide products and services to cruise lines, CLIA joins our port partners in thanking Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio for their leadership in introducing this important legislation. The cruise industry is an important economic contributor in the United States, supporting nearly half a million U.S. jobs, and over 150,000 in Florida alone, prior to the pandemic,” Adam Goldstein, Global Chair, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), said.
“The senators’ bill draws much needed attention to the importance of strategic dialogue between appropriate federal agencies and a broad group of public and private sector stakeholders to safely advance a resumption of cruising in the U.S. that mirrors the gradual and successful restart of cruise operations in Europe.”
“America’s port authorities appreciate and applaud Senator Scott’s leadership in introducing a bill to establish a Maritime Task Force and a private sector advisory committee to address the myriad issues relating to resumption of U.S. cruise operations during the COVID–19 public health emergency,” Christopher J. Connor, president and CEO of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), added.