K&L's Gorton Stresses Critical Role of Jones Act

Posted by Michelle Howard
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Gorton: “Helping plug a porous border is a benefit of the Jones Act that is far too often overlooked and one that should not be underestimated by any presidential candidate.”
 
A former member of the 9-11 Commission recently wrote in The Hill that an “often overlooked” benefit of the Jones Act is its role in homeland security and border protection. Former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton and former state attorney general and homeland security expert from the Commission, said he finds border security the Jones Act’s “most vital benefit” in addition to its economic benefits of supporting more than 500,000 American jobs and the nearly $100 billion it fuels into the U.S. economy every year.
 
The complete article written by Mr. Slade Gorton published in The Hill on February 12, 2016 is below:

As homeland security and border control remain a top priority among presidential candidates, one important provider of that security is often overlooked—the principal role the domestic maritime industry plays in securing America’s borders. Without the Jones Act—an essential security law that requires the use of American vessels and American crews when transporting cargo by water between two points in the United States—America’s challenges in preventing illegal immigration would be substantially more challenging.

For as long as I can remember, those who support our domestic maritime sector have trumpeted the Jones Act’s economic benefits, now estimated at 500,000 jobs and nearly $100 billion in annual economic impact, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Jones Act supporters also proudly tout the national security benefits, citing some of the most senior military officials in the land who stand behind the law, such as Gen. Paul J. Selva, current Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Darren McDew, commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, and Anthony Foxx, Secretary Department of Transportation.

To me, however, the most vital benefit of the Jones Act is the law’s critical role in protecting America’s borders and homeland security.

America is a maritime nation and an ever growing number of foreign ships and seafarers arrive at our shores every single day. When a foreign ship enters an American port, an avalanche of procedures go into effect, involving our most important maritime security agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.  In most cases, unless the crew members on these ships have the appropriate visas, they cannot leave the highly secure confines of the port into which the vessel arrives. Dealing with tens of thousands of foreign ships and millions of foreign crew members ships is a highly complex and sophisticated undertaking that requires massive resources from our law enforcement agencies.
Of course, the arrival of foreign ships into our ports has nothing to do with the Jones Act, which only applies to purely domestic movements of cargo within our country.  Compared to arriving foreign ships, the security profile of the Jones Act fleet is far more reassuring.  Jones Act ships are crewed by Americans who have passed intensive background checks and are licensed by the Coast Guard.  The vessels are owned by Americans and subject to American laws and regulations.  The American vessel owners and crewmembers are full partners with American law enforcement agencies.

Representatives Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Coast Guard Subcommittee, and Steve Scalise (R-La.), the House Majority Whip, put it this way: “Without the Jones Act, vessels and crews from foreign nations could move freely on U.S. waters, creating a more porous border, increasing possible security threats, and introducing vessels and mariners who do not adhere to U.S. standards into the bloodstream of our nation.”
Helping plug a porous border is a benefit of the Jones Act that is far too often overlooked and one that should not be underestimated by any presidential candidate.

Senator Gorton represented Washington in the Senate from 1981 to 1987 and again from 1989 to 2001. He was a member of the National Commission on Terrorists Acts Against the United States, commonly known as the 911 Commission.
 
Today, Gorton is a lawyer at K&L Gates, a law firm that represents various maritime interests.
 
 

Maritime Security

White House: Iranian Ships' Actions in Gulf Increase Risk of Miscalculation

Actions by Iranian vessels in several encounters with U.S. warships in the Gulf this week are cause for concern and increase risks of miscalculation, the White House said on Friday.

Australia Warns DCNS after Security Breach

Australian defence officials warned French naval contractor DCNS to beef up security in Australia, where it is preparing to build a A$50 billion ($38.13 billion) fleet of submarines,

Scorpene Submarine Data Leak: Setback to Indian Navy

India has began multiple investigations to determine the extent of damage caused by the reported massive leak of secret data detailing the combat and stealth capabilities

News

MV WERFTEN, Foreship Sign Design Agreements

MV WERFTEN signed a letter of intent with the engineering company Foreship in Stralsund today. The agreement includes parts of the basic design as well as design,

NParks, Keppel in S$2.08 mln Partnership for Restoring Singapore Forest Wetlands

The National Parks Board (NParks) and Keppel Corporation today unveiled plans for a partnership to restore the freshwater forest wetland ecosystem historically

Zumaia Offshore Acqires MPP Workboat Aitana B

In April 2016 Zumaia Offshore, S.L., leading workboat owner and operator based in the Basque Country, took delivery of the Cummins-powered MPP workboat “Aitana

Coast Guard

El Faro Captain Ordered Crew to Abandon Ship before Sinking

The captain of the doomed El Faro cargo ship sounded an alarm for his crew to abandon the vessel shortly before it sank last fall in a hurricane near the Bahamas, killing all 33 onboard, the U.

Navy Discovers Malaysian Tanker

Indonesia's navy has found a tanker carrying almost US$400,000 worth of diesel that was taken by its own crew last week due to a commercial dispute, says a report in AFP.

Philippines: Sea Dispute Won't Shift Ties with China, U.S.

The Philippines' territorial dispute with China over the South China Sea has not caused Manila to rebalance diplomatic ties with either its ally, the United States,

Maritime Safety

Danish Maritime Authority Supports Maritime Cultural Days

The Danish Maritime Authority's buoy tender ’POUL LØWENØRN’ will be alongside in Korsør in connection with the Maritime Cultural Days. The vessel will be open to visitors throughout Saturday,

ABS Makes it Safer to ‘Walk to Work’

ABS announced the publication of The ABS Guide for Certification of Offshore Access Gangways. The new Guide addresses certification for safety systems used for “walk to work” (W2W) crew transfers.

Scorpene Submarine Data Leak: Setback to Indian Navy

India has began multiple investigations to determine the extent of damage caused by the reported massive leak of secret data detailing the combat and stealth capabilities

Government Update

White House: Iranian Ships' Actions in Gulf Increase Risk of Miscalculation

Actions by Iranian vessels in several encounters with U.S. warships in the Gulf this week are cause for concern and increase risks of miscalculation, the White House said on Friday.

Cochin Port Gets a Little 'Breathing Space'

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs of India, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for waiver of penal interest on Government

Iran Vessels Make 'High Speed Intercept' of US Ship

Four of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) vessels "harassed" a U.S. warship on Tuesday near the Strait of Hormuz, a U.S. defense official said, amid

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0924 sec (11 req/sec)