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DJ Canada Extends Cruising Ban by a Year Until February 2022

· 02/04/2021 14:23

By Dave Sebastian

The Canadian government has extended its ban on cruise operations until Feb. 28, 2022, a year past the original restriction was scheduled to end.

The extended ban complicates cruise operators' efforts to restart sailings in North America this year, prolonging their hiatus since voyages came to a halt in March 2020 due to coronavirus outbreaks on ships.

The Canadian measure applies to cruise vessels carrying 100 or more people, and prohibits passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people from entering Arctic coast waters, including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik and the Labrador Coast, Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said. Adventure-seeking pleasure craft are also prohibited from entering Arctic waters, he added.

Local Arctic residents' pleasure craft won't be subject to the measures, Mr. Alghabra said.

"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," Mr. Alghabra said. "This is the right and responsible thing to do."

Those who violate the passenger-vessel prohibition could be fined up to 1 million Canadian dollars, equivalent to $779,300, imprisoned for up to 18 month or both, the government said. Those who violate the pleasure-craft prohibition could be subject to a C$5,000 fine per day for individuals and C$25,000 per day for corporations or groups, the government added.

Cruise ships carrying 100 or fewer people will be subject to local health authorities' protocols, the government said.

Major operators Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. have scrapped their U.S. sailings until April 30. Cruise sailings from U.S. regions such as New England and Alaska typically have stops in Canada.

Carnival Corp. Chief Executive Arnold Donald had targeted service resumption for all ships by the end of the year, he said in January.

The timing for U.S. voyages ultimately depends on receiving a permit from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is requiring operators to conduct mock sailings and apply for a certificate at least 60 days before offering passenger cruises.

Write to Dave Sebastian at dave.sebastian@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 04, 2021 14:23 ET (19:23 GMT)

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