Skip to comments.Jones Act not hampering Gulf clean up
Posted on 06/19/2010 9:44:32 PM PDT by capt.P
Recent news stories have suggested that foreign skimming vessels are not able to work on the Deepwater Horizon spill cleanup because of the Jones Act. These reports are incorrect, says the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA). OMSA points out that the Jones Act does not apply and therefore does not prevent foreign vessels from working on oil skimming operations in waters beyond a state's three-mile limit. In fact, a number of foreign vessels have been working at the scene for some time.
For skimming activities within any state's three-mile limit, longstanding and established law says that any such work, including the skimming activity, must be performed by a U.S. vessel, if one is available. If a U.S. vessel is not available, there is a waiver process that can be used to bring in foreign vessels.
"We are not yet aware of any waiver request being made because a U.S. vessel is not available," says OMSA. "The important distinction is that under the Jones Act, foreign vessels may be used only if U.S. vessels are not available."
"Once again, it appears that critics of the Jones Act are distorting the facts by claiming that the Jones Act applies in an instance when it simply doesn't, or where it does, not being forthcoming with the law and the facts. Worse, they are taking advantage of this disastrous situation to undermine American workers for the benefit of foreign companies and foreign workers," said Ken Wells, President of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA). "But even in instances where the law does not require the use of a U.S. vessel, BP should make every attempt to hire U.S. vessels and their workers. The entire Gulf Coast and surrounding areas have been hurt by the BP spill. The seafood and tourism industries have suffered. And it doesn't make sense now to put the Gulf Coast maritime industry out of work just to give jobs to a few foreign boats," he continued
OMSA, on behalf of the owners and operators of U.S. flag vessels that work in the offshore energy sector, is working diligently to make sure that the spill is brought under control and cleaned up as quickly as possible. OMSA is also making sure that available American vessels are put to work and, if a waiver is necessary, that this is accomplished quickly and effectively.
"We want to make crystal clear that in no way, shape or form are we taking any action that hampers the spill cleanup effort. However, this should not become an excuse for foreign companies to take advantage of this tragic accident for their own gain or for opponents of the law to try to undercut it," Wells said.
Separately, the Marine Cabotage Task Force issued a statement saying that "the American maritime industry supports immediate action to address the unfolding environmental disaster in the Gulf." The statement noted that the Jones Act requires that American vessels be used for domestic transportation activities in the U.S. and that "countless American vessels are already responding in the Gulf" with "many other American vessels ... standing by ready to help."
"There are well-established federal procedures for waiving the Jones Act to bring in foreign vessels in those situations were American vessels are not available," said the MCTF. The American maritime industry has not and will not stand in the way of the use of these well-established waiver procedures to address this crisis.
Ronin, it doesn’t work like that. Even if we contained all of the surface oil, the beaches would still get soiled. Much of the oil is emulsifying before it hits the surface. Once that happens, the oil won’t separate from the water, and it will no longer be buoyant.
I don’t think that the article is self-serving at all. This is a red herring issue. For the life of me, I can’t see how anyone, even a non-mariner, could miss that.
That’s all true. However, there’s no shortage of boom or specialized vessels available locally. There will be, I’m sure, but it hasn’t happened yet.
ABSOLUTELY! I call Barbra Streisand on this. If the foreign vessels had helped in the 1st 2 weeks, we wouldn’t be in this situation at all. It’s definite CYA for the Obama Admin. Disgusting!!
In the modern political climate, red herrings is all we’re fed.
So then the Commander in Chief is an idiot!
An industry association with deep political connections using their influence to constrain competition by working in concert with their union fellow travelers.
It’s like the fire department having a law passed that says nobody but them can put out a fire - unless they first acknowledge they lack adequate staff. So, your house is burning down, but you can’t pick up a water hose to put it out - unless the fire department says it’s OK.
Sounds fair to me. Is it clear now - the Gulf belongs to them. Typical protectionist/union thugocracy.
Read all their words: They never said it was waived - only that there is a procedure to waive the act. They never mentioned that the three mile rule affects port entry to dump the collected oil.
The OMSA (union and owners) is covering up for NOT waiving he Jones Act.
The EPA forbids the Seawater from being dumped back overboard if ANY Oil is present, thus requiring all the liquid being skimmed to be stored on board the vessel to be processed back in port.
Stupid is as stupid does.
OMSA is to Union shipworkers as NECA is to union electricians.
Whew, what a relief. Here I was waiting for a disaster to happen om the Gulf Coast shores and all the time the OMSA had things under control. I’m relieved at their explanation.......er, BS.
This is a cover-your-ass statement by the trade organization which benefits from keeping foreign ships out of US waters. Therefore, it is also an apologist for Obama’s failure here to do what George Bush did promptly during Katrina, WAIVE the Jones Act.
Even this apology has the insane statement that “no one has asked for a waiver.” Any administrator, even a President, should have noticed from Day One that we would need thousands of skimmers, and that Holland and many other places had offered theirs for use.
Now, sixty days after the original explosion, this Administration is “considering whether to use the Dutch skimmers,” while the oil is now arriving in the wetlands and on the beaches where it is killing the fishing and tourism industries respectively.
This is a biased statement from a biased source, designed to provide cover for Obama’s errors.
John / Billybob
Give it a rest. We could and should be using every skimmer we can get, regardless of the flag and crew of those ships. You are an apologist for that failure. and it is disingenuous at best to say that this is about the boats that transport workers to and from the rigs.
John / Billybob
So....why are there not enough skimmers then? Or is the cleanup pretty much over?
But who decides if a US vessel is available/better than non-US expertise being offered ?
I'm thinking of some Dutch outfits that are world leaders in skimmer tech who apparently have not been judged "allowable".
sounds like an Idiot and a payoff to the unions. Damn the States and environment!
As of Monday, there were 1,500 skimmer-equipped vessels made available, but not engaged, and owned and operated by American interests. Everyone who wants a paycheck is offering skimmers... which is pretty much everyone in the world with the ability to get them here in a timely manner. That being said, I have no idea why more skimmers aren’t being engaged.
Doesn’t anyone wonder why Republicans from the Gulf states aren’t interested in the skimmer supply? I suspect that it has to do with the ineffective job that they do, especially since only a very small percentage of the oil being released actually floats.
Since most commenters here are neither mariners nor employed in oil exploration (except me, of course), I’m not surprised that everyone’s all butthurt about the Jones Act, but no one is wondering why every locally available resource isn’t being used, despite the fact that in the long run, people are going to go under the bus in droves if anyone actually gets found to be playing games. Still, Since only a very small percentage of all mariners in the US belong to a union, and the oil production side has no unions, I can’t help but think that there’s more important things to worry about than the Jones Act.