- The Federal Maritime Commission designates Commissioner Louis E. Sola to serve as the Fact Finding Officer for Fact Finding 30, “COVID-19 Impact on Cruise Industry”.
- He will lead a fact finding investigation and work with key industry stakeholders.
- The objective would be to identify commercial measures passenger cruise lines can adopt to mitigate COVID-19 related impacts to this sector of the maritime industry.
Following the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on cruise line industry, the Federal Maritime Commission takes the right step to cope up with the present situation as well as the future. The Federal Maritime Commission has extensively described about it in a recently published article in its website.
The Commissioner has full authority under 46 C.F.R. §§ 502.281-291 to perform his investigative duties, including the ability to issue subpoenas, and take depositions, and hold hearings
The following aspects would be the key elements of Commissioner Sola’s investigation:
- Engaging cruise industry stakeholders to identify commercial solutions to COVID-19 related issues interfering with the operations of the industry.
- Interacting with any or all maritime related COVID-19 task forces in order to gather information and data related to the impact of COVID-19 on the cruise industry.
- Establishing at least one team of leaders from the cruise industry, as well as other stakeholders, to develop commercial solutions to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Fact Finding 30 is an effort to determine the economic stability of the cruise lines. When we talk about the ‘cruise industry’ we tend to think of the ship and vessel operator, but there is an exhaustive list of American citizens and businesses who rely on the work they do for the cruise lines. The sooner cruise companies are able to resume operations and provide certainty to the public about the lines’ financial security, the sooner we can bring stability to enterprises and communities that rely on the cruise industry for their livelihoods. I am confident that the fact finding will identify useful commercial measures industry can take to achieve those goals,” said Commissioner Sola.
The Federal Maritime Commission
- No single federal agency has exclusive or comprehensive authority over cruise lines.
- The Federal Maritime Commission’s jurisdiction over the cruise industry is found at 46 U.S.C. chap. 441,
- The most relevant provision of which is related to the financial responsibilities of cruise lines for non-performance of transportation.
- These provisions apply to companies operating vessels with 50 or more berths that embark passengers at locations in the United States.
“It has been determined that as the Commission has examined concerns related to the cargo side of the shipping industry, we should also examine the impact of this pandemic on passenger vessel operators”, added Sola.
The crux of the investigation
To conclude, Commissioner Sola would examine issues such as canceled sailings and delayed debarkations. This is to determine where and if this Commission can act to facilitate a fair and equitable position between the passenger and the cruise line.
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Source: The Federal Maritime Commission