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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Jones Act News

Congressional, Maritime Leaders Support Jones Act on the Hill

Mark Buzby, U.S. Maritime Administrator

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation held a hearing Wednesday on “The State of the U.S. Flag Maritime Industry” during which congressional and maritime leaders stressed the importance of the Jones Act. RADM Mark H. Mr. Mr. The Committee and those testifying expressed bipartisan support for the Jones Act and enforcement of the law. “In order for us to maintain the way of life as we know it as a nation that is secure and is able to project power, be it Navy power or commercial power, the Jones Act is intrinsic to that.

Senator McCain Introduces Bill to Repeal Jones Act

On June 25, Senator John McCain announced that he introduced the “Open America’s Water Act,” to repeal the Jones Act. “Today I am pleased to introduce legislation that would fully repeal the Jones Act, a 1920s law that hinders free trade and favors labor unions over consumers. Specifically, the Jones Act requires that all goods shipped between waterborne ports of the United States be carried by vessels built in the United States and owned and operated by Americans. This restriction only serves to raise shipping costs, thereby making U.S. farmers less competitive and increasing costs for American consumers. “This was highlighted by a 1999 U.S. International Trade Commission economic study, which suggested that a repeal of the Jones Act would lower shipping costs by approximately 22 percent.

Jones Act Reform Coalition Head Resigns

Rob Quartel announced his resignation as president of the Jones Act Reform Coalition, the lobbying group that seeks modifications in maritime laws that require domestic waterborne cargo to be transported in U.S.-owned, -built and -crewed ships. He said he was leaving to pursue other unspecified opportunities. No new head of the Jones Act Reform Coalition has been announced, but it is expected that the group will continue to work to reform the Jones Act during this session of Congress.

AMPR Releases Study on Jones Act

Crowley is a member of The Puerto Rico Maritime Alliance, which consists of representatives of U.S. flag carriers and labor unions constituting the US Merchant Marine. The Maritime Alliance of Puerto Rico (AMPR) has announced that the GAO Study released yesterday determined the Jones Act does not increase rates or prices for the Puerto Rican consumer. The economic study was requested in 2012 by the resident commissioner, Pedro Pierluisi, and the delegate of the Northern Marianas Island, Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan. GAO (General Accountability Office) is the independent non-partisan agency that works for the U.S Congress and its audit, evaluation, and investigative arm.

Vessel’s Support Illustrates Importance

The military value of a strong and diverse fleet of U.S.-flag commercial vessels was dramatically illustrated this month when the Military Sealift Command requested that the Jones Act trailership S.S. NORTHERN LIGHTS load military hardware in San Diego for delivery to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The vessel’s owner, Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc., immediately made the NORTHERN LIGHTS available to the military and within days, the ship was being loaded with cargo needed by troops stationed overseas. The vessel is expected to remain in the service of Military Sealift Command for approximately 90 days. “The willingness of American vessel operators and their dedicated crews to sail into harm’s way is one of many benefits of the Jones Act and other U.S.

McCain Pushes Jones Act Exemption for Puerto Rico Again

U.S. Senator John McCain

U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Mike Lee (R-UT) this week introduced legislation that would permanently exempt Puerto Rico from the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, or the Jones Act, to aid recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Maria and encourage long-term economic growth. The Trump administration's 10-day Jones Act waiver for Puerto Rico, despite the presence of more than enough U.S. flag tonnage to handle any and all relief sealift needs, gave McCain the opening he needed to reintroduce legislation that he has, on many prior occasions, brought to the Senate.

Jones Act Amendment Headed Off

Earlier this year, Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) reintroduced a Jones Act reform bill. The legislation was essentially the same as the bill Sen. Brownback introduced in the last Congress. Billed as a change only in the U.S.-build requirement of the Jones Act, an analysis by the Maritime Cabotage Task Force showed the legislation would also alter the U.S. ownership requirements of the Jones Act. Prior to a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee markup of authorization legislation for the Maritime Administration, Sen. Brownback signaled his intention to offer a Jones Act amendment. Opposition to the amendment among members of the committee became apparent.

