El Faro= new Jones act attack

The National Review is calling for a complete elimination of the Jones Act to save US mariners from sailing in old ships. The want to call it El Faro act. I’m sure it would very effectively keep US mariners safe, on the beach.

Text for the lazy:

The search for survivors from El Faro has been called off, the crew consigned to the depths. We are left to mourn the loss of 33 brave mariners, 28 of whom were American. But as we mourn, we should also be angered, because their deaths may very well have been avoidable. Hurricane Joaquin wasn’t the sole culprit; it had an accomplice, and that accomplice is a monstrous piece of legislation known as the Jones Act.

Between the lines of this disaster, something should jump out at the reader: What were those sailors, in the middle of a Category 4 hurricane, doing onboard a vessel dating back to the Ford administration? In an era where we replace our phones every two years and trade in our car leases in not much longer than that, why is it that these people were stranded in the middle of a maelstrom aboard what El Faro seaman Chris Cash called a “rust bucket”?

The answer is the Jones Act, a little-known cabotage act from 1920 that first killed American shipbuilding and now has had its hand in killing American sailors. The act is a voluminous piece of legislation filled with onerous requirements and petty regulations, but it is most widely known for its two principle requirements. First, it specifies that a U.S.-flagged ship must be crewed by American citizens. Second, it requires all Jones Act–compliant vessels, and by extension vessels engaged in intrastate transportation, to be built in America. The first requirement is arguably rooted in a legitimate national-security interest, such as clearances for crews sailing past sensitive infrastructure (e.g., Boston’s liquid-natural-gas terminal) and for those who participate in sealift operations in times of national emergency.

The second requirement, however, has been devastating: It has made the U.S.-flagged fleet the oldest of any developed nation in the world. The ban on intrastate transportation using foreign vessels means that if you want to take a car from Jacksonville, Fla., to Puerto Rico, it will have to be on a ship built in the United States. The rub: Regulations have strangled domestic construction, to the point that it’s nearly impossible to build a vessel in the United States.

Ship owners, such as the Tote Company, which probably did an admirable job in maintaining El Faro (she was last retrofitted in 2006), have no choice but to use Jones Act vessels. Building a new one is far too costly; for instance, it would costs $40 million to build a medium-sized crude-oil tanker in Korea or Japan, but $160 million to build it at one of the three U.S. shipyards capable of the task. Further, even if you could afford to build it in the U.S., you might not get a building slot; the yards are full for nearly the coming decade, mostly fulfilling Navy contracts.

So how does this all relate to El Faro? In the distress call to the Coast Guard, El Faro’s crew reported that they had lost propulsion. Even under normal circumstances, her old engine and turbine were difficult to maintain, but in a Category 4 hurricane, the task probably became impossible. In all likelihood, losing propulsion and engine power meant that waves were crashing against the ship’s beam, or the side of the ship, greatly increasing the risk of capsizing. The open interior decks for cars would have quickly filled with water once she began listing, and she may have capsized in a matter of minutes.

In this life-or-death situation, being able to keep the vessel pointed into the massive 40- to 50-foot swells could have kept everyone alive. A modern vessel with redundant controls, dynamic GPS-guided positioning, and bow and stern thrusters would have been much more capable of angling the boat into the swells.

The tragic truth is that in most of the world’s developed countries, vessels such as El Faro would never pass inspection. The American Bureau of Shipping is one of the few shipping societies that regularly classes ships older than 30. That’s beyond the age when most ships are recycled, often in famously polluted landing slots for demolition on the beaches of Pakistan and Bangladesh. A joke in the international shipping community is that there are only two types of owners who sail vessels more than 30 years old: African-ivory smugglers and Jones Act carriers. According to Clarkson’s Shipping Intelligence Network, a respected maritime database, the age of the global container fleet is roughly 10.3 years; in the U.S., it is 26.5 years, with 41 percent of the American fleet older than 30.

Despite two retrofits by her owners, there is simply no way that El Faro’s hull design and structural integrity could provide the type of commonplace safety and environmental features that vessels today have, even ones built in China.

This problem is only getting worse. The acceptable age of vessels is decreasing because of the rise of hybrid electric–liquid-natural-gas engines, and because of new international sulfur regulations that have begun to upend vessel economics and design. Older vessels are simply becoming more and more uncompetitive.

We haven’t even attempted to catalogue here the litany of environmental, naval, and logistical harms that the Jones Act causes the United States — suffice it to say they are overwhelming. So let’s finally be done with it: Let’s kill the Jones Act. We even have the perfect name for the legislation to do it: the El Faro Act, in honor of the sailors who may have perished because of this 100-year-old protectionist folly.

