PVA opposes bill creating loophole in Passenger Vessel Services Act

pvalogo2The Board of Directors of the Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) has unanimously voted to oppose enactment of a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would allow foreign-flagged passenger vessels to directly compete with their American-flagged counterparts. The PVA Board action reaffirmed support of the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA) which reserves the commercial carriage of passengers between U.S. ports for vessels that are U.S.-flagged, U.S.-owned, U.S.-built, and U.S.-crewed.

The legislation (H.R. 2460) opposed by the PVA was introduced by Congressman Blake Farenthold of Texas on July 7, 2011. According to the PVA, the proposed Farenthold exception to the PVSA would apply if the duration of the foreign vessel's voyage is more than 24 hours and if some part of the voyage occurs on the high seas. The foreign vessel could not operate as a ferry. However, says the PVA, the bill would enable a foreign cruise ship crewed by foreign nationals to compete directly on the same routes served by small and large U.S.-flagged overnight cruise vessels operated by companies that are fully subject to U.S. labor, environmental, social, and tax laws and that hire American citizens as crew members.

PVA says that its vessel-operating members, its associate members who design or build U.S. passenger vessels, and the U.S. citizen employees of these companies would be economically harmed by the enactment of H.R. 2460.

The full text of the resolution approved by the PVA Board of Directors follows:

"The Passenger Vessel Association (PVA) supports the preservation, without amendment, of the Passenger Vessel Services Act. This 'cabotage' law reserves the commercial carriage of passengers between U.S. ports for vessels that are U.S.-flagged, U.S.-owned, U.S.-built, and U.S.-crewed. It prevents unfair competition by foreign-flagged passenger vessels that do not have to comply with U.S. laws, including tax laws. Therefore, PVA opposes enactment of H.R. 2460, sponsored by Congressman Farenthold."

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