Reps. Hunter, Garamendi Concerned over Jones Act Waiver

(File photo: Crowley)

Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and John Garamendi (D-CA), Chairman and Ranking Member respectively of the Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, raised concerns today over the Trump Administration’s decision to issue a 10-day waiver of the Jones Act for relief shipments into Puerto Rico. Hunter and Garamendi held a listening session Thursday morning with other members of the Maritime Transportation Committee and representatives from the American maritime industry to explore this issue in depth.

MCTF: False Jones Act Criticism Distracts from Clean-up

The Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF) said that recent Jones Act criticism is false and is only distracting from the job of cleaning up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Responding to these misleading and inaccurate claims, those leading and coordinating the response as well as independent news organizations have said that the Jones Act is not preventing or delaying foreign vessels’ ability to assist with cleaning the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Jones Act mandates the use of American vessels and American workers in U.S. domestic maritime trade. However, it does not impede foreign oil skimmers, which are already being used in the clean-up effort. Retired U.S.

Administration Reiterates Support for Jones Act

The Clinton Administration "supports the Jones Act as an essential element of our Nation's maritime policy, and will not be proposing changes to the Act," said a senior U.S. trade official during a mid-summer meeting of the World trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland. Ambassador Susan Esserman, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, offered the strong endorsement of U.S. cabotage laws as international negotiators prepare for the next round of WTO negotiations on trade in services, which will begin in Seattle, in November. Like the previous round of WTO negotiations, the upcoming negotiations will address maritime services. However, the negotiating guidelines for the previous round specifically excluded cabotage, a position supported by the U.S.

Marad Chief, Coast Guard Commandant Advocate for Jones Act

Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft  (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

Adm. Zukunft: “If you take the mariners away, what is the world going to look like 10 years from now? The House subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation held a hearing Monday on “President’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request For Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Programs” during which Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft and U.S. Maritime Administrator Paul “Chip” Jaenichen stressed the critical need for the Jones Act to protect our economic and national security.

U.S. Navy Opposes Repeal of Jones Act

The news that the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Navy League support the Jones Act and oppose its repeal was applauded by Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF), the national coalition representing the U.S.-flag fleet engaged in domestic waterborne commerce. Both organizations dedicated to the defense of the United States have reaffirmed their support for the law, which is directly responsible for half a million U.S. jobs and vital to national security. In response to anti-Jones Act legislation introduced earlier this year, the U.S. Navy said, “For decades, U.S. merchant mariners have provided essential support for the U.S. Navy during times of war and national crisis. The statement comes within days of comments from Daniel B. The Jones Act establishes a U.S.

Administration Proposes Jones Act Reform

The Clinton Administration, long an opponent of Jones Act reform, has proposed a one-year waiver to allow the use of foreign-built ships to transport U.S. food aid abroad, most notably to Russia. The plan would add up to seven dry-bulk and breakbulk ships suited to carry food aid, according to U.S. Marad estimated. "This waiver," said Rob Quartel, president of the Jones Act Reform Coalition (JARC), "would bring Jones Act reform to foreign consumers, while American businesses and consumers continue to bear the burden that may approach $17 billion annually. The waiver proposal, attached to this year's Marad authorization bill, would allow foreign-built bulk ships immediate eligibility to carry U.S. food aid, as long as the ships are registered under the U.S. flag and employ U.S. crews.

Oil Firm Penalized by DOJ for Jones Act Violation

Alaska Oil Company Agrees to Pay $10 Million in Penalties to Settle Federal Claims for Violating the Jones Act. Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that Furie Operating Alaska LLC (“Furie”), a company whose focus is exploration and production of natural gas and oil in Cook Inlet, has agreed to pay $10 million to satisfy a civil penalty originally assessed against it by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) for violating the Jones Act. Furie was penalized when…

Kirby CEO Urges Support for Jones Act at House Subcommittee Hearing

Testifying on behalf of the American Maritime Partnership, Kirby Corporation Chairman & CEO Joseph Pyne urged Members of Congress to strongly support the Jones Act for the economic, national security and homeland security benefits it provides to the United States. Mr. Pyne delivered his testimony at a May 21 hearing before the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on “The Role of U.S. Ships and Mariners.” The first panel consisted of government witnesses who discussed the government’s role supporting U.S. ships and mariners, including John Porcari, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, and Gen. William Fraser, Commander, U.S. Transportation Command. The second panel consisted of U.S.

Refiners Seek Jones Act Workarounds as Crude Export Debate Heats Up

Photo: PBF Energy

As the first U.S. oil condensate exports head to Asia from the Gulf Coast, crude producers and refiners are exploring ways to get around a century-old law that makes it three times more expensive to ship by water between U.S. ports than to sail to a foreign port. The Jones Act, originally passed to protect the U.S. maritime industry, restricts passage between U.S. ports to ships that are U.S.-built, U.S.-flagged and U.S.-crewed. If oil exports pick up pace while the Jones Act is left in place, U.S.

Nat’l Commission Says: Jones Act No Hinderance to Spill Clean Up

The January 11, 2011 report from the non-partisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling confirmed the Jones Act did not prevent foreign vessels from assisting with the clean-up effort during the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year. “Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling” was prepared by the independent entity at the request of President Barack Obama. “While decision makers did decline to purchase some foreign equipment for operational reasons ‒ for example, Dutch vessels that would have taken weeks to outfit and sail to the region, and a Taiwanese super-skimmer that was expensive and highly inefficient in the Gulf ‒ they did not reject foreign ships because of Jones Act restrictions…

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

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. 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.

Bill Introduced To Protect American Maritime Jobs

Working to create and preserve American jobs, Congressmen Elijah E. Cummings (D, MD-7) and Jeff Landry (R, LA-3) today introduced the American Mariners Job Protection Act (H.R. 3202), a bill with bipartisan support that will increase government transparency surrounding the issuance of waivers allowing non-Jones Act-qualified vessels to carry cargo between U.S. ports. Under current law, when the head of the agency responsible for the administration of the Jones Act believes it necessary to waive the Act’s requirements in the interest of national defense, the agency must request the Maritime Administration to assess whether Jones Act-qualified vessels are available to carry the cargo under consideration.

Jones Act Doesn't Preempt State

The Supreme Court of Texas ruled that a state law respecting a procedural framework for claims for personal injury allegedly caused by silica and asbestos is not preempted by the federal law regarding claims for personal injury of crewmembers (the Jones Act). In the instant case, the plaintiff alleged injury from asbestos and silica while employed by defendant corporation aboard a vessel. He brought suit in state court under the Jones Act. Plaintiff failed to comply with certain procedural requirements of the state law and the defendant moved to have the case transferred to another court in accordance with the state law. Plaintiff opposed the transfer, arguing that the Jones Act preempted the state law. The court hearing the motion agreed with the plaintiff and the defendant appealed.

Odds are Improving for Riverboat Casino Employees Seeking Jones Act Seaman Status

In 1991, casinos were legalized in the state of Louisiana through the passage of the Louisiana Gaming Act. Riverboat casinos have been operational in the state since 1993. The Louisiana Gaming Act allows for fifteen riverboat licenses with mandatory Coast Guard certification of the vessels. The Act allows for both dockside and riverboat gaming. Five other states have riverboat casino gambling: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Mississippi. Although riverboat gaming has gained legal recognition in these states, riverboat casino employees have not had the same success in gaining seaman status under the Jones Act. The Jones Act (46 U.S.C. sec.

An Exception to the Divers' Exception?

By James P. Nader & Rudolph F. An occupational study estimates that the number of commercial diving positions nationwide will grow to an anticipated total of 5,000 positions over the next decade. For the uninitiated, the focus of these commercial divers spans the gamut from extensive inspection of hulls and pipelines to the construction and repair of underwater structures to the demolition and removal of underwater obstacles, and onwards to the search and rescue of people and missing objects. While the commercial diving industry is certainly diverse, every diver shares a certain level of risk of injury when entering the water. Therefore…

MCTF Opposed to Jones Act Repeal Efforts

the Jones Act. According to MCTF, bills introduced by Rep. for (1) all non-contiguous U.S. alone; and (3) Hawaii agriculture and livestock. addition of new, state-of-the-art containerships and auto carriers. The Jones Act and related cabotage laws form the cornerstone of U.S. maritime policy. military and economic soundness. percent of the nation's freight bill. provided support for U.S. troops engaged in the conflict. companies in other modes of domestic transportation.

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