Should Congress Weigh Anchor on Century-Old Maritime Law?

By Kline, Alan | Insight on the News, July 21, 1997 | Go to article overview

Should Congress Weigh Anchor on Century-Old Maritime Law?


Kline, Alan, Insight on the News


Cruise ships would like to call upon ports in several U.S. cities, but an archaic law forbids the practice. Proponents of change say an amended act would encourage short-term travel between U.S. ports, increase tourism spending by as much as $1 billion per year and create thousands of jobs. So, they argue, what's not to like?

Here's a riddle: A Royal Caribbean cruise ship leaves New York bound for Bermuda. Can the ship make a stop in Baltimore to pick up additional passengers?

The answer is no, thanks to the Passenger Vessel Services Act, or PVSA. Passed in 1886, the law prohibits foreign-owned cruise ships from picking up and dropping off passengers in consecutive U.S. ports. If the Royal Caribbean ship wanted to call on Baltimore, after leaving New York, it first must stop in Nova Scotia, some 500 miles to the north.

"If you live in San Francisco and want to take a cruise to Hawaii, you first have to fly to San Diego, then take a bus to Ensenada" in Mexico, says Veronica Sanchez, government-affairs director with the Port of San Francisco. "That's the most blatant example of why this law needs to be changed." Sanchez belongs to a coalition of port officials, travel agents and tourism officers pushing Congress to amend the law.

The PVSA was passed to protect U.S. ferry operators in the Great Lakes from Canadian competitors. The law requires that all passenger ships operating between U.S. ports be owned by American companies and be built and staffed by American workers. But Sanchez and others point out that the last cruise ship flying under the stars and stripes was built in 1958, and the only U.S. ship now operating is an interisland vessel in Hawaii.

The coalition maintains that an amended act would encourage short-term travel between U.S. ports, increase tourism spending by as much as $1 billion a year and create thousands of jobs. Proponents also argue that if enough demand is created, American companies will build passenger ships and enter the $7.5 billion-a-year cruise business.

In 1996, for example, 10 cruise ships carrying about 11,000 passengers sailed into and out of Baltimore, according to Harriet Sagel, head of tourism development for the Port of Baltimore. If the act is amended, Sagel projects cruise ships will make 23 calls per year in Baltimore, generating an additional $5.1 million in vessel services and $4.6 million in tourism. Cruise passengers, on average, spend $205 a day in foreign ports, according to the coalition.

"A person could start a vacation in Baltimore and visit Charleston [S.C.], Savannah [Ga.] and Jacksonville [Fla.] on their way to Orlando," says Mary Brennan, the president of Ambassador Cruises, a travel agency in Fort Washington, Md. "It would open a market that doesn't exist because of this obsolete law."

Sen. Frank H. Murkowski, Alaska Republican, recently introduced legislation that would permit foreign-flagged ships to sail directly to Alaska from San Francisco and other West Coast cities. Most Alaskan cruises originate in Vancouver, British Columbia, not nearby Seattle. In 1996, cruise ships made 290 calls in Vancouver and 11 calls in Seattle.

Still, the proposal hardly has universal support. Maritime labor unions vigorously oppose the measure, fearing it would presage a similar law for cargo ships. "As a matter of policy, we believe ships operating between U.S. ports must fly the American flag and consequently be manned by U.S. workers," says James Patti, a spokesman for the Masters, Mates and Pilots Union.

Cruise lines are steering clear of the debate. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Should Congress Weigh Anchor on Century-Old Maritime Law?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.