The cruise industry is in trouble. Cruise companies have voluntarily agreed to suspend sailings for 30 days, robbing the industry of much-needed revenue until mid-April. Today, Royal Caribbean and Princess announced that they would extend their suspension until May, further extending the financial pain. And now the industry is bracing for news that it may be denied stimulus bailout funds which it hoped would help mitigate the financial fallout from the cessation of sailing.
CNBC.com reports that the $2 trillion economic package that was recently approved by the Senate gives the Treasury Secretary authorization to direct up to $500 billion to help sure up businesses. But there’s a catch. In order to be eligible, the companies must be “created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States” and “have significant operations in and a majority of its employees based in the United States,” CNBC.com reports.
Many of the world’s largest cruise lines are incorporated outside the United States, primarily as an effort to skirt U.S. laws and taxes. Carnival Cruise Line, the world’s largest cruise company, is incorporated in Panama while the second largest, Royal Caribbean, is incorporated in Liberia.
President Trump has verbally expressed support for extending economic assistance to the cruise industry, but the language of the bill does not permit the Treasury Secretary to waive the regulations relating to which companies qualify.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cases of coronavirus have been traced to at least 25 cruise ships.