To the non-mariner it makes sense. To the American professional mariner it reads like a horror movie. If the Jones Act goes so do we. I wouldnt be surprised to see Moran and McAllister tugs with Panamanian flags on their masts crewed with Indian mariners if this passes.

The [B]ONLY[/B] part of the Jones act I would be willing to compromise on is the shipyard part.

These fucking assholes are as bad as ambulance chasing shysters. They won’t be satisfied until captain ISIS rams his explosive laden OSV into the LOOP Platform. They will be dumbfounded when captain ISIL Rams his red flagger into the Statue of Liberty. How did this happen they had to have TWIC cards?

[QUOTE=Fraqrat;171615]These fucking assholes are as bad as ambulance chasing shysters. They won’t be satisfied until captain ISIS rams his explosive laden OSV into the LOOP Platform. They will be dumbfounded when captain ISIL Rams his red flagger into the Statue of Liberty. How did this happen they had to have TWIC cards?[/QUOTE]

The National Review is a champion of the conservative movement. They have only the interest of the USA and the average citizen in mind. They would never propose anything that would threaten security or take away jobs !

[QUOTE=Fraqrat;171615]These fucking assholes are as bad as ambulance chasing shysters. They won’t be satisfied until captain ISIS rams his explosive laden OSV into the LOOP Platform. They will be dumbfounded when captain ISIL Rams his red flagger into the Statue of Liberty. How did this happen they had to have TWIC cards?[/QUOTE]

I just googled the two little dipshits that co-authored this piece for National Review. They’re a couple of 26-year-olds that went to American University together and now are “policy experts” because they have mastered the art of writing in complete sentences (a skill that eludes at least 70% of recent college grads, so I can understand how this sort of thing happens). Neither have ever been to sea or worked in the maritime related fields, and likely have learned everything they know about marine transportation from Wikipedia. This little piece of fiction is nothing but a free handjob for the McCain people, so the authors can get noticed and use it as a vehicle for their own self-promotion within Republican Party circles. I wouldn’t pay much attention to this horse shit, as the only people who read National Review are the guys who stroke themselves every morning to a picture of Dick Cheney. It’s like Mad Magazine for repressed, self-loathing social rejects who can’t get laid, then channel their resentment into Republican policy agendas.

And we’re off!!

[QUOTE=Bayrunner;171621]And we’re off!![/QUOTE]

I should prolly cut back on the Evan Williams, but I’d hate to deprive Kentucky of much needed economic stimulus!

That article reeked of ignorance. It horrifies me to think that normal people would believe the author knows anything about seamanship or the US Merchant Marine. I’m going to assume the National Review has a very small or dumb reader base so I can sleep better.

“A modern vessel with redundant controls, dynamic GPS-guided positioning, and bow and stern thrusters would have been much more capable of angling the boat into the swells.”

… Wow golly if only the poor El Faro had NFU and DGPS to save it… Oh and thrusters could have put the ship on a 30kt plane to get them out of the hurricane. What a crock of shit!

They may have used that QuibbleHacker fella as a technical source for modern merchant vessels.

[QUOTE=Fraqrat;171615] How did this happen they had to have TWIC cards?[/QUOTE]

Thats why we need the new TWIC 2.0 with retina scan.

That’s sounds like it should be an easy upgrade for the thousands of the onboard card readers already in use. I’m sure some enterprising ex political appointee has already started a company that designed and patented the CardReader 1s for quick deployment.

[QUOTE=Fraqrat;171629]They may have used that QuibbleHacker fella as a technical source for modern merchant vessels.[/QUOTE]

He is “a 38 year old sailor with extensive knowledge of running large sailboats, and have nearly 30 years of open ocean experience. I admit I do not know about this industry, but I learn rapidly” What constitutes a large sailboat by the way??? Smallest vessel i’ve worked on is 300ft and I only have 5years of experience.

After all, sailing a large sailboat on the open ocean has ZERO to do with the commercial aspect of the industry. But its okay because he “learns rapidly”, so all of you with decades of merchant shipping experience need to take a step back and learn from his wealth of practical knowledge & experience.

While we are doing away with the Jones Act, lets make the airlines have to follow the same new rules. I’d love to fly Pakistani Airlines on a Russian built Iluyshin from Vegas to New York. I’m sure the crews are great and the planes are top notch. Let’s apply the same rules to Amtrak and Greyhound too!

[QUOTE=Knots;171630]Thats why we need the new TWIC 2.0 with retina scan.[/QUOTE]
why do you need a twic card, computer should know who you are from drivers licence/social security card?
The gov has all the foreigners finger prints but not locals?
Add retina scan to computer and your done?

