The Passenger Vessel Association defended
the integrity of the Jones Act this week by submitting official comments in a Coast Guard administrative proceeding.
The Jones Act requires that to serve domestic coastwise trades, a vessel must be U.S.-flagged, U.S.-built, U.S.-crewed, and U.S. owned. In September, the Coast Guard considered relaxing its policy on "sold foreign." Currently
if a coastwise-qualified vessel is transferred to a person or corporation not considered to be a legal U.S. citizen, that vessel automatically loses its coastwise privileges. The USCG asked if a non-qualifying corporation reorganizes itself as a U.S. citizen, whether the vessel's coastwise
privileges should be restored.
PVA urged against such a change in policy because it is unlikely that a "corporation [would] unwittingly reorganize itself in a way that results in the loss of coastwise privileges for a vessel." If the policy is to be changed, Congress should
do so legislatively; the Coast Guard should not do it administratively. Finally, PVA suggested that the Coast Guard stop "wasting its time and resources" on this issue while new vessel plan reviews, vessel safety inspections, and licensing of mariners are lacking attention given the Coast Guard's focus on homeland security.
Source: Passenger Vessel Association