After Transport Canada last week announced its decision to ban cruise ship travel in Canadian waters through February 2022 a lot of questions were raised, not the least of which was why the ban was extended a full year from when the last ban was set to end.
Now, this week, members of the U.S. Congress from Alaska, which has also been hugely impacted from the order as it essentially kills the Alaska 2021 cruise season should nothing change, are asking for answers.
U.S. Senators Lis Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, along with Congressmen Don Young, all of who represent Alaska, issued a statement this week saying that not only is the decision unexpected, but it is unacceptable.
“The Alaska Delegation has worked in good-faith to seek compromise over border crossing restrictions due to COVID-19, keeping in mind the health and safety of Alaskans and Canadians,” the group wrote.
“Canada’s announcement to ban all cruise sailings carrying 100 people or more traveling through Canadian waters, without so much as a courtesy conversation with the Alaska Delegation, is not only unexpected—it is unacceptable—and was certainly not a decision made with any consideration for Alaskans or our economy. We expect more from our Canadian allies,” it added.
The group is reportedly in contact with Canadian and American agencies to try and understand the reasoning behind the cruise ship ban and said it particularly wants answers to why the ban was extended for that length of time.
The extension, according to Transport Canada, was done as “cruise vessels in Canadian waters pose a risk to our health care systems.”
“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,” Canada’s Minister of Transport Omar Alhabra said in a statement announcing the news.
Going forward, the group from Alaska has promised to continue to push to get cruise ships operating and find a path forward for the state’s cruise industry.
“We are exploring all potential avenues, including changing existing laws, to ensure the cruise industry in Alaska resumes operations as soon as it is safe. We will fight to find a path forward,” the group wrote.