"obscure" .... 'Jones Act'


Seems a shortage of Multicat type vessels in NA?



Gee, do you really think the AJACs would misrepresent the size and value of Jones Act vessels?


:scream::scream: Good heavens no… that would be immoral and dishonest!!! /sarcasm.


There are thousands of tugs and towboats in the US. Much more than any other place in the world. They are all Jones Act.


I have wondered why we don’t have vessels of this versatile type. They could easily be built here.

The Government should NEVER have given a Jones Act waiver for the Maggie M. The are vessels in Alaska capable of doing that work.


Yes, I should have written “fleet” instead of vessels as fleet better represents the huge number of Jones Act boats that are at risk if the AJACs ever got their dreams fulfilled.


You are probably right that there are more tug/towboat in the US then anywhere else, since you use those more extensively than anywhere else.

If you look at overall fleet of small vessels and tugs/barges used to carry goods in domestic trade, I think you would be hard put to finde more than in China. If you doubt that, take a look at the traffic in say the Yangtze estuary, or Pearl River at any time.

There are also a lot of traffic on European waterways and in coastal waters, but I’m not sure if it come up to the number or tonnage of the US domestic fleet.

But none of them are Jones Act,that’s for sure. :astonished:


Are there?

There are scores of Multicats at work - it is their versitlity that is key. They are not a tow boat, not a pusher, not a crane vessel, not an anchor handler, but can do all those functions to a limited degree, which makes them the jack of all trades for offshore, wind farm, dredging assist etc. They are the helpers, not the enablers.

Sadly the Jones Act has hobbled innovation. The main builders have standardized designs and build to stock - deliveries are very short timescale.



Regarding tugs & small vessels China has 188,000 on the river systems. The Chinese military is equiping them with military comms, something which is alarming Asean nations.


The Jones Act does make it impossible to buy existing vessels of a type not found in the US. However, Damien has a US office to support construction of their licensed designs in the US. It would quite possible to build most types of innovative vessels in the U S.

I am very impressed with the versatile concept of these multicast. I’d like to work on one for a few weeks to see how it is actually used. They are not as shallow draft as I had expected, or as many similar size tugs in the US.

I think the primary obstacle to using them in the US would be cost to build and the high day rates that would be required. They look very expensive to build and equip. I do not know who would hire them at the day rates that would be required, considering that the work which they would do Is already being done by more primitive much lower day rate vessels.

Impressive and versitile vessels, I just don’t understand the economics.


The key is utilization. This one works almost 24/7



Damen Shipyards founded in 1927 by two brothers Damen still is a family owned company. Sales exploded once the modular construction concept was adopted. Prices were very competetive as most simple modules were cheaply produced in China and assembled in Holland or if necessary anywhere in the world by the establishment of partnerships and business cooperations with yards all over the world.

In 1969 Kommer Damen bought the company from his father and introduced the concept of modular construction to build small boats and launches. This concept of standardisation (known today as The Damen Standard) generated clear advantages: fast delivery times, reduced costs and proven designs. The concept was an immediate success and in 1973 the company expanded to larger facilities in Gorinchem, the Netherlands.


What is the cost of a typical multicat? Say, something like the model 2712 Voe Earl? $20 million?

How about the Renewaables Service Vessel? $50 million?


I’m starting slow this morning but can you elaborate why/how the Jones act has anything to do with hobbling innovation? Do you mean at US shipyards, or US designers or by US owners?

The elimination of USA build requirements would surely have an even worse affect on US shipyards very existence never mind their ability to innovate.

’Murican Multicat



Exactly as per the picture.

The Jones Act gives the yards, and the owners, a competition-free monopoly.

Therefore there is no need to compete and the owners are guaranteed an income no matter ho shabby or good the service.

Look at the discussion re the El Faro and El Yunque -nowhere else would elderly, uneconomic (Steam) vessels be employed commercially.

In WWII Henry Kaiser revolutionized US shipbuilding, since then, sadly, it has failed to develop of keep up with the times as the have a closed market.

Yes I understand the US seafarers fear of losing the act, but look at the decline it caused.

Globally there are regional trade networks:

Russia - Black Sea - Baltic - Volga Don Max vessels - Russia, Ukraine, ex Soviet states

Europe Med - Short sea freight, ro-ro, Kiel Canal max etc - Dutch, German, French, UK, Scandinavian owners

China - Internal rivers

North America - huge potential but the market must be free as it is in all trade areas.

The traditional towboats and sea barges are uneconomic whilst short sea vessels are far more efficient.

Look at the likes of Wagenborg:




I don’t believe that the Jones Act had a significant impact on the quality of those vessels. There are shitty companies running old rusted out ships all over the world with no Jones Act to blame. How do you explain that?


I think it goes something like this: US clients can’t try multicasts to see if they like them because they’re all foreign built and owned. Meanwhile, US owners aren’t going to waste millions building them if they don’t know they’re going to get work from clients.


Hobbled innovation? Ok…granted the basic techology and concept has been around for over a century but who developed and then improved the self unloading bulk carrier? No digging out with cranes, no fancy docks…we need room to swing the boom and enough water (barely) to fit in the port. “Here’s your bulk cargo, where do you want it?” In, out, next cargo please.


Now there is some high tech equipment in Boston.

Trouble is, every job you bid on you are bidding against half a dozen guys with equipment like that, which was paid off years ago. If you bid high enough to break even with new equipment, those guys will win every bid.

Multicats with a properly certificates crew could not compete with these old barges, cranes, and pushboats. The only person in the entire crew with any type of documents is the pushboat operator, and even that is doubtful. The owners want to keep it that way.


bottom line: without the Jones act employers will leap to hire sailors from countries where they work for $10 per day (more and less) and a US sailor will no longer have anywhere to work, Most of the ships would also be flagged in Eargistan or some place. In a few short years there will be no us sailors around except a few working on government ships. One of the main objectives of the Jones Act is to insure the USA has licensed officers around.