OMSA released the following statement in reaction to the administration plan to unveil new offshore oil and gas areas:
As the association representing the owners and operators of the offshore supply vessels that support offshore exploration, development and production, we are looking forward to the Administration following through on the President’s stated desire to increase offshore energy production -- be it from oil, gas or renewable sources.
However, if we as a country are going to expand offshore energy, we need to ensure that the work is done by Americans, especially when it comes to the vessels that make that expansion possible.
The Department of Homeland Security is currently reviewing the situations in which foreign vessels and foreign mariners are allowed to work in our offshore energy sector. The issue involves the Jones Act, a law that requires cargo carried between U.S. points to be carried only on vessels that are owned by Americans, crewed by Americans and built in America. If the Administration agrees to enforce the original intent of the law, expanding offshore energy will result in thousands of additional jobs from the maritime sector and reverse the decline in current jobs. If the Administration sides with opponents of the Jones Act, any new jobs created and an increasing number of current jobs will go to foreign workers and foreign-flag vessels. It is worth noting that a recent economic study indicated that the U.S. flag offshore fleet is responsible for more than 100,000 jobs in this country and $18 billion in annual business sales activity. A correct decision on this issue would be a boon to American communities that rely on American vessel and shipyard activity for jobs and tax revenue.