Archive for the ‘Accessibility’ Category

As you may recall, I have blogged before about the Americans with Disabilities Act. Typically, not only does the act prohibit discrimination against employee with disabilities, but also requires that certain accommodations be made to those with disabilities in restaurants, buildings, etc.

Well now as of yesterday, the U.S. Department of Transportation has set out Federal regulations for persons with disabilities traveling on boats and ships.

The rule applies to vessels operated by public entities, such as public ferry systems, and vessels operated by private entities, such as cruise ships, a release said.

The rule prohibits vessel operators from charging extra for accessibility-related services, requiring passengers to furnish their own attendants or denying passengers access based on disability.

Vessel operators will be required to provide information about the accessibility of their facilities and services and make someone available to address accessibility concerns, the release said.

The rule will ensure fair treatment for people with disabilities who travel by ship or boat, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said in the release.

U.S. Department of Justice regulations cover vessels operated by private entities not primarily engaged in the business of transporting people, such as fishing charters and dinner cruise boats.

Have not yet been able to find the content of these new regulations online, but will be interested to see what they say. I don’t expect the cruise ship lines to just take this without legal challenge. See, the cruise ship companies such as Carnival have for years been able to get around complying with U.S. Federal laws because each of their ships are flagged in Panama and the Bahamas which means by international law, the laws of those countries apply on their ships, not those of the United States. So it will be interesting to see how the Federal government will require compliance by foreign flagged vessels, but I will keep you posted on further developments on this issue.