Florida lawmakers are introducing a bill called the Set Sail Safety Act, which was introduced last week by Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio. The bill would establish a Maritime Task Force with an advisory committee.
The cruise lines are still under a “no sail order” from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) until Sept. 30, 2020.
“Enough is enough,” Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings President and CEO Frank Del Rio said.
“The cruise industry is close to devastation. We’ve got to get back to work,” Del Rio added.
The Sebastian Daily cruise is still moving forward to sail on Dec. 5, 2020, out of Port Canaveral, unless the “no sail order” is extended. Several people from Sebastian are joining the cruise on the Norweigan Cruise Line.
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the American Association of Port Authorities also support the new bill in Tallahassee.
Today, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean have teamed up to create a “Healthy Sail” panel of experts to submit safety protocols to the CDC.
Carnival has already restarted its operations in Europe, which have been successful. MSC has restarted its cruises in the Mediterranean.
“Florida is a tourism state with thousands of jobs relying on the success of our ports, cruise lines, and maritime industries,” Sen. Rick Scott said.
“As we work to solve the coronavirus and safely reopen our economy, this legislation will support the development of guidelines needed to ensure the safe resumption of our cruise lines and port operations. I will continue to work with Floridians, industry, and federal leaders to safely bring back this industry, which is important to our state’s economic success,” Sen. Scott added.
The cruise lines may be ready to set sail in the next thirty days.
What is the Set Sail Safety Act?
The Set Sail Safety Act places the cruising industry into the hands of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, working closely with Customs and Border Protection, the Department of State, and the Federal Maritime Commission.
The CDC is absent from the list of federal agencies to be involved in the task force. The “no sail order” by the CDC has received scrutiny in the industry. Cruise lines say the measure is oppressively burdensome.
Future recommendations for resuming travel on cruise ships will then be up to the Maritime Task Force and its advisory committee.