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Tag: Cruise Ship Debate

OPINION: SAFER CLEANER SHIPS’ PROJECTIONS ARE UNREALISTIC & DECEPTIVE

As Safer Cleaner Ships (SCS) seeks to convince the Key West City Commission to adopt SCS’s proposed cruise ship ordinances, which would bar almost all of our current cruise ship traffic from the port, our community needs to be made aware that SCS is providing “supporting” information and projections that simply bear no relationship to reality.  The topics on which SCS has opined range from the control of infectious diseases, long-term environmental impacts, city and county economics, deep-water port operations and important legal advice. Each topic alone could keep a panel of experts engaged...

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OPINION: CRUISE SHIP BATTLE MIRRORS THE ‘JUNGLE BOOK’

Disney’s great production of Kipling’s “Jungle Book” has a parallel in recent Key West politics.  The honeyed words of the Kaa-like spokesman for Safer Cleaner Ships (SCS) were brought abruptly into clear focus at last week’s city commission meeting. Like 60% of Key West voters, the mayor and at least some commissioners have long been entranced by SCS concerning their cruise ship-restricting referenda and ordinances. They seemingly were hypnotized into believing that a group of under-informed, intolerant political activists had all the cruise ship answers. In the manner of Bagheera, the...

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CRUISE SHIP OPPONENT SAYS COSTLY LAWSUIT IS ‘EXTREMELY UNLIKELY’

The committee that spearheaded Key West’s cruise ship reductions is downplaying the potential costs of a lawsuit city officials expect from the owners of Pier B if forced to turn away their cruise ship clients.  City attorney Shawn Smith has repeatedly warned the city commissioners to expect a lawsuit from Pier B involving breach-of-contract and interstate commerce claims.  A cruise ship docks, pre-COVID, at the privately owned Pier B located behind Opal Key Resort & Marina in Key West. DAVID MARKS/Pixabay But Arlo Haskell, treasurer and cofounder of the Key West Committee for Safer Cleaner...

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WILL KEY WEST ACCEPT $5M FOR PORT REVENUE WHILE TURNING AWAY CRUISE SHIPS?

The state is offering $5 million for lost port revenues — revenues from cruise ships that Key West officials no longer want and are turning away. The money is Key West’s share of $250 million that the state is distributing among Florida’s 14 ports, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday, July 29. The money was announced the same day that Carnival Cruise Lines announced it would remove Key West from its itineraries for cruises through September.  “We’ve made some itinerary changes on our cruises scheduled to operate through September. Changes for ships scheduled to call on Key West were...

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CRUISE SHIPS: IS KEY WEST CRUISIN’ TO A LAWSUIT?

Key West officials on July 12 echoed the desire of the Committee for Safer Cleaner Ships to apply the voter-approved cruise ship reductions at all three cruise ship piers — Mallory Pier, Outer Mole and the privately owned Pier B. “There should be no special carve-outs or exemptions,” Arlo Haskell, treasurer of Safer Cleaner Ships, said at the July 12 workshop. “Allowing a single pier to operate without limits would allow 365 large ships a year — one each day. This would barely be an improvement from the status quo.” But requiring a private business — Pier B — to turn away the majority of its...

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KEY WEST WANTS CRUISE SHIPS OUT – OFFICIALS DISCUSS NEXT STEPS & POTENTIAL LAWSUITS

Key West wants out of its 27-year marriage to cruise ships and to the privately owned Pier B dock. That much was clear from the July 12 city commission workshop.  No votes were taken as the meeting was a workshop.  “Can we please give the cruise ships direction that they’re not welcome, at least at our two ports?” Commissioner Jimmy Weekley asked City Manager Patti McLauchlin. McLauchlin also said, in answer to a question from Commissioner Billy Wardlow, that no smaller cruise ships have yet expressed any interest in coming to Key West. It seems the city still has a way to refuse...

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KEY WEST’S CRUISE SHIP QUESTION WAITS ON GOVERNOR

Will cruise ships return to Key West? Can the city change its charter to limit large ships?  The answers lie with Gov. Ron DeSantis, who will decide in the coming weeks whether to approve or veto a statewide transportation bill that would prohibit all ports, including Key West, from restricting maritime commerce in any way. The transportation bill, known as Senate Bill 1194, passed the state legislature last week in a late-night vote. DeSantis has 30 days from that passage to either sign the bill into law or veto it.  A veto would leave open the door for Key West to regulate the ships...

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BREAKING NEWS: LEGISLATURE SAYS KEY WEST CAN’T LIMIT CRUISE SHIPS

Key West’s effort to ban large cruise ships is on death row, the governor its only lifeline. A single signature by Gov. Ron DeSantis will bring a breathless end to Key West’s cruise ship debate today. If DeSantis approves the bill passed by the Florida House late Wednesday night, cruise ships of all sizes will continue coming to Key West. If DeSantis instead vetoes the bill, Key West’s Committee for Safer Cleaner Ships will prevail. But a veto is unlikely given the breadth of the transportation bill that contains the cruise ship legislation.  Just before 10 p.m. Wednesday, the Florida House...

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FLORIDA HOUSE COMMITTEE VOTES TO VOID KEY WEST’S CRUISE SHIP REDUCTIONS

The bill that would nullify Key West’s voter-approved cruise ship reductions is making its way through the Florida House of Representatives and its committees. The bill already passed three state senate committees and, on April 19, passed the House Commerce Committee. The committee voted 13-5 to support House Bill 267, which prohibits the port of Key West from restricting maritime activity based on the size, type or capacity of ships. During Monday’s 90-minute debate, the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Spencer Roach of the Fort Myers area, and Rep. Tyler Sirois of Merritt Island, said the creators...

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BREAKING NEWS: STATE SENATE PASSES BILL TO VOID KEY WEST CRUISE SHIP REDUCTION

The Florida Senate on Thursday passed the bill that voids Key West’s initiative to significantly reduce the number of cruise ships that can visit the island city. Senate Bill 426, entitled “State Preemption of Seaport Regulations,” passed the state senate with a 25 to 14 vote, with one senator not voting. Florida Keys State Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, a Republican, voted against the bill that prohibits Key West from restricting the size, type and capacity of ships that visit its port. The bill still has to pass the Florida House of Representatives before becoming law, and the...

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