Foreign Flag Vessels in GOM


#41

[QUOTE=Fraqrat;195084]http://hornbeckoffshore.com/fleet/featured/hosmpsv-fleet

http://www.harveygulf.com/vessels.html#mpsv

There are currently bigger and more capable vessels under construction. The only foreign operated things we will need will be the large pipelayers. At some point we will build a couple of those as well.[/QUOTE]

My fellow Americans, there’s more to this than meets the eye. Did you know that the requirement that masters and mates be required to hold a foreign certificate in order that they may be allowed to work in the GOM near offshore oil installations has cost a number of our citizens their carries of many decades. God help you if you lock horns with Regina Bindao of the Nautical Institute. She will fix your wagons so that you can’t work in your trade. Just another example of foreign incursion.


#42

I agree. However just to be fair, the company I work for actually spends money on Capitol Hill to preserve the Jones Act. They have Jones Act ships that if it were eliminated, we would all be out of work. It would open competition from foreign built and crewed ships and I doubt they could compete with that.


#43

Yes I see a couple of HOS MPSVs and the Harvey Deep Sea that is Jones Act compliant and reasonably well equipped. (The last is chartered to DOF Subsea by the way) The largest HOS boats are foreign built and flagged.

It is possible to build new vessels, even pipelayers, at US yards for delivery in two or three years, but they probably will not be ordered before the market has turned. If they do build them, will any Owners put such vessels under US flag? Are there sufficient work in US waters to do so? If you look at reality, to do so will be expensive and not productive.

Top of the line CSVs are dependent on a worldwide market to be profitable, regardless of which flag they fly. At the moment there are more than enough such vessels in existence to cover the world wide market, including in the GoM. Adding more will just add to the over-supply.

But there are lots of advanced CSVs available for sale in the market at VERY low discounts from newbuilding costs. If the “Built in USA” clause was waived from the Jones Act, US Owners could acquire a whole fleet of top-end vessels and put them under US flag to cover the US market need.

With the right vessels they could possibly compete worldwide with US crews, or at least Officers, just like high-cost Norwegian officers are working in the Gom today.


#44

There are more than a “couple” there if you bother to read. Between just those two companies there are 7 Jones Act MPSV’s already built and in the market. With two 370’ and two 340’ LNG Jones Act MPSV’s left to deliver over the next year or so. Im sure Chouest has large Jones Act vessels delivering also. Don’t forget we have flotel vessels in market as well.

I’m not worried about the worldwide market just this one and it appears there is plenty of tonnage to cover the work. Foreign interlopers can go scavenge for crumbs in the North Sea we got this area covered.


#45

One of the problems that we should address is the internal ankle biting stateside weakens the full force we could apply to congress. Labor wants the hulls to change flags over a long weekend. Shipbuilders know labor is acting recklessly when they don’t insist that any hull crossing any shelf be a Jones Act hull. Labor just wants the jobs. It’s nothing to them if most of the Afloat Prepositioning Ship’s were built in Denmark, they’re getting the contributions for the jobs not the hulls. The shipbuilders lobbyists aren’t going to waste any muscle to help labor. There are more competing interests than just those two. This is no small problem.


#46

[QUOTE=ombugge;195107] If the “Built in USA” clause was waived from the Jones Act, US Owners could acquire a whole fleet of top-end vessels and put them under US flag to cover the US market need.[/QUOTE]

[B]If?[/B] If my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle. This is a divide and conquer move. So you advocate cutting out the US yards and those workers jobs and the unlicensed jobs so the US system could be more like the Norwegian one? I think Jones Act ought to remain as is and get rid of the routine exemptions so many here have pointed out. Unfortunately it seems US owners in this area just cannot resist in boom times to overbuild. Another aspect may be that if some of the specialty vessels had been built - that would have required world wide marketing and employment of them to keep them busy to make the economic case to build them in the first place. Perhaps they are just not interested in running a world wide operation because a US flag vessel overseas is going to have to compete with low cost versions of the same vessel. So they sit back, don’t build, complain and get exemptions and employ the same low cost versions in their own back yard. That is a short sighted and in the end a truly un-American view. Unless there is a major change in enforcement and industry owners change their attitude towards how they do business and yes, sane government regulation with regards to subsidies, cargo preference the US merchant marine has probably stagnated to its present scope and dimension. If you really think the billionaire class of foxes just put in charge of the hen house in DC will save the day I think you may be disappointed in the end.


#47

The Island Venture is now on her way to GoM: http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/index/itineraries/all/shipid:3700472/mmsi:577358000/shipname:ISLAND%20VENTURE

The sister ship, which was intended to be built in a US yard to the same Ulstein design and with the same machinery and equipment is history. (I believe?) It would be interesting to know the budget difference between the two would have been.

