US Federal Maritime Commission to launch fact-finding mission on cruise lines’ Covid-19 issues

Photo: Carnival Cruise Line

The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) is set to conduct a fact-finding investigation and work with key industry stakeholders to identify commercial measures that passenger cruise lines could adopt to mitigate Covid-19 related impacts to this sector of the maritime industry.

The investigation seeks to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Engage cruise industry stakeholders to identify commercial solutions to Covid-19 related issues interfering with the operations of the industry.
  • Interact with any or all maritime related Covid-19 task forces in order to gather information and data related to the impact of the pandemic on the cruise industry.
  • Establish 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.

The commissioner designated to lead the investigation has full authority under 46 C.F.R. §§ 502.281-291 to perform his investigative duties, including the ability to issue subpoenas, take depositions, and hold hearings.

No single US federal agency has exclusive or comprehensive authority over cruise lines. However, the FMC’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.

The provisions apply to companies operating vessels with 50 or more berths that embark passengers at locations in the United States.

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