EDITOR, Daily News:
The May 1 article in the Ketchikan Daily News, ”Fine print on cruise tickets may foil suits,” by K. Oanh Ha, should be a reminder to Ketchikan, whose citizens own three city docks and are stakeholders in Berth 4 and Ward Cove development.
“Currently, no cruise company faces more claims related to the virus than Carnival, the industry’s largest operator,” states the article, which mentions Celebrity Cruises, owned by the second largest company (22 lawsuits); Royal Caribbean Cruises (one lawsuit); and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the third largest (one Lawsuit).
Martin Davies, director of the Tulane Maritime Law Center at Tulane University Law School continues, ” Tickets that cruise passengers buy resemble legal contracts, with built-in legal protection meant to safeguard companies against a rash of litigation that’s already arising from the coronavirus pandemic. Any judgments should be paid out of an insurance pool that the cruise lines have formed.”
Carnival, Royal Caribbean-Celebrity and Norwegian Cruise Line ships scheduled to arrive after July 3 bring along their litigation team in the form of “fine print” contracts.
The same corporations attempting to redefine small communities with large panamax cruise ships, 4,200-plus passengers and 1,700 crew members. A floating city looking for outlets to dispose of garbage, emissions and now viruses.
What is the city and borough legal strategy to protect its citizens against COVID-19, business owners who must open for business as last ditch effort before foreclosure, and Ketchikan Emergency Operations Center preparation to test every individual disembarking a ship this summer?
Ketchikan also must have contracts defining liability and collateral damage protecting our city before tourist season begins. And so it begins, unexpected funding for litigation that this city cannot afford, however only a matter of time if in a partnership.
And no decision should be made on current RFP selecting port management from any of these corporations. The virus may reveal a Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” by the end of this pandemic.
BILL F. SNIDER