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Monroe County Referendum Seeks to Curtail Cruise Ship Sizes


Three referenda on the November ballot will deal specifically with size of cruise ships calling Key West and the number of passengers they allow off those ships. These proposed laws could have a serious impact on local businesses, affecting an estimated 1.1 billion dollars in tourist revenue. Now the Key Wests Harbor Pilots and the pier owner, Pier B have filed lawsuits to prevent the questions from appearing on the November ballot.

Pier B makes the lions share of its income from revenue it charges for using its dock, the only private dock in Key West harbor and the primary dock used by the cruise lines.  The pilots are paid to guide the cruise ships in and out of Key West Harbor.

Pier B development and the Pilots have requested a temporary injunction to prevent the “three unlawful referendum questions” from being placed on the ballot. Pier B maintains that these laws would violate their private property rights and the Pilots assert the proposed amendments violate maritime law.

Pier B and the Pilots Ask for Temporary Injunction

Pier B and the pilots want to keep these questions off the ballot, because they recognize it will be much harder to undo the measures once they pass.  However, County Election Supervisor Joyce Griffin has already said it’s too late to make changes to the ballot.

What Does Pier B and the Pilots Need to Prove? 

Essentially, Pier B and the pilots need to show that there is a likelihood of irreparable harm if the measure should pass. They must also show that there is a lack of any alternative legal remedy, a substantial likelihood of winning the suit, and that the harm done to Pier B and the Pilots outweighs the harm done to voters by preventing the issue on the ballot. Lastly, the granting of the public injunction should serve public interest.


On August 12, the judge overseeing the case ruled that the suit by the Harbor Pilots and Pier B was premature as the measure might not pass, instructing them to come back if it did.

Contact Us Today for Help 

If you’ve been injured at sea, either as a crew member or a passenger, call Miami admiralty & maritime lawyer Michael F. Guilford today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how you can recover damages for your injuries.




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