Decisions made years ago by several cruise lines to flag and charter themselves outside of the US have had an unforeseen consequence. A bill signed by the US administration on Friday March 27th to assist in the economic recovery of US industry left out companies not “organized” in the US.
The bill passed by Congress also insisted that eligible companies have a majority of their employees based in the US.
Carnival Corp is registered in Panama, England and Wales, while Royal Caribbean Cruises is chartered in Liberia. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is flagged in Bermuda.
The cruise lines might still be helped out if they look as if they would go bankrupt without US help, according to reports citing unnamed political insiders.
Democratic senators were understood to have balked at helping the cruise lines, and Republicans did not let the matter become a dealbreaker.
Democratic Party senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island tweeted that “the giant cruise companies incorporate overseas to dodge US taxes, flag vessels overseas to avoid US taxes and laws, and pollute without offset. Why should we bail them out?”
The president said late last week that he liked the idea of cruise lines coming back to America. “I do like the concept of perhaps coming in and registering here, coming into the United States,” he said, adding that “it’s very tough to make a loan to a company when they are based in a different country, but with that being said, they have thousands and thousands of people that work there.”
The door was left open to helping the cruise lines somehow with the president saying that “we are going to work very hard on the cruise line business, and we are going to try and work something out.”
On Friday there were double digit falls in the stock price for Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian.