Canada imposes one-year ban on cruise ships, pleasure craft

A cruise ship berthed at the Port of Vancouver

The Canadian government, through Transport Canada, has issued two new interim orders prohibiting pleasure craft in Canadian Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters until February 28, 2022.

The prohibitions cover adventure-seeking pleasure craft, passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people in Arctic coastal waters including the Labrador coast, and cruise vessels carrying more than 100 people.

Pleasure craft used by local Arctic residents will not be affected by these measures. The restrictions also do not apply to craft used by local communities for essential transportation, subsistence fishing, harvesting, and hunting.

The government added that essential passenger vessels, such as ferries and water taxis, should continue to follow local public health guidance and protocols, and follow mitigation measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and prevent future outbreaks. These could include reducing the number of passengers, ensuring physical distancing, the wearing of masks, and enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures.

Those who do not comply with the pleasure craft prohibition could be subject to penalties: CA$5,000 (US$3,934) per day for individuals and CA$25,000 (US$19,673) per day for groups or corporations.

Those who do not comply with the passenger vessel prohibition could be liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to CA$1 million (US$786,925) or to imprisonment for a term of up to 18 months, or to both.

The government said there is no national ban for smaller cruise ships certified to carry 100 or fewer people. However, the vessels’ operators still need to follow provincial, territorial, local, and regional health authority protocols for timelines and processes around their operations.

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