Offshore energy service majors are all set to discover if foreign-flagged vessels are hauling energy-related equipment from the US ports and installing or delivering them.
The Offshore Marine Service Association has recently unveiled a ship that will capture videos and photos of vessels it considers to be violating a 1920 law that mandates the US vessels to transport cargo only in the US-based locations.
Aaron Smith, the president and CEO of the association, said that it is expected to supply evidence to trade publications and also to the US Customs and Border Protection that enforces the law.
He added that this vessel named Jones Act Enforcer will operate in the wind fields off the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. The US Customs and Border Protection, however, refused to comment on this matter.
The US Rep. John Garamendi, a California Democrat, said that a bill to repeal the Jones Act as a protectionist law meant to drive up prices has already been presented before the Senate Commerce Committee. Proposals of this type have been made over and again in the past. However, none of these has managed to make it out of the committee.
Offshore turbines, platforms, and all that is connected to them must be taken from the US ports and deployed or delivered by the US crews on ships manufactured and owned in the country.
Several times, foreign vessels take each of those assets from ports and install them.
Garamendi’s group comprising more than 140 members includes about 60 owners and vessel operators. It carries passengers, materials and also supplies from and to offshore platforms and rigs. Garamendi said that the US Customs and Border Patrol has been an issue for years by approving dozens of loopholes related to the Jones Act.
The association has been able to challenge those loopholes by lobbying Congress members and in lawsuits.