Simply put, it is impossible to compete internationally at the high end of the market with US built vessels.
If you take a foreign built vessel and put American flag and American crew on board, at least you could compete in the US market. Since ECO is taking the Island Venture to the GoM, that must be their calculations.

Reducing that to American officers and cheaper foreign crew you should be able to compete with eqv. Norwegian vessels with the similar arrangement. (Always assuming eqv. capabilities and equipment)

To harp up again and up again on the “$100/mth. villagers” who run foreign ships is NOT rational. ("Alternative facts"maybe??) It not worthy of a serious forum like this.

Go have a look at who ACTUALLY operate the foreign vessels that works in US water and check the ACTUAL crew cost, not “Day rate”.

Most such vessels works occasionally in the GoM. Although on charter to American companies they are mostly used worldwide.


#48

[QUOTE=ombugge;195115]
Simply put, it is impossible to compete internationally at the high end of the market with US built vessels.
[/QUOTE]

We have been down this road before. To put it even simpler, if they would not allow theses vessels to work in GOM perfectly suitable American vessels will do the work at rates established by the supply available, if certain features are not available any number of operators will build or retro fit knowing they are meeting a specific demand.

You can call that protectionism if you want but it seems fair to me to reserve that tiny bit of our economy allowing US workers in shipbuilding and seafaring to participate in the exploration for and extraction of resources from US territory. Does that mean the cost of producing that oil and gas will be marginally higher, yes. So what, they’ll produce less so that maybe the boom/bust cycle might level out. Right now there are so many other factors effecting deep water exploration I can’t see biting the bullet at this time and enforcing some strict pro-labor regulations in this area could hurt. More likely would only be sure to set up the industry to be in a better position for a future recovery. Not much subsea pipeline work right now? Seems like a perfect time to require it be done by US built,owned,crewed vessels.

No one has to harp about how low pay is on these foreign vessels, not even you. You aren’t really going to claim crew costs are equal are you? No one is claiming they are wrong for setting up their operations that way, it is probably the only way to set up to compete world wide. But that doesn’t mean they have a right to come in a back door to a market. These foreign operators aren’t doing anything wrong although they are the easy target for disparagement for participating. No, it is our own elected representatives that allowed this situation to develop and continue. Our own titans of industry squeezing the last billion out of a bottom line. With more and more rights for corporate citizens and less and less responsibility and accountability. And when elected officials meet corporate citizens, regular old tax paying citizens get screwed. It’s unfortunate but understandable (don’t you agree?) that foreign middle men doing the deed get the lion share of the blame but you shouldn’t take it personally


#49

I agree that US companies should be able to reflag some reasonable number of existing foreign built vessels for use in the US EEZ when comparable US built vessels are not available. For example, the big pipe layers. No foreign built vessel should be allowed to work in the US unless no similar US vessel is available. I have to think that one or two big US built pipe layers could be kept fairly busy enough in the US. The same with the big cranes and the heavy lift ships.


#50

[QUOTE=ombugge;195107]But there are lots of advanced CSVs available for sale in the market at VERY low discounts from newbuilding costs. If the “Built in USA” clause was waived from the Jones Act, US Owners could acquire a whole fleet of top-end vessels and put them under US flag to cover the US market need. [/QUOTE]

ANY foreign built vessel can fly the US flag but restricted from being able to carry any cargo or offshore equipment to or from the GoM OCS and land in the US. Even HOS’s two foreign built MPSVs could be US flag tomorrow if HOS chose to make them so and you can bet your boots they would if there was a mandate or other incentive from the Federal Government to change the flag on them.


#51

[QUOTE=c.captain;195121]ANY foreign built vessel can fly the US flag but restricted from being able to carry any cargo or offshore equipment to or from the GoM OCS and land in the US. Even HOS’s two foreign built MPSVs could be US flag tomorrow if HOS chose to make them so and you can bet your boots they would if there was a mandate or other incentive from the Federal Government to change the flag on them.[/QUOTE]

Now you’ve arrived at the Canadian method of doing things. I can sum it up: “come here, work, pay taxes, be a good corporate citizen, create some jobs, fly the flag, welcome.”


#52

[QUOTE=c.captain;195121]ANY foreign built vessel can fly the US flag but restricted from being able to carry any cargo or offshore equipment to or from the GoM OCS and land in the US. Even HOS’s two foreign built MPSVs could be US flag tomorrow if HOS chose to make them so and you can bet your boots they would if there was a mandate or other incentive from the Federal Government to change the flag on them.[/QUOTE]

I don’t think you see any foreign flagged simple OSVs carrying cargo in the GoM. Those foreign vessels that are there are highly specialized and do work that requires capabilities not available locally.

There isn’t a market in the GoM alone for large SSCVs, like Hermod, Balder, Thialf, S-7000 or the like and nobody can afford to build anything like that at a US yard, even for the worldwide market, much less if limited to a relatively small US market.

