Fight to Keep The Jones Act


The cost of the Jones Act is trivial compared to the extra cost of US doctors, dentists, school teachers, truck drivers, construction workers etc. when they are replaced with low cost and equally capable Filipinos and Indians, it will be time to reconsider the Jones Act.


The day will come, but yes, “the game will probably be over” by then.
No empire lasts forever.

You mean Indonesia? They are trying to do what you guys are suggesting, but it is not working any better for them than for you.

There are a lot more than Heerema that do “highly technical” things in the GoM and around the world. Saipem, Technip, Subsea 7, Allseas is but a few that do the big stuff. Some of the more complex work is done by smaller operators with very sophisticated vessels and equipment.
What they have in common? They all work internationally, with an international work force.

True. It is also true that 50 years ago the Americans were the only ones with the technology and knowhow to explore and exploit offshore oil and gas. American Oilcos, rigs, boats and workers were everywhere and new oil field technology developed in USA was exported to countries around the world.

Today you hardly find any US flagged rigs, boats or personnel working outside USA, even for US Oilcos.
New technology for the offshore industry are no longer being developed exclusively in the US, if at all.

What happened???


I suspect that too much attention to quarterly results and “maximizing shareholder value” contributed.


Corporations can’t be expected to not care about these things. They (especially publicly traded ones) exist for the sole purpose of maximizing return.

This is why it SHOULD be the government’s role to protect the interests of it’s citizens through regulation. Unfortunately our government has long sold out to the highest bidder, aka the corporations. This is why we see the recurring theme of export the good jobs as much as we can, then import cheap labor for the jobs we can’t export.

Part of the 70 years of “accomplishments” previously referred to on this forum by our globalist brethren.


Quarterlies matter, but so do results five or ten years down the road.

As for “sole purpose” – it should be obvious that this is cosmically horrifically wrong and will lead to our destruction as a society if we keep it up.


you Norwegians happened and the Dutch or basically Europeans took what the Americans brought and decided to take over on your turf (the North Sea) and developed engineering and technologies far better that what Texas or Louisiana were providing. As crude crashed in the 80’s and the American players all ran for cover, the European players stayed in the game and kept building newer and better every year. Suddenly deepwater came to the GoM and the old players like McDermott were hideously unprepared and when they tried to catch up they found they were so far behind that there was go way on earth they could so the door to the GoM swung wide open to Heerma, Technip, Coflexip, Aker, et all to bring what they had developed to our shores and have now been here since the late 90’s pretty much owning the EPIC game and doing all they can to keep the American companies at a bidding disadvantage. As long as they have equal access to the GoM as any American company they were going to win the contracts based on track record instead of price.

HOWEVER, this is 2018 and not 1998 (when I first worked in the offshore) and American companies do have the ability to do the jobs with the engineering and technology brought here by the European players. The American companies have access to capital but if it is going to be a bidding war against those who already have amortized their equipment, no one will invest that money in new equipment unless they know they have the market to their own. Thus if the OCSLA were to be fully enforced, the foreign players would bow out and license their technologies to the Americans so that they collect as well as US firms. Everyone can be a winner here but the offshore industry is very dog eat dog and the Euro dog continues to eat the American one here in the US offshore. Regarding the remainder of the world, all I have to say is would you want an all Louisiana crew working on your job in the South China Sea?


Foreign built vessels, much like we have many foreign built cars in these US, should be allowed to enter Jones’ Act trade.

If ANYONE here believes in the idea of the free market (I do) then foreign built vessels built to Jones’ Act and/or USCG standards, like we have foreign cars built to US and California standards, should be very welcome at home.


Except 3 of the 4 you mentioned won’t hire American mariners. I can speak from personal experience that Heerema and Allseas will flat out tell you they won’t even look at an application from an American for marine crew positions. Dockwise too. If you want to work in a cubicle farm, by all means they might have a position. But god forbid you want to sail for them… and take their precious Mariner jobs.

Sound familiar? We aren’t the only ones that try to protect our mariners jobs. We just use laws instead of labor unions to do it.


but not on an equal footing to compete with US build vessels…the owners should have to pay a steep import tariff or license fee maybe not 100% of the difference to building in the US but some number to give an incentive to build a ship in the US lest we become Great Britain with absolutely ZERO merchant shipbuilding industry when once it was the world’s most vibrant.


Well since you’re so pro-free market then you will of course support the importing of STCW qualified mariners to come take your job at half or less of your pay right? No? Well what’s the difference? Your job needs to be protected but shipyard worker’s jobs don’t? Where exactly is your standard for whose jobs deserve protections and whose don’t?


At least somebody is optimistic and making money in the Jones Act market:
Rhe share holders are smiling in tune with the sun and 30C weather in Oslo these days.


Have you spent any time in a hospital lately? It seems some of that has already taken place . . .

