Maritime Law and number of US ports foreign vessels can do


#1

We are trying to revitalize the port up here to bring in more jobs. Someone brought up that foreign owned vessels can only do so many ports in the US.
“There is still this little glitch in the cruise ship dream. Maritime law restricts ships of foreign registry from entering more than two ports in California on one voyage. This was put into effect to protect the American commercial fleet, before the 2nd WW, when we still had one. It has never been taken off the books. So why would a cruise ship come into Humboldt Bay when they could go to San Francisco and LA or Long Beach and San Diego? Are the redwoods enough of a draw? Better yet, lets get the law off the books!”

Is it true?


#2

It’s called the Jone’s Act. It’s a very important law, but waivers can be attained for various reasons, but these reasons have been over exploited as of late in my opinion.


#3

"We are trying to revitalize the port up here to bring in more jobs, yada yada yada… Better yet, lets get the law off the books!"
The US maritime industry is protected by cabotage laws that serve to prevent infiltration of foreign labor and ships that would take US jobs and deregulate the industry. The cruise ships fall under the protection of the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA), which prevents foreign vessels from transporting passengers solely between U.S. ports.
These laws date back to the 1920’s, are vital to the nation, the US Maritime indusrty and are aggressively defended.
I do not know the particulars of your plan to create jobs jobs locally but, I don’t think it would get much support here in gCaptain at the risk of thousands of “OUR” jobs. You are on a maritime chat site.


#4

The quoted is not my words, for clarification.


#5

Ok, so I have something to google. Looks to be a series of three laws. Merchant Marine Act of 1920 seems to be the one affecting foreign ships.

In reality how much would this actually affect things? IE how many cruise ships are foreign owned, VS US owned that ply the West Coast? What about the same for cargo ships?

I’m not advocating any change in the laws.


#6

It was a close one, John McCain was a big advocate of removing the law but I’m afraid the person you qoute would not get much support here or in congress. The Demorats wouldn’t touch it because the Unions strongly back the law. Neither would the Republicans because having US Citizens aboard these ships is a national security concern.
Personally I’m a history buff. Every 10-20 years before a big war this country cuts programs that strenghen our ability to fight a war. The fact is if you kill the Jones Act, American mariners will have to take jobs on foriegn flagged vessels or find shoreside gigs. Many will choose the later and 10-20 years from now you won’t have any Americans who know how to drive a ship, meaning you’ll have to depend on foreigners to transport sensative military cargo. And why would a foriegner carry our cargo into dangerous waters if he did not have a patriotic duty to do so?
Bottom line is, the law isn’t perfet and it does cost local communities job/revenue, but it’s important to keep this country’s nautical foot in the door and the experiance of our mariners current. It’s also critical, IPO, to keep our Maritime Academies open.


#7

If by asking “how would this actually affect things?” means: how would waiving the PVSA to allow the cruise ships into your port affect the industry? I don’t know. But, if we set a precedent and allow anything in, EVERYONE will expect the same.
Any perceived threat (whether real or imagined) to these laws is unacceptable.
Read some of the other posts about the Jones Act and you can catch up.


#8

<strong>“In reality how much would this actually affect things? IE how many cruise ships are foreign owned, VS US owned that ply the West Coast? What about the same for cargo ships?”

</strong>
As far as I know, there were only 3 U.S. Flagged cruise ships, and I believe that number is now 2, and will soon be 1. They were the ships run out of Hawaii by NCL, as the Pride fleet. The 3 ships all ran the same route between the Hawaiian islands, but NCL quickly realized that there wasn’t enough demand for 3 ships in such a small area. One of them got reflagged and is now running in the Med (I think) and they’re going to reflag another one early next year. So to answer your question, nearly every cruise ship that you see on the West Coast is owned by a foreign flag company. Just go down and take a look at the flags they fly and the countries welded on the stern…you probably won’t see any Old Glory’s flying. I know there is a small company called Cruise West that runs some small ships (like 100 passengers). One of them is seen on Nantucket all the time, and that’s the same one that ran aground last year.
Cargo ships are a different story - U.S. fleet is somewhere between 250-300 ships, but again, most of the cargo you see coming into this country is on foreign flagged ships.
I don’t think you’re going to find anyone here who is in favor of getting rid of the Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act of 1920, but nobody calls it that). It’s what’s keeping us employed, and I think we want to keep it that way.