The same applies for the [U]high-end CSVs[/U], which is far more capable than the MPSVs that has been touted here as “equally capable”.
If any such vessels should be built to meet Jones Act requirement they would have to compete on the international market to be economically feasible. It would only add to the already crowded market and keep the charter rates low.

This already applies to the existing vessels with such capabilities that is US owned, like the HOS and McDermott CSVs, all of which are foreign flagged. I don’t know if any of them have US Mariners on board.

Forcing the Construction Contractors to carry heavy equipment from the yards to the CSVs in the field on Jones Act vessels only add to the cost and the risk, but does not add a “yuge” amount of jobs for US Mariners. If the CSVs were US flagged and manned, it would.

Besides, how do you carry and transfer miles long coiled pipes, cables or jumpers on reels weighing in at several thousand tonnes? If forced to they may then set up spooling bases in neighbouring countries to bypass the “ban”.

As to crew cost on these same CSVs; I don’t think you find that the Officers are costing any less than their US counterparts, when you add in even time, travel expenses, social costs etc.
The Iban Riggers and Pinoy ABs does, but they have years of experience from SSCV and CSVs. (Besides, they do not complain about everything, or sue for the smallest matter)

Whether you like it or not, the market for such vessels and personnel is International. To compete you have to have the “tools”, the knowledge and experience. Without it you can only play on home ground. Even then, only if the market is willing to pay, or by protectionist means.

Right now it is possible to get hold of a fleet of vessels of very high standard at a very low cost. Some take advantage of that, in preparation for the upturn. Just look at Rokke, Fredriksen and Siam, they are all out there getting ready. Where are the Americans?? (Aside from ECO, Seacore and some Wall Street speculators??)


#53

The industry have got an extra 60 days to comment on the Jones Act proposal: http://www.osjonline.com/news/view,imca-welcomes-extra-60-days-for-jones-act-comment_46486.htm


#54

[QUOTE=ombugge;195130] The Iban Riggers and Pinoy ABs does, but they have years of experience from SSCV and CSVs. (Besides, they do not complain about everything, or sue for the smallest matter)[/QUOTE]

This statement is unfair. What struck me the most strongly the first time I joined an American crew was that nobody was complaining. That had not been my experience working with Europeans, some of whom were constantly complaining to the point where it became demoralizing (with much less reason than the Americans had). Additionally, I’ve never seen a worker of any nationality sue his or her company.

I like working with Pinoy mariners, too: they’re hard-working, cheerful, friendly, and fun. But if they have any flaws, it is that they do not complain enough.


#55

[QUOTE=Emrobu;195134]This statement is unfair. What struck me the most strongly the first time I joined an American crew was that nobody was complaining. That had not been my experience working with Europeans, some of whom were constantly complaining to the point where it became demoralizing (with much less reason than the Americans had). Additionally, I’ve never seen a worker of any nationality sue his or her company.

I like working with Pinoy mariners, too: they’re hard-working, cheerful, friendly, and fun. But if they have any flaws, it is that they do not complain enough.[/QUOTE]

Ok I MAY have topped that one too much. Not complaining as much as Europeans maybe, but sueing is one of the thing that is recognized as a reason for avoiding US crews. A Survey Company I did some work for got sued for not having specifically noted that the were no “grab bars” in the shower cabinets. (A contractor had slipped and fell on board an Offshore vessel working in the GoM)

You are also right that Pinoy seamen (and Indonesian as well) complain too little. It is actually a safety hazard that has been noted.

Even more so with Kannaka crews, they don’t even tell anybody when they get injured in a fight. As a Chief Mate on Island trampers with Kanaka crew I used to line them up and inspect them after a night ashore. One lost two fingers to gangrene because he was hiding his injury until it was too late.


#56

This Americans filing lawsuits thing is utter bullshit. US Mariners very rarely file lawsuits. Lawsuits are expensive, time consuming, and very difficult for mariners to win. Most of the lawsuits that do get filed are about serious, long lasting personal injuries, and lawsuits usually only happen after the shipowners and insurance companies leave the mariner no other option.

Most personal injury lawsuits could be avoid with a government run “seamens’ compensation” system similar to the "worker’s comp system that covers nearly all US land based workers. In other words, blame the government, and the shipowners and their lobbyists, not the Mariners for making lawsuits the only mechanism to compel compensation.

Anyone who thinks that US seamen’s lawsuits are a significant part of the cost of operating a US shipping company is sadly misinformed.


#57

[QUOTE=tugsailor;195138]This Americans filing lawsuits thing is utter bullshit.