  1. I am smiling because I am working a job that you can’t do because you’re foreign, and guess what, they pay me a good wage to do that - that is all possible from the Jones Act. So really we are all arguing to strengthen it, but MY job and all inland jobs (damn near 30,000 of them) are very well protected from the Jones Act and from assholes like you working them.

  2. the are alot of shareholders, especially American shareholders smiling these days, where 1/4 of the millionaires in the world currently reside.
    Check the stock market and never confuse brains with a bull market


As a matter of fact, I recently had a test in a big Seattle hospital. It was like the United Nations in there, but I’m sure that they are all on American wage scales, not cheap temps the way Post-Jones-Act mariners would be.

I recently had some dental work in Tijuana. It was very prompt, friendly, high tech, and high quality. It was super cheap too.


I can do jobs that you cannot because I’m NOT American. (Remember; outside of USA YOU are the “foreigner”)
Even if the Jones Act was repealed and replaced with a Cabotage Law more in tune with what is normal, your inland jobs will be secured. It is what is external to “Cabotage” in the Jones Act that makes it difficult for Americans to work internationally. (That and your complicated licensing regime, with any number of licenses that is outside the STCW norms)

As for “assholes” like me working in USA; I have had several offers for jobs and assignments in USA, but have never had any wish to accept them. During my over 40 years (1974-2016) in the Offshore Oil & Gas industry I have had enough work around the world to keep me busy, thank you very much.

I presume that you are one of them?? Or are you just proud that a larger number of people have got rich by ripping of the working people, like you?

PS> I don’t know which “fake news” source you get your information from, but here is the facts:
USA may have the largest number of millionaires, but is only No. 7 when measured in “per capita”


The definition of a millionaire can differ depending on how assets are held, liquid vs illiquid assets, etc I don’t mind using Bloomberg metrics. Either way, on a bad day the US has 9 million millionaires, almost double your entire population of 5,300,000 proud Norwegians.

Back to OP, I fully support the Jones Act and expanding it. However, people who think there has been a demise of the US Merchant Mariner, should look at the inland industry because it is booming. I do however realize in the past few decades, globablization and international workers doing the same for less has led to fewer ship/ocean going jobs for US Mariners and I don’t like that and I am 100% for what @USMMOfficer is proposing.


As I have said before, the Rivermen are not Mariners, and Mariners are not Rivermen. There are some overlaps and similarities, but they are totally different industries.


That’s an opinion and I respect it, however back to OP, for sake of the Jones Act, they are mariners and are very well protected from foreigners taking their job, unlike sea going US Mariners. Also, their are inland jobs that aren’t rivers so many inland mariners would not refer to themselves as riverman because they work Intracoastal Canal, Houston Ship Channel etc and never venture into rivers except for maybe smaller tributaries.

Either way, I am 100% for strengthening the Jones Act to the part of the industry that is losing jobs to international competition.


You mean being the proud owner of a few of these doesn’t make me a “real” millionaire??:

There is a couple of good reasons why there are more millionaires in US than in Norway:

  1. The difference in population (320 vs 5.3 Mill)
  2. In Norway the difference between people of of upper, middle and lower income classes are much less than in USA. There are some very rich Norwegians, but they are much less likely to be flashing their riches than their American counterparts.

Equality is a much cherished virtue in Norway and the welfare state ensure that nobody is starving, or suffering. (Even if you see some scruffy looking people in Oslo. They mostly sleep rough by choice)


Yes it is true that the Norwegians and others, when they got a good look at the equipment and “rocket scientist” that was operating it, lost their respect for and belief in the superiority of American technology and knowhow in the oil fields.
It didn’t take long before better boats and rigs, based on experience from operating in harze environment in the North Sea was developed.
Ulstein brought out the UT 704s, which became the gold standard for AHTS. Rigs designed by Aker (H4) and CFME in France (Pentagon) became standard, (Although the Pentagon design faded after the Alexander Kielland accident)
Did the “steal” US technology?? Far from it. They learnt from it, improved it and proved that things could be done better and safer.

What happened?? In my opinion the “good ol’boys” that had pioneered the offshore industry and invented much of the equipment and technology had got older and set in their ways.
The American Drilling Contractors got complacent and thought that they had already developed the equipment and technology that was needed to operate anywhere. Nobody would ever do better, so why spend money on new and improved technology?

Why do I think so?? Because I was working in the oil fields in S.E.Asia in the 1970’s, listened to the talking and observed the attitude that prevailed.
I saw the difference when I got my first assignments as a Rig Mover in the North Sea in the early 1980’s. It was a “cultural shock” almost.

Since then I have been watching the changes that has happened and the development of better and better boats, rigs and working procedures, but with less and less Americans around. Is that the fault of the Norwegians, Dutch and others that has taken over as the leaders in the field of developing and operating the vessels, rigs and other vessels engaged in the oil fields worldwide?? I don’t think so.