Cruise Ships, COVID-19, and Port/Flag State Obligations
Date of Original Version
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed additional weaknesses of the already troubling “flag of convenience” practices under international law; the passenger cruise industry was especially impacted. Most cruise ships under distress from the pandemic received little aid from their flag states, and many vessels were denied entry into ports of nonflag states (regardless of whether an outbreak had been documented onboard). States and vessels lacked clear guidance around their rights and responsibilities under the extraordinary circumstances, resulting in a less efficient response to a dangerous situation. This article reviews the current status of international law concerning port and flag state duties to distressed vessels, and suggests the creation of flag state medical liability to help clarify decision-making during future health crises.
Publication Title, e.g., Journal
Ocean Development and International Law
Tirrell, Andrew, and Elizabeth Mendenhall. "Cruise Ships, COVID-19, and Port/Flag State Obligations." Ocean Development and International Law 52, 3 (2021). doi: 10.1080/00908320.2021.1913323.