If Trump Won’t Send Help To Puerto Rico, Royal Caribbean Cruises Will

For a week after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, President Trump refused to temporarily waive the Jones Act, which would’ve allowed international organizations and governments to ship aid to the millions of desperate American citizens who are without food, water, power, and shelter. Previously, Trump waived the Jones Act for Houston and Florida after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma respectively. 

Trump ignored the calls of lawmakers, activists, and even John McCain to lift restrictions that prohibit foreign vessels from providing aid, citing business reasons: “We have a lot of shippers and a lot of people… who work in the shipping industry that don’t want the Jones Act lifted. And we have a lot of ships out there right now.”

Fortunately, the humanitarian acts of both private citizens and private companies, as well as a petition from Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rossello, forced the president’s hand, and as of this morning the White House authorized a waiver of the Jones Act in order to assist in the recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.

The Jones Act, a.k.a. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a post-WWI relic of a law meant to ensure the United States maintains a shipbuilding industry and a seafaring labor force, by requiring all goods shipped between American ports to be on American ships built, owned, crewed by American citizens. Satisfying all those requirements, cruise line Royal Caribbean decided to send one of its cruise ships to provide aid and much needed supplies to Puerto Rico.

The cruise line cancelled its upcoming September 30 Adventure of the Seas trip to make the 3,800 passenger vessel available to the victims of Hurricane Maria, bringing water, medical supplies, and additional aid to Puerto Rico and the surrounding Caribbean islands. Adventure arrived in the port of San Juan in Puerto Rico yesterday and will return to Fort Lauderdale, Florida with evacuees. Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival are two other cruise lines providing relief.

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