Report on Public Informational Meeting

Held on August 11, 2008

Preparation of Regulatory Assessment / Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis
For Large Cruise Ships

Attendees

Paul Beatty US Access Board (staff)
Tiffany Bergman Holland America
LCDR Marie Byrd US Coast Guard
Jay Cardinali Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
David Chapman University of Delaware
Steve Cmar Norwegian Cruise Line
Bill Ecker Cruise Lines International Association
Carolyn Gray Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Teresa Jakubowski Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Mike Jones Carnival Corporate Shipbuilding
Vicki Langlois Disney Cruise Line
Lou Nash US Coast Guard
Ron Pettit Royal Caribbean Cruises
Jim Raggio US Access Board (staff)
Kay Strawderman Carnival Cruise Line
CAPT Ted Thompson Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)
Jan Tuck Princess Cruises
Ed Welch Passenger Vessel Association (PVA)

1. Meeting Materials – The following materials were distributed during the meeting:

  • Meeting Agenda
  • Criteria for Sorting Impacts as Major and Minor
  • Cruise Ship Inventory
  • Sample Assembly Area Drawings

2. Introduction and Overview – Mr. Raggio gave an overview of what a regulatory assessment is, and the proposed approach and methodology for preparing the regulatory assessment. Mr. Raggio stressed the importance of involving the industry in identifying the impacts of the June 2008 draft of the Passenger Vessel Accessibility Guidelines (PVAG) and estimating the costs of the impacts. Mr. Raggio announced that the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center will assist the Access Board in preparing the regulatory assessment, and aggregating costs over a 30 year period.

Mr. Beatty noted that the Access Board and the Department of Transportation (DOT) plan to issue a joint rule on PVAG. The DOT rule will address access on and off of vessels, including tenders; the effective date that PVAG will apply to new vessels; the administrative authority for non-US flag vessels; and conflicts with international treaties or foreign nation laws.

3. Baseline – The issue of what baseline should be used for identifying impacts of the June 2008 PVAG was discussed. Current cruise ship designs incorporate greater accessibility than earlier designs. The points discussed included:

  • The extent to which current cruise ship designs may have been influenced by the December 2000 Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Committee Report, and the November 2004 and July 2006 drafts of PVAG; and
  • The extent to which current cruise ship designs may have evolved in response to the market, including demand for greater accessibility from passengers with disabilities.

For example, although cruise ships currently provide pool lifts, this accessibility feature may not have been provided in the absence of the Access Board initiating rulemaking. The attendees offered to identify accessibility features that have been incorporated in the current designs of cruise ships, but may not have been provided in the absence of the Access Board initiating rulemaking.

4. Identification of Impacts – The attendees requested that two additional factors be included for identifying the impacts of the June 2008 PVAG: Do required features adversely affect the level of service? Do the required features have a negative return on investment?

The following factors will be used for identification of impacts:

  • Are features required that would not otherwise be provided?
  • Are features required in greater number than would otherwise be provided?
  • Do required features reduce space used for other purposes?
  • Do required features present design challenges?
  • Do required features adversely affect the level of service?
  • Do the required features have a negative return on investment?

5. Factors for Categorizing Impacts as Major or Minor – Mr. Raggio explained that unit cost estimates will be developed for all impacts categorized as major; and that alternatives will be considered for requirements that result in major impacts to the extent the alternatives achieve the statutory objectives of equal access and nondiscrimination. Unit costs will be reported for impacts categorized as minor to the extent cost data is readily available. If cost data is not readily available on impacts categorized as minor, the impacts will be described qualitatively. The attendees requested that an additional factor be included for categorizing impacts as major: Results in substantial reduction in service.

The following factors will be used to categorize impacts as major:

  • Unit costs exceed certain value (to be determined);
  • Increases total construction costs by certain percent (to be determined);
  • Presents difficult or significant design challenges; and
  • Results in substantial reduction in service.

The following factors will be used to categorize impacts as minor:

  • Minimal cost; and
  • Can be easily accommodated in vessel design.

Mr. Raggio noted that some impacts that are identified may not easily fit into the categories of major or minor impacts, and that the need for additional factors for categorizing impacts as major or minor or a third category of impacts will be addressed when such impacts are indentified.

