Union Fights Aker Over Foreign Parts

Thursday, June 22, 2006
The Philadelphia Inquirer has reported that the Department of Homeland Security has rejected an AFL-CIO complaint about use of foreign-made parts at the Philadelphia shipyard, prompting the union to vow a political fight over U.S. shipbuilding protections. The Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO asked the Coast Guard, part of Homeland Security, in mid-May to review Aker Philadelphia Shipyard Inc.'s construction of 10 tankers based on a design bought from South Korea's Hyundai Mipo Dockyard and using components procured through Hyundai. The union claimed that Aker was violating the Jones Act, a law intended to protect U.S. shipbuilding by allowing only U.S.-made ships to be certified to ply U.S. ports. Aker, a unit of Norway-based Aker A.S.A. and formerly called Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard, intends to lease the tankers for use among U.S. ports and has denied violating any laws. The Coast Guard, in a letter to Aker dated May 24 and provided last week to The Inquirer, had cleared Aker to import 87.9 tons of stern bulbs and bulbous bows in construction of the tankers. It said those parts would weigh 1.14 percent of each hull's total weight, safely under the Jones Act limits of 1.5 percent. Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
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