RDC request for a temporary wavier to the Passenger Vessel Services Act

March 17, 2020

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator
The Honorable Dan Sullivan, U.S. Senator
The Honorable Don Young, U.S. Congressman
Congressional Delegation for Alaska
Sent via email

Dear Senators Murkowski and Sullivan, and Congressman Young:

The Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. (RDC) is writing to request your support in the United States government consideration for a temporary waiver to the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA).

RDC is an Alaska trade association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s fishing, forestry, mining, oil and gas, and tourism industries. RDC’s membership includes Alaska Native corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources.

RDC recognizes the importance and the role of the PVSA, which requires American goods shipped between American ports to be transported in American vessels with American crews. However, the PVSA’s requirements for cruise ship vessels under the current extraordinary circumstances will severely harm the industry without proven protections to the American people.

With the sudden and potentially lengthier than necessary ban on all cruise traffic in Canada until July 1, 2020, Alaska will be all but cut off from visitors by cruise ship until after that date. With a temporary waiver, the ships would be able to bypass Canadian ports if it proves they can travel safely and with the health of passengers and Alaskans in mind.

Last year, approximately $2.2 billion of visitor spending helped support large and small tourism businesses. One in ten jobs in Alaska are in the tourism industry, creating an important part of Alaska’s employment picture.

More than half of all visitors coming to Alaska arrive by cruise ship. In 2018, 1,169,000 traveled by cruise ship, 760,100 were air visitors, and 97,200 were high/ferry visitors. There are thousands of businesses that depend on the passengers coming to Alaska to take their tours, dine in their restaurants, and stay in their guest rooms. Visitors benefit a multitude of Alaskans in different ways.

Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc.