Offshore Marine Service Association News

15 Jul 2019

OP/ED: Stronger Together

Image CREDIT: AdobeStock / ©_Ian Dyball

In 1941, geologist Orval Lester Brace stated “it may be tentatively assumed that the Gulf of Mexico is a potential source of salt-dome oil. Whether or not it will be economically feasible to explore these waters for the domes that must exist is a question for the future to answer.”  The future hypothesized by Mr. Brace was not nearly as far off as it seemed. Less than six years after his proclamation, Kerr-McGee Oil Industries, along with Phillips Petroleum, Stanolind Oil and Gas Co…

08 Jul 2019

OP/ED: A Measured Response

Chad Fuhrmann, Director of Regulatory Affairs for the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA)

The Offshore Sector's Support of National Interests in Times of Crisis.Desperate Times Call for Diverse ResourcesIn 2017, North America was assaulted by significant weather events resulting in cascading humanitarian crises. Despite the substantial response from the U.S. maritime industry, a misconception arose that insufficient U.S. assets were available to support critical response activities in affected regions; in particular, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Public…

05 Jun 2019

OMSA Names Fuhrmann to Regulatory Affairs Post

The Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) announced the resignation of long-time Vice President, Richard Wells. Subsequently, OMSA announced the association will be hiring Chad Fuhrmann as Director of Regulatory Affairs in June.OMSA President, Aaron Smith said, “We are sorry to see Richard go, he has loyally served OMSA and the offshore industry for more than 10 years. We wish he and his wife, Joan, the best as they move to the next stage of their lives.”Chairman of the OMSA Board of Directors…

04 Jun 2019

OMSA Announces Formation of Wind Committee

OMSA President Aaron Smith

Open to all OMSA Members, the Committee Seeks to Further the Domestic Offshore Wind Industry and the Jones Act.New Orleans, LA – Today, the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) announced the formation of the OMSA Wind Committee and announced that membership on the Committee is now open to all OMSA members.OMSA President, Aaron Smith said, “Over the past 46 years, OMSA has done a tremendous job in promoting public policy that benefits the vessels, operators, and mariners engaged in the offshore oil and gas industry.

01 Nov 2018

Cautious Consolidation for OSV Companies Brings Market Change

A Gulfmark offshore support vessel (CREDIT: Gulfmark)

Will a rising tide in the offshore oil markets float all the boats? In the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, that remains to be seen.Offshore services, exploration and production are on a roll. In early October, yet another business combination of big drillers was announced. In a sign of optimism, Ensco announced its plan for an all-stock acquisition of Rowan Offshore, worth around $2.4 billion. The new company will be domiciled in the United Kingdom, but will have a large presence in Houston.

19 Jan 2018

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.

06 Nov 2017

Op/Ed: Facts Do Matter - A Defense of the Jones Act

Credit: OMSA

I recently read a story in The New Yorker – but that sounds more intellectual than what really happened, let me start over. I recently clicked a link on Facebook, which sought to explain why the term “Fake News” has become so popular. The article claimed that facts no longer matter to the average voter. As evidence (yes, the article explaining why facts don’t matter included evidence), it detailed a study whereby the subjects had been given false information, then were asked to make a choice between two options.

10 May 2017

Mariners, Shipbuilders Call on President to Put U.S. National & Economic Security First

Aaron Smith: President & CEO, OMSA

Profoundly damaging announcement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) puts foreign companies first and American companies and workers last. The Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) today responded to an announcement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to withdraw its second proposal to modify and revoke letter rulings. This decision hurts American workers, vessel owners, and U.S. shipbuilders and prevents the creation of 3,200 new American jobs. Obliging to foreign interests…

10 May 2017

Gulf of Mexico is Ground Zero for the Jones Act

(Photo: OMSA)

A vastly modernized U.S. offshore support fleet awaits the opportunity to perform Jones Act work in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Foreign operators, already here, predict disaster if a cabotage rule change takes effect. A change proposed by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in its Customs Bulletin & Decision newsletter promises reversal of a 40-year practice that, until now, allowed the use of non-coastwise-qualified vessels in the transportation of pipeline repair material…

24 Apr 2017

Op/Ed: CBP’S Lawful Jones Act Revocation

© currahee_shutter / Adobe Stock

In 2009, the U.S. offshore marine sector received a long over-due indication that the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) was preparing to close loopholes and enforce U.S. law in accordance with the Jones Act. This happened when the agency unhesitatingly issued its first revocation of more than 20 letter rulings that were inconsistent with the U.S. law of the land – the Jones Act. Almost immediately there was an outcry from foreign interests who claimed, untruthfully, that this…

05 Apr 2017

OMSA: CBP Revocation Notice Boosts U.S. Jobs

Aaron Smith, President & CEO, OMSA

OMSA says CBP Action Prevents Foreign Companies from Taking Advantage of U.S. Law. The Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) today issued the following statement in response to erroneous claims and misguided research released by API and companies backing foreign workers. “This study is a desperate attempt by companies promoting foreign workers to distort facts to enable them to continue to skirt U.S. law,” said Aaron Smith, President and CEO, Offshore Marine Service Association.

22 Nov 2016

As Operators Look for the Bottom, Gulf Gloom Persists

Credit: Yesenia Rodriguez

Gulf of Mexico vessel operators want to see sustained, higher oil prices. After a rough two years, supply boat owners and operators in the Gulf of Mexico hope crude oil prices will improve in 2017. That would encourage activity among the offshore drillers that they service and would put unemployed boats back in the water. Vessel owners aren’t necessarily banking on a good year ahead, however. “Utilization of OSVs and PSVs in the Gulf is below 50 percent now, down from about 70 percent a year ago and 90 percent two years ago…

30 Sep 2016

Interview: Aaron Smith Zeroes in on the Offshore Sector

Aaron Smith

As the Executive Director for the Offshore Supply Vessel Dynamic Positioning Authority (OSVDPA), Aaron Smith is charged with managing the day-to-day operation of the Authority. Along with the OSVDPA Board of Directors and Technical Advisory Council (TAC), Aaron has helped to craft the Authority’s dynamic positioning operator (DPO) certification program. This includes ensuring that the program is ultimately accepted by the offshore energy industry, and its many international and domestic counterparts.

21 Apr 2015

Oil Majors Push Offshore Players for 30% Cuts

Tidewater, Inc.’s Dean Edward Taylor plows full steam ahead.

30%That’s the minimum level of capital expenditure cuts facing owners and operators of offshore rigs, vessels and various support services, as they scramble to keep equipment working and their heads above water during one of the worst oil downturns in 30 years. From a high of $108 per barrel in June of last year, prices plummeted roughly 60% as supply surpassed weakening demand, crashing in November to around $44 a barrel. The pricing collapse caught all sectors of the industry and financial markets by surprise, pulling down with it market valuations, quarterly earnings and day rates.

10 Jun 2014

Agenda For June 19 Public Meeting on NPREP Guidlines

Leaders of the maritime industry will convene in Washington, D.C. on June 19 with representatives of the relevant government agencies to have a dialogue addressing concerns with, and ways to improve, the recently published draft National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (NPREP) guidelines. Preparing for the contingency of a maritime casualty has long been a priority of the industry, which has often been at the leading edge of improved standards and training. Therefore…

23 Jun 2014

Coalition Asks Senate for Vessel Discharge Legislation

Tom Allegretti, AWO’s President & CEO

On June 20, a diverse coalition of 58 national and regional organizations representing a wide array of leading business, maritime and labor organizations signed on to a letter to Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD) urging that the committee mark up and approve S. 2094, a bill that would establish a uniform, science-based national framework for the regulation of ballast water and other vessel discharges. S. 2094, introduced on March 6 by Sens.

26 Jun 2014

Chouest Appointed to Port of New Orleans Board

Laney J. Chouest is sworn in to the Port of New Orleans Board of Commissioners (Photo courtesy of the Port of New Orleans)

Governor Bobby Jindal appointed south Louisiana businessman and entrepreneur Laney J. Chouest to the Board of the Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans. Chouest, who was sworn in during today’s Board meeting, will serve a five-year term, succeeding Joseph F. Toomy, one of two Jefferson Parish representatives on the regional Board that governs Port operations in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes. A native of Galliano, La. and resident of New Orleans, Chouest is the owner and developer of NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, La.

10 Oct 2014

Reducing Human Error & Near Miss Incidents

We recently came across a very interesting report issued to Congress by the United States Coast Guard. The May 2012 study might seem dated, but that’s hardly the case. Actually, it’s a telling description of what can go wrong, why and perhaps, a blueprint for how to go forward and fix things. That’s our take, in any event. The Report chronicles oil spills from all vessel types, including the towing industry, tank ships, the offshore industry, freighters, and fishing vessels. Section…

02 Dec 2013

Billings Assumes OMSA Leadership

Ben Billings

The Offshore Marine Service Association announced that Ben Billings has officially assumed the position of President and Chief Executive Officer. Billings comes to OMSA from Washington, D.C. where he has worked for the past nine years on maritime issues in the U.S. Senate for Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Billings commented on his return to his native New Orleans and the experience he brings to OMSA, saying, “I am very happy to have this opportunity to return home for such an important mission.

06 Mar 2014

Offshore Insights from OMSA's Ben Billings

Ben Billings

Ben Billings serves as President & CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), a nationwide trade association headquartered in New Orleans that represents more than 200 member companies. OMSA’s membership includes approximately 100 firms operating more than 1,200 vessels that provide transportation services to the offshore oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world. It’s arguably a very good time to be at the helm of OMSA, with a resurgent U.S.

14 Mar 2014

Industry Urges Senate for Vessel Discharge Legislation

On March 13, a diverse coalition of 59 national and regional organizations representing a wide array of business, maritime and labor interests signed on to a letter to Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee leadership, Chairman John Rockefeller (D-WV) and Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD), thanking them for cosponsoring S. 2094, a bill that would establish a uniform national framework for the regulation of ballast water and other vessel discharges, and urging swift Committee consideration and approval. S. 2094, introduced on March 6 by Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), has 23 bipartisan co-sponsors, nearly one-quarter of the Senate.

16 Jan 2015

OMSA Opposes McCain Amendment

Ben Billings (Photo: OMSA)

The Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) issued a statement regarding Senator John McCain’s proposal allowing foreign-built vessels to take over marine transportation in the United States, stating the amendment would gut U.S. shipbuilding while outsourcing jobs and security. “Senator McCain has proposed an amendment to eliminate a cornerstone of U.S. maritime policy that dates back to the founding of our nation. The reservation of domestic transportation to U.S.-built vessels ensures the existence and viability of America’s shipbuilding industrial base.

07 Apr 2014

Landrieu to Highlight Jones Act’s Importance to La.

Sen. Landrieu at the Port of New Orleans (Photo: landrieu.senate.gov)

Tomorrow, April 8, at 2:40 p.m. EDT, U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will host a press conference to announce a recent study that highlights the importance of the Jones Act to Louisiana’s economy. Sen. Landrieu has long been a strong supporter of the Jones Act. In 2011, she wrote a letter to the president criticizing the Administration’s use of foreign vessels to transport crude oil within the United States during the ongoing Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) drawdown.

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