[QUOTE=Bayrunner;171610]I wouldnt be surprised to see Moran and McAllister tugs with Panamanian flags on their masts crewed with Indian mariners if this passes.[/QUOTE]
I take it you mean the harbor, ship assist boats. But, they have both had/have tugs under foreign registry.
The Alice Moran of 1966 I believe, big ocean going salvage tug, built in Japan and I think she was Liberian registered. I’d have to check.
Today, Moran has foreign flagged boats working LNG down in Mexico.
McAllister had foreign registered tugs working down in the ABC Islands and Saudi Arabia at one time. Not to mention the boat that towed the paper barge from Canada to Scott Paper at Chester, PA.
They’re one step away from doing it in the harbors too if the Cabotage laws were altered or repealed.

[QUOTE=yard_bird;171627]That article reeked of ignorance. It horrifies me to think that normal people would believe the author knows anything about seamanship or the US Merchant Marine. I’m going to assume the National Review has a very small or dumb reader base so I can sleep better.

“A modern vessel with redundant controls, dynamic GPS-guided positioning, and bow and stern thrusters would have been much more capable of angling the boat into the swells.”

… Wow golly if only the poor El Faro had NFU and DGPS to save it… Oh and thrusters could have put the ship on a 30kt plane to get them out of the hurricane. What a crock of shit![/QUOTE]

Maybe they were off a little on maritime knowledge but they were dead on about regulations stifling business. The National Review has been around since 1955 and is the intellectual magazine of the conservative movement. Rich Lowry is the current editor and a conservative champion.
The banking industry was finally deregulated with support of the National Review in 1999 and that has worked out great for the banks. Regulations are the problem and caused by government interfering with business and commerce. There is no reason for the USA to require a ship to be built in the USA when China can do it for pennies on the dollar. Those same ships can be crewed by Indian or Chinese mariners that also work for pennies on the dollar.The mariners that do not have TWIC cards will just stay on the ship in port, no problem Then goods can be shipped to Puerto Rico and all the prices will go down while profits will go up for the ship owners who will pay more taxes of course and trickle down their new wealth upon the people. Bush the senior and Reagan explained how trickle down works years ago, Bill Clinton finally saw the light and helped out with the bank deregulation. It is a win-win-win.

I’m writing from a ship in the Pacific that was placed in service in 1982. Age has little to do with seaworthiness unless there are underlying, glaring issues not properly addressed as with the Marine Electric and her hatch covers etc. The El Faro incident- in my opinion- was not so much about the age of the ship but what was done with her. Sorry C.C. and other folks here but the evidence is overwhelming that the Master made a fatal gamble. He had time and an opportunity to escape but chose not to, and then it was too late. If the ship had age issues, we have no evidence thus far that any of these issues sealed the ship’s doom. This isn’t the 1980’s.

I see these weasels are using a maritime database to calculate the average age of the US fleet…does that database include ships that trade exclusively on the Lakes? Because that would push the average up a bit. And those ships tend to be in very good shape due to service in fresh water. I wouldn’t expect a weasel lowlife scumbag wet behind the ears “journalist” to mention that, though, because that would take integrity.

[QUOTE=tengineer1;171637]Maybe they were off a little on maritime knowledge but they were dead on about regulations stifling business. The National Review has been around since 1955 and is the intellectual magazine of the conservative movement. Rich Lowry is the current editor and a conservative champion.
The banking industry was finally deregulated with support of the National Review in 1999 and that has worked out great for the banks. Regulations are the problem and caused by government interfering with business and commerce. There is no reason for the USA to require a ship to be built in the USA when China can do it for pennies on the dollar. Those same ships can be crewed by Indian or Chinese mariners that also work for pennies on the dollar.The mariners that do not have TWIC cards will just stay on the ship in port, no problem Then goods can be shipped to Puerto Rico and all the prices will go down while profits will go up for the ship owners who will pay more taxes of course and trickle down their new wealth upon the people. Bush the senior and Reagan explained how trickle down works years ago, Bill Clinton finally saw the light and helped out with the bank deregulation. It is a win-win-win.[/QUOTE]
ship owner pay tax, your kidding right?
Thats one thing the Jones does get I would have thought, US built owned and flagged means pay tax as US corporations, nobody else in the world pays taxes in the shipping industry less tonnage registration

For anyone interested, the writers of that article are 2 founders of the conservative future project, they have attacked the Jones act plenty of times, check out their website

http://cfproject.org/cfp-in-the-news/2013/3/7/jones-act-protectionists-respond-to-cfp

So we know who is attacking the Jones Act, let’s talk about who is defending it!

http://www.americanmaritimepartnership.com/

Get involved… It’s your livelihood!

Yes that's what I was getting at. I know about Moran's Mexican boats. They are technically a joint venture and I know about Mac's venture into foreign boats.   Tradwind's Isabel was once a Mac foreign boat.