On Thursday, April 30, 2020, the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) announced a new fact-finding investigation, Fact Finding No. 30, into the passenger cruise line sector and the impact of COVID-19 on operations. According to the FMC, the objective of the investigation is to determine the economic health of the cruise line sector, and to develop measures that the cruise sector can take to mitigate the negative consequences of COVID-19 and return to economic stability. The announcement is available on the FMC website.
Commissioner Louis Sola has been appointed by the Commission to serve as the Fact-Finding Officer. As part of the inquiry, he is tasked with gathering information and data related to COVID-19 challenges and engaging with cruise industry stakeholders about solutions that have been developed to address COVID-19-related issues.
The FMC Order itself, which is available here, mentions the "No Sail Order and Suspension of Further Embarkation" issued by CDC on March 14, 2020. It also references questions related to future travel on passenger cruise lines and passengers' ability to obtain refunds from canceled sailings and delayed debarkations.
Like prior fact-finding inquiries, the investigation will result in a preliminary report, followed by a final report and recommendations.
We will be monitoring developments during this fact-finding investigation. For more information about the announcement and how it may impact your business, please reach out to Venable's International Trade Group.