Tariffs on Cruise Lines?

The Pride of America, the only US flagged cruise ship, in Hawaii. Image from Wikipedia.

Cruise ships haven’t had good news in 2020. Many of the first COVID patients in the US, including the people in my area, caught the disease while onboard a cruise vessel. Then cruise lines wanted federal money under the CARES act, even though they aren’t incorporated in the United States, and thus don’t pay US taxes. Combined with the difficulty in cleaning a ship while underway, and cruise lines are facing a difficult return to normal. If stock price is any indication, Carnival Cruise line plummeted from 50 dollars a share in January to almost 8 dollars in April, and is currently sitting around 17 dollars.

Cruise lines have found unique ways to evade US laws and taxes. All but one cruise ship is flagged outside the United States. The flag of the cruise ship allows it to sail in international waters, and dictates what sort of domestic laws apply while onboard. Most cruise ships are flagged in Liberia, Bahamas or Panama. Each of these nations have weak labor laws with limited ability to enforce them. Cruise lines don’t have a minimum wage and get away with significantly lower safety standards. Worse still, if a crime is committed onboard, its notoriously hard to prosecute. A study from the University of Florida found that:

The Cruise Line International Association claims that cruise ships are inherently secure because ships offer a controlled environment with limited access. “However, there has been some startling statistics between 2003 and 2005: 24 people were reported missing and 178 people reported a claim against sexual assault. Additionally, the FBI has opened investigations on 305 cruise-based crimes, from 2000-2005” (Porter, 2006, p.597). The CLIA compares these statistics to U.S. crime rates and harps on being the safest form of transportation and inherently secure. They fail however, to examine the context to which these statistics apply.

Given that Americans make up nearly 75% of cruise line passengers, it seems unfair to have Americans financing a system that is exploiting workers and dodging taxes. The tax dodging makes it easy to undercut any US company trying to start a competitive cruise line. Given the negative attention on cruise lines, its probably time for President Trump to threaten tariffs on the cruise industry.

Cruise ships pay a docking fee and port tariff, based on tonnage, when they dock in a US port. An easy way to encourage better behavior is to raise the port tariffs on non-US flagged vessels, as well as providing a discounted tariff to cruise lines that voluntarily follow US employment and criminal laws. You could have a high tariff, with a discount if the ship pays minimum wages, and a further discount if they follow proper US criminal proceedings. The result is a carrot and stick approach, either getting more money from the industry or enforcing better behavior on the part of the cruise line. Given that cruise lines are struggling, now is the time to negotiate a better deal.

Cruise lines have benefited from America for years under flags of convenience. Perhaps its time they follow the same rules the rest of the United States does.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Five One Liners Under Other Bloggers Fedoras: The Other McCain, Granite Grok, Daily Pundit, Right Wing Granny & Jihad Watch

Anyone watching that video could see Rosenbaum was looking for an opportunity to get in a fight with someone, and of course, a bully would naturally seek the weakest possible opponent.

Via Robert Stacy McCain

Of course as Mr. Rosenbaum learned the hard way street smarts don’t matter if the weakest link exercises his 2nd amendment right by being armed with an AR-15 and the knowledge of how to use it.


 Indeed, I have heard that Sununu … after a very perfunctory greeting of the President at tonight’s rally … got out of there as fast as he could.

Via Ed Mosca at Granite Grok

Until I read this piece I was wondering why the President called for the Governor at his rally and he had apparently gone missing.


But if you do your part, the Trumpslide will be historic, and you can start watching the Enemy Media weeping and wailing starting at seven or eight pm eastern, rather than having to wait till later in the evening.

Via Daily Pundit

From Bill Quick’s lips/blog to God’s ears.


I wonder if Las Vegas is taking bets on whether or not Joe Biden will debate President Trump.

Via Right Wing Granny

I’m more interested if they’re taking bets on if he’ll still be the Democrat candidate for President by the time election day rolls around.


Cue the chorus of non-Muslim authorities and “experts” to tell Dzenan Camovic “No, your religion did not make you do it.”

Via Jihad Watch

Isn’t it funny how, according to authorities and experts, Muslims don’t know their own religion?

100 Word Catholic Fan Fiction: Reunited twice

“Justin, the cot’s yours” said Pat, “Stay as long as you want.”

“Many thanks friend Stripsey” For I’ve been sorely troubled.”

Pat & the others left. Yolanda trailing the rest caught the The Shining Knight eye as he sat sword in hand. “Tis good to be among friends…” he began then abruptly stopped “The door!” he cried pointing at the wall.

Wildcat gasped. “You see the door?” she exclaimed!

“See it, I’d know it anywhere” said Justin. He rose & boldly strode though.

As it closed behind him she heard a familiar voice “Welcome Sir Knight, you’ve come to confess?”

High Road to China

Foreign policy hasn’t attracted much notice this campaign season, which is a shame, considering how interesting international relations have become. Aside from Trump’s truly historic agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and a potential normalization in Israel and Sudanese relations, developments in south and east Asia promise to convulse international relations for years to come.

China alone has rocked the world with its actions this year. Even worse than its initial blundering in the release of the Wuhan virus, those with eyes note how China shut down domestic flights while allowing international flights, fully aware they were spreading the virus. China’s tyrant Xi purposely spread the virus around the world, in an unparalleled act of what can only be called biological warfare.

Not content with devastating the world economy and the lives of millions, in May China revoked Hong Kong’s civil rights (which, truth be known, Hong Kongers only enjoy due to the residue of British colonialism).

And then in June China provoked a border skirmish with India in the Himalayas.

Meanwhile, and not coincidentally, India and the United States under the Trump administration have never been closer. Just this week an Indian media outlet reported that the U.S. and India were close to signing an agreement to share geospatial intelligence, an unprecedented deepening of defense cooperation between the two nations.

And to demonstrate resolve, in June the U.S. sent a destroyer, the U.S.S. Russell, through the Taiwan Strait. And just this week released a photo of a U.S Air Force KC1-35 tanker refueling a Taiwanese (U.S.-bought) F-16 fighter plane.

In other words, U.S. diplomacy is in overdrive countering the many threats and outright aggression of the Chinese Communists.

It would be interesting to hear what Biden thinks of all these developments, if the media ever gets the chance to ask him anything, and, if they do get that chance, if they would actually dare ask him.

After Anderson Cooper let Biden read his answers to him during a live interview, it’s hard to believe the media would challenge Biden with anything that doesn’t already have a canned response at the ready.