Anyone who thinks that US seamen’s lawsuits are a significant part of the cost of operating a US shipping company is sadly misinformed. [/QUOTE]

you tell em…in 33years of serving US flagged vessels I have not had one crewmember ever file an unseaworthness complaint against the owner when I was ever in command and there certainly were incidents when one of them could have. I believe there are very few US mariners out there looking to file a suit simply to get the money…most just want to do honest work and not earn a bad reputation which will follow them in their careers as being trouble. Of course a seaman should be able to sue though if injured in the employ of the owner and having that right written in the law is important.

I will also say that carrying Jones Act coverage for a US flag vessel owner is expensive…I have some quotes already for the DAUNTLESS to have same when she gets a charter however it is not so high to preclude me from going to work with the boat once I get a charter for her.


#58

[QUOTE=tugsailor;195138]Anyone who thinks that US seamen’s lawsuits are a significant part of the cost of operating a US shipping company is sadly misinformed.[/QUOTE]

Well in that case a lot of people are misinformed, because that is the general view from outside USA:

In contrast to laws that regulate liability and negligence for non-maritime workers, the Jones Act makes it relatively easy for qualified seamen to sue their employers if they are hurt while working on a vessel belonging to American owners and operators.

This is an abstract from this site: http://www.maritimeinjuryguide.org/jones-act/lawsuit/

I obviously don’t know how many who actually sue their company under the Jones Act, but the perception from abroad is that it is a major reason to stay away from US flag.

      • Updated - - -

If there are unseaworthiness issues shouldn’t you, as the Master, be the one to bring it to the attention of the Authorities, if the Owners don’t do what is required to correct it?
Admittedly, suing the Owner may not be the smartest thing to do under the American employment system.

I will also say that carrying Jones Act coverage for a US flag vessel owner is expensive…I have some quotes already for the DAUNTLESS to have same when she gets a charter however it is not so high to preclude me from going to work with the boat once I get a charter for her.

That high cost MAY be a reason why even American Owners are quick to use FOC when they can.


#59

[QUOTE=c.captain;195141]I will also say that carrying Jones Act coverage for a US flag vessel owner is expensive…I have some quotes already for the DAUNTLESS to have same when she gets a charter however it is not so high to preclude me from going to work with the boat once I get a charter for her.[/QUOTE]

Corps of Engineer near coastal survey crews are covered by Federal Workers Comp. I don’t know if a small near coastal commercial operator can take advantage of this but it might be worth looking into.
Might have to jump through a few hoops.


#60

What many people fail to understand is that there is no worker’s comp system for US seamen. When a seaman is injured his only option is to request compensation from the owners and their P&I insurance. And if it is not paid, file a suit.

If the owners and insurance will not make reasonable compensation payments, the seamen’s only option is to sue. If a seaman does not have a lawyer the owners think they can get away with paying him next to nothing. When the seaman is forced to get a lawyer so that the owners and insurance will take him seriously, the lawyer of course provides a forecast of what a court is likely to award. The lawyer’s forecast is many times more than what the owner and insurance offered. By now, the seaman is understandably very angry. Often insurance companies will not take the claim seriously or pay the seaman anything, until after a lawsuit is filed. When owners get sued, it’s usually because they forced the seaman to sue them. They have no one to blame but themselves.

Under the Jones Act and general maritime law owners are required to pay “maintenance and cure”. Maintenance while healing is supposed to provide reasonable living expenses. Yet most employer contracts specify $25 to $50 per day. No one can live on that while healing. Owners who do this are irresponsible, cheap, and stupid. Many owners will not pay anything until they are sued. Cure is the past, present, and future medical expenses that have been, are being, or will be incurred to restore the seamanship health to the extent possible. If the seaman’s health insurance pays for most (typically about 70 percent) of the seaman’s medical expenses, the health insurance company will file a subrogation claim against the owner’s P&I for reimbursement of what the health insurance has paid out. Of course the seaman is also entitled to compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, other compensation.

Good owners (larger than the mom and pop companies) provide seamen with health insurance, short term disability insurance (that pays 60 percent of salary during the cure phase), long term disability (that pays 60 percent of salary for permanent disabilities until age 65). Plus good owners promptly cover any medical expenses not covered by health insurance. Also, they have good P&I insurance and the press the P&I carrier to promptly pay seamen’s claims. These type of owners rarely get sued.

As an example of a company that does it wrong, there is a medium sized tugboat company that might be owned by a lawyer. I know a seaman who got hurt at that company. He spent a week in the hospital and was back at work a month later. A year after his injury the company still had not paid a dime. He was being harassed by the hospital’s collection agency for payment. His now former employer would no longer respond to his inquires about payment of the hospital bills. So, he got a lawyer and is suing the employer for maintenance and cure, lost wages, pain and suffering, and damage to his good credit. I hope he wins a bundle.

So don’t blame American seaman for suing, blame the scumbag companies that force them to sue.