6. Impacts Discussed at Meeting – The attendees identified the following as significant issues for large cruise ships that will likely have major impacts:

  1. Number of Accessible Cabins Required (V224.2 & V224.4). CLIA submitted a report to the Access Board on June 23, 2008 on the impact of the scoping requirement for the number of accessible cabins. Mr. Raggio noted that the Access Board is still considering the report, and may hold a separate meeting with CLIA to discuss the report.
  2. Lines of Sight and Dispersion Requirements for Wheelchair Spaces in Assembly Areas (V221.2.3).Mr. Beatty used sample assembly area drawings to explain the following requirements for wheelchair spaces in assembly areas:Visible Alarm Requirement (V215). Mr. Beatty noted that the Passenger Vessels Emergency Alarms Advisory Committee (PVEAAC) will be meeting on August 12 and 13 to complete its report to the Access Board. Mr. Beatty reported that a case study was done on a smaller U.S. flag cruise ship. The case study estimated that the smaller cruise ship would require 110 visible alarm appliances at a cost of $40,000 to $50,000 to meet the NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm Code. The case study concluded that the visible alarms would have minimal impact on the vessel’s electrical supply system. Mr. Beatty extrapolated from the smaller cruise ship case study that a larger cruise ship would require 2,200 visible alarm appliances at a cost of $800,000 to $1,000,000. Further assessment of the impact of any visible alarm requirement will await the outcome of the PVEAAC report.
    • Wheelchair spaces provide choices of seating locations and viewing angles that are substantially equivalent to, or better than, the choices of seating locations and viewing angles provided to all other spectators; and
    • In providing lines of sight, wheelchair spaces are to be dispersed horizontally and vertically at varying distances from the screen or performance area.

    Mr. Beatty noted that the drawings did not include information on viewing angles. There was a discussion regarding whether, in assembly areas that are primarily designed for live performances, the better viewing angles are in the first tier or middle tier of the assembly seating area. Mr. Raggio offered that, if the industry is willing to provide sample drawings of assembly areas with information on viewing angles, the Access Board would arrange a meeting with the Department of Justice to further discuss the lines of sight and dispersion requirements in order to better assess the impact of the requirements.

The following requirements were also discussed as having impacts on large cruise ships:

  1. Number of Receivers Required for Assistive Listening Systems (V219.3). The attendees reported that cruise ships currently carry 5 to 10 receivers for assistive listening systems and can supply additional receivers if requested in advance by passengers, and that the current practice is sufficient to meet passengers’ needs. Mr. Raggio noted that cruise ships can seek an equivalent facilitation determination from DOT for alternate means to meet any PVAG requirement.
  2. Elevator Size Requirements (V206.6 & V407.4.1). The elevator size requirements will result in larger atrium elevators, which may impact the number of atrium elevators provided and passenger flow between decks.
  3. Exercise Equipment Clear Deck Space Requirement (V230 & V1002). The clear deck space requirement for exercise equipment may result in larger spaces for exercise equipment, or a reduction in the number of exercise equipment machines provided.
  4. Sauna and Steam Room Turning Space Requirement (V233 & V612). The turning space requirement for saunas and steam rooms may result in larger spaces for saunas and steam rooms. Saunas and steam rooms may also require larger doors.
  5. Accessible Route Directly Connecting Assembly Seating Area and Performance Area, Where A Circulation Path Directly Connects the Two Areas (V206.2.4). The requirement for an accessible route to directly connect the assembly seating area and performance area, where a circulation path directly connects the two areas, will require ramps or platform lifts to be located in the front or side of a stage, instead of the rear of a stage. The accessible route does not have to directly connect each wheelchair space in the assembly area to the performance area.
  6. Standby Power for Automatic Doors and Platform Lifts That Are Part of an Accessible Means of Escape (V404.3.6 & V410.4). The requirement for standby power for automatic doors and platform lifts that are part of an accessible means of escape will require additional wiring and may have an impact on the vessel’s power supply system.

7. Alterations – The PVAG alterations requirements were discussed. The only potential impact identified was on carpet reserves that were purchased when existing ships were constructed and are used to repair or replace damaged carpeting. The carpet reserves may not meet the carpet requirements in V302.2.

8. Cruise Ship Inventory – The attendees requested that the new non-US flag large cruise ships be grouped as “Panamax” vessels (40,000 to 96,000 tons) and “Post-Panamax” vessels (greater than 96,000 tons). The attendees also noted that additional data on cruise ship inventory is available in the Annual Sea Trade Review.

9. Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis – Mr. Raggio noted that Access Board will also prepare an analysis of the impacts of the June 2008 draft PVAG on small businesses for the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The Small Business Administration (SBA) uses the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes to establish size standards for small businesses. Cruise ships are grouped in NAICS code “483112 Deep Sea Passenger Transportation”, which includes “cruise lines (i.e., deep sea passenger transportation to or from foreign ports).” The SBA has established a size standard of 500 employees maximum for establishments in NAICS code 483112 to be considered small businesses. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that for the 2002 US Economic Census, 88 establishments were identified by NAICS code 483112. Of these 88 establishments, 75 establishments operated for the entire year, and 61 of the establishments that operated for the entire year had less than 100 employees. Mr. Raggio noted that non-US flag cruise ships may not submit reports for the US Economic Census; and that NAICS code 483112 also includes “ship chartering with crew, deep sea passenger transportation to and from foreign ports.” The Access Board will discuss with the SBA the use of the NAICS codes and US Economic Census for estimating the number of non-US flag cruise ships that are small businesses, and report back to the industry.