#9

New3M, you will find many here that are in favor of getting rid of the Jones act… this is an International website. Our top city in terms of pageviews is actually London.
But… the US mariners seem to be the most vocal participants to the forum.
As far as I know the only country with the amount of protections we have is Australia.


#10

The small cruise industry, like Clipper/INTRAV, Cruise West, Lindbald Expeditions, etc. favor a place like Humbolt Bay et al because they seek out a more nature centered cruise vice the usual touristy type cruise destinations. But the flag issue is the same.


#11

Any perceived threat (whether real or imagined) to these laws is unacceptable.

Amen…I admire you guys for protecting what is yours…or at least having the forethought, to see it for what it is…
The guys in the American trucking industry are finding this out the hard way…It is now to the point of no return…We have seen our wages slashed, our rates crippled by large amounts of people from different cultural backgrounds, that do not share in our ideals or standards of living…Trying to compete with this economically, is nearly impossible…


#12

Fair enough John, I’ll rephrase. I don’t think anybody here in the U.S. is in favor of getting rid of the Jones Act. The rest of the world is probably all for it, so they can deliver to more than one U.S. port at a time. But those of us that discuss these things here will probably stay in favor of the Jones Act.
As for the original question about going to two California ports on one voyage, there is a way around that. The ship can pull into a California port, head to Mexico or Canada for a day, and then head back to a California port. Long way, but that’s a way around the law.


#13

I was speaking with an acquaintance today about the US Virgin Islands. He said that the Jones act doesn’t apply there as it does in the states. Does anyone here know if there’s any truth to this?


#14

Requests for waivers of certain provisions of the act are reviewed by the <a title=“United States Maritime Administration” href=“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Maritime_Administration]United States Maritime Administration on a case by case basis. Waivers have been granted for example, in cases of national emergencies or in cases of strategic interest. For instance, declining oil production prompted MARAD to grant a waiver to operators of the 512-foot Chinese vessel Tai An Kou to tow an oil rig from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska. The jackup rig will be under a two-year contract to drill in the Alaska’s Cook Inlet Basin. The waiver to the Chinese vessel is said to be the first of its kind granted to an independent oil-and-gas company.<sup class=“reference” id=“cite_ref-workboat_3-0]<a title=”” href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_Marine_Act_of_1920#cite_note-workboat-3]<span>[</span>4<span>]</span></sup>
In the wake of <a title=“Hurricane Katrina” href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina]Hurricane Katrina, <a title=“United States Secretary of Homeland Security” href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Secretary_of_Homeland_Security]Homeland Security Secretary <a title=“Michael Chertoff” href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Chertoff]Michael Chertoff temporarily waived the U.S. Shipping Act for foreign vessels carrying oil and Natural gas from September 1 to 19, 2005. <a rel=“nofollow” title=“http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/press_release_0730.shtm” class=“external autonumber” href="http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/press_release_0730.shtm][1]<a rel=“nofollow” title=“http://npga.org/files/public/Jones_Act_Waver_9-05.pdf” class=“external autonumber” href=“http://npga.org/files/public/Jones_Act_Waver_9-05.pdf][2]
Pressure exerted by 21 agriculture groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, failed to secure a U.S. Shipping waiver following Hurricane Katrina. The groups contended that farmers would be adversely affected without additional shipping options to transport grains and oilseeds.<sup class=“reference” id=“cite_ref-workboat_3-1]<a title=”” href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchant_Marine_Act_of_1920#cite_note-workboat-3]<span>[</span>4<span>]</span></sup>
<strong>There are certain American ports which are exempt from provisions of the Jones Act</strong>. <strong>They are</strong> Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Marianas in the Pacific and the <strong>United States Virgin Islands</strong> in the Caribbean. There has historically been sufficiently few calls to those ports that requiring American cabotage was assumed to be a hardship.


#15

Fascinating. Thanks, Cheng…


#16

The link to the Harbor Districts documents is [URL=http://www.humboldtbay.org/harbordistrict/documents/>link The project is the Redwood Marine Terminal.

The problem is I’m unable to quantify actual numbers of ships that would actually stop in Humboldt Bay.


#17

How do I verify their numbers?

Thanks for everyone’s input.