The US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has appointed Commissioner Louis E. Sola to oversee a fact finding investigation aimed at identifying commercial measures passenger cruise lines can adopt to mitigate COVID-19 related impacts.
Commissioner Sola’s task, within the so called Fact Finding 30 mission, will involve –
- Engaging 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 COVID-19 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.
He has been given full authority to perform his investigative duties, including the ability to issue subpoenas, and take depositions, and hold hearings.
“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,” Commissioner Sola said..
No single federal agency has exclusive or comprehensive authority over cruise lines. The FMC’s jurisdiction over the cruise industry is found at 46 USC 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 in US locations.