76th Annual  Meeting
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
76th Annual Meeting
June 20-24, 2008



WHEREAS, the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a proposed Interpretative Rule regulating Hawaiian Coastwise Cruises on foreign flagged vessels between U.S. ports of call under the Passenger Vessel Services Act at the request of the United States Maritime Administration; and

WHEREAS, the proposed Interpretative Rule would require that a foreign-flagged vessel on a coastwise cruise, to call at a foreign port for at least 48 hours, with that foreign stop constituting at least 50 percent of the cruise itinerary, and allowing passengers to disembark the cruise vessel at the foreign port before continuing the cruise to a U.S. port of call; and

WHEREAS, the proposed Interpretative Rule establishes burdensome criteria that are wholly inconsistent with industry practice, particularly the 48-hour call at foreign port — inasmuch as the standard port call is six to eight hours — as well as the requirement that 50 percent of a cruise be spent at the foreign port; and

WHEREAS, the intent of the proposed Interpretive Rule is to protect the single remaining U.S. flag vessel serving the Inter-Hawaiian Island cruise trade that according to the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism generates more than 4, 600 jobs and generates nearly $500 million in economic benefits for the state annually; and

WHEREAS, thousands of members of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) are employed at U.S. ports serving cruise ships and whose jobs would be at risk if the proposed Interpretive Rule were implemented; and

WHEREAS, the proposed Interpretative Rule is vague as to the breadth of its application, i.e., to coastwise cruises between all United States ports or applied solely to coastwise cruises from West Coast ports to Hawaii; and

WHEREAS, the Cruise Lines International Association estimates the proposed Interpretive Rule would upend the $17 billion in national cruise industry spending and put at risk more than 300,000 jobs generated by the international cruise industry, including jobs held by ILWU at U.S. ports and the local allied industries supporting the cruise industry; and

WHEREAS, CBP’s implementation and application of the proposed Interpretative Rule to all U.S. ports would effectively bring an end to coastwise cruises in the United States and cause severe economic harm to ports, the surrounding communities, and local businesses supporting U.S. ports,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors disagrees with the proposed Interpretive Rule and urges that Customs and Border Protection immediately modify the rule and issue a compromise rule that addresses the concerns of mainland ports while protecting the interests of U.S. flag shipping in Hawaii.