In an effort to “monitor the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it is having on the marine and tourism sectors,” Canada has issued two new Interim Orders which prohibit pleasure craft in Canadian Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters until February 28, 2022. The ban applies to cruise vessels carrying 100 or more people.
“As Canadians continue to do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our government continues to work hard to ensure Canada’s transportation system remains safe. Temporary prohibitions to cruise vessels and pleasure craft are essential to continue to protect the most vulnerable among our communities and avoid overwhelming our health care systems. This is the right and responsible thing to do,” said Omar Alghabra, Canada’s Minister of Transport.
According to the press release issued by the Government of Canada today:
To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada continues to advise Canadian citizens and permanent residents to avoid all travel on cruise ships outside Canada until further notice.
Cruise vessels in Canadian waters pose a risk to our health care systems. The Government of Canada will continue to evaluate the situation and make changes as necessary to ensure the health and safety of all Canadians. Should the COVID-19 pandemic sufficiently improve to allow the resumption of these activities, the Minister of Transport has the ability to rescind the Interim Orders.
It’s important to note, however, that the Minister of Transport has the ability to rescind the Interim Orders should the COVID-19 situation improve. The penalty for passenger vessels not complying with the order could be a fine up to $1 million or a prison term of up to 18 months.
Minister Alghabra announces one-year ban for pleasure craft and cruise vessels in Canadian waters. https://t.co/nEI1Ya6vO6
— Transport Canada (@Transport_gc) February 4, 2021
What does it mean for Alaska season 2021?
As we continue to digest this stunning news, it seems as though this is the final nail in coffin for summer cruises in Alaska as the Jones Act, also known as the Passenger Services Act, prohibits vessels not registered in the United States to embark and debark guests at two different American ports, since travel between U.S. ports is prohibited on foreign flagged ships. Stopping at ports in Canada fulfilled the requirements of the act.
We’ll have more information as it becomes available. Until then, leave your comments below!