All cruise ships must have a country of registry in order to operate in international waters. Accordingly, most countries, including the U.S., provide these registration services or flags of registry.
Predominant countries offering flags of registry for cruise vessels are the Liberia, Panama, Norway, Netherlands, Bahamas and the U.S.
Flag states have certain rules for vessels that fly their flags and the United States has a reputation for its vigorous enforcement of SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) standards. To ensure compliance with SOLAS safety requirements, the Coast Guard conducts quarterly inspections on all vessels embarking passengers at U.S. ports.
Because of these restrictions outlined above for U.S. flag , almost 90 percent of big cruisers calling on U.S. ports fly a non-U.S. flag. And not just because of that.
According to EWNews report, “Cruise lines and shipping companies use The Bahamas as a “flag of convenience” because the country has weak labor laws, no comprehensive and enforceable environmental framework, and no freedom of information legislation.”
Besides this, and according to Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. senatore fro Rhode Island, “the giant cruise companies incorporate overseas to dodge US taxes, flag vessels overseas to avoid US taxes and laws, and pollute without offset.”– and he asked everyone–“Why should we bail them?”
Really ,why help them out?
Royal Caribbean Cruises is incorporated in Liberia and based in Miami, Florida. Celebrity is a cruise line wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises.
Carnival Cruises sail uner the flags of Panama, Malta and Bahamas. Carnival uses a dual company structure.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is based in Miami and they do operate the only US flagged cruise ship in the world (Pride of America), but besides Pride of America they operate 16 cruise ships under the flag of Bahamas.
According to Law360, Carnival Corp, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings “have reported low or zero taxation in recent years, which they mainly attribute to the exemption. Carnival Corp and Norwegian both posted negative income tax expenses — that is, they received more in refunds or deductions than they paid or set aside for taxes“.
No exact bailout have been announced. The White House said Wednesday that the negotiations were ongoing.
“We’re coming up with numbers. Haven’t gotten there yet, but certainly, the hotel industry, cruise ship industry, the airlines — those are all prime candidates,” President Donald Trump said.
The big part of cruise employees are foreigners from all over the world making minimal wages. They are on 6 months contract jobs. By now, majority of those workers have been sent back to their own countries. Empty ships can now be docked. The bailouts are for the shareholders. The U.S. workers will get…mostly nothing.
On the other side, Cruise Lines International Associations claims that cruise industry “contributed $53 Billion to U.S. Economy in 2018 and generating 421,711 jobs across the United States,” with Florida, Texas and California being top states benefitting from cruise industry.
Patience is wearing thin on all sides. Someone wants a bailout slush fund and someone just wants a $1,000 check.