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Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Initiates Lawsuit Against Florida Surgeon General


Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Initiates Lawsuit Against Florida Surgeon General

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Cruise vessels, even under optimal conditions, can resemble floating laboratories, transporting substantial quantities of alien microorganisms and viruses across borders. In the age of COVID-19, this reality becomes exceptionally perilous, as exemplified by the infamous Diamond Princess cruise incident. Consequently, as cruise lines commence operations, they are implementing rigorous safety protocols to prevent a recurrence of such incidents. Unfortunately, one cruise operator has encountered a significant obstacle.

In April, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive decree prohibiting enterprises from requesting any form of COVID-19 vaccination certification. This directive, formulated during discussions about “vaccine passports,” has had far-reaching consequences. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings seeks to ensure that all passengers and crew are fully immunized against the coronavirus before permitting boarding. However, due to the decree, they are unable to enforce this requirement in Florida, a pivotal port of call. Consequently, NCLH has lodged a formal legal grievance against the state government, specifically targeting the surgeon general, asserting that the decree places them in a precarious position where they must choose between health safety and legal compliance.

“The predicament places NCLH in an insurmountable quandary as it readies to embark from Florida: NCLH will be positioned on either side of health and safety adherence and the prevailing federal legal framework or in contravention of Florida legislation,” the grievance states.

“The hazards of COVID-19 transmission among the unvaccinated in the confined quarters of cruise ships, combined with the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in curbing transmission and diminishing fatalities, render vaccination information imperative for preserving lives,” the complaint emphasizes.

NCLH petitions the judiciary to suspend the decree temporarily to ensure safe embarkation and disembarkation of their vessels. Should an agreement remain elusive, the company may be compelled to relocate its cruise operations elsewhere.

“Ultimately, cruise ships possess engines, propellers, and steering mechanisms, and should the unfortunate circumstance arise where we cannot operate in Florida for any reason, alternative states are available for operations. We can shift operations to the Caribbean for a vessel originally destined for Florida,” remarked NCLH CEO Frank Del Rio during the corporate quarterly financial briefing in May.

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