Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio have introduced a new Set Sail Safely Act to develop a roadmap for the safe resumption of cruise operations at ports across the USA.
Cruise lines must abide by a No Sail Order until 30 September 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the new bill would establish a Maritime Task Force in conjunction with a private sector advisory committee to address the health, safety, security and logistical issues that are preventing the cruise industry from reopening in the USA.
The Maritime Task Force would consist of representatives of several federal agencies led by the US Department of Homeland Security. Meanwhile, the private sector stakeholders would include representatives from the passenger cruise line industry, US ports, commercial fishermen, small businesses and health professionals.
The bill is also expected to help drive economic recovery in Florida. Prior to the pandemic, the cruise industry supported almost half a million jobs in the US, including more than 150,000 in Florida alone.
“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,” said Rubio. “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.”
The legislation has been welcomed by organisations such as the American Association of Port Authorities, the Florida Ports Council, Miami-Dade County and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
“On behalf of the wider cruise community, including nearly 44,000 American travel advisors and hundreds of small- and medium-sized businesses in the US 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,” said Adam Goldstein, global chair of CLIA.
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