FMC Commissioner Louis E. Sola urges Biden Administration and Congress to talk to Canada regarding its recent decision to bar all cruise vessels from their waters until February 2022.
On February 4, 2021, the Canadian Minister of Transport announced two new Interim Orders which prohibit pleasure craft in Canadian Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters until February 28, 2022. This action extends by one year what was a temporary ban scheduled to expire last month.
Commissioner Sola said this action by the Canadian government may very well result in the loss of a second season for a significant portion of the Alaska cruise business. Another lost season represents a potentially devastating blow to the livelihoods of thousands of Alaskans.
"[T]he cruise industry generates tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs in Alaska annually. It is because of this that I encourage both the Biden administration and Congress to quickly review this issue and consider a limited exception to the PVSA while simultaneously engaging the Canadian government on the diplomatic front to address this particular problem."
"Finding a temporary solution to this dilemma that balances Canadian concerns with the urgent need of communities in Alaska to benefit from a 2021 cruise season should be an area where our respective governments can find common ground. However, absent such bilateral cooperation, I would hope that there is creative and cooperative thinking taking place here in Washington D.C. to determine how to remove this impediment to Alaska’s economic health," Commissioner Sola said.