Foreign Flag Vessels in GOM


I wish the Mariners in the Gulf of Mexico had an agency that would lobby for them in Congress. Unfortunately OMSA and others are not pro-mariner unless it is their own interest and any time we try to get an association together to lobby, it gets branded as a union. This is a HUGE issue for Mariners and with 69,000 votes just in licensed personnel, let alone related industries, we should pressure Congress to smack CBP around a little. We don’t money and lobbyists but we have votes. Additionally, I refuse to get in bed with organizations that lobby against or ignore us when we need help but champion us when it is in their best interest.

In the meantime I will try and help Mariners behind the scenes for free since in my eyes that is my duty as a former afloat Coastie, work with my contacts inside the USCG, and educate my Congresspeople to get needed changes made.


It is not only in the GoM there is competition between local and foreign flag vessels and protectionism in US-flag favour.
Greenland would like to protect their national interests from unfair competition as well, but that butts up against US preferensial cargo rules:

Why should not Denmark, who control Greenland, reserve all shipping to from Thule Airbase for vessels under Greenland ownership? (OK, it would be against international shipping and trading rules)

Is it fair to say that “big brother” is bullying the weak and meek and may not even understand it?

PS> This is NOT cargo from US ports to Thule, but from Fredericia, Denmark:


Ok Australians pay tax if they live in Australia and work offshore.
Americans pay tax no matter what forever, anywhere.
EU residents pay if working in the North Sea
Any other seaman pay tax if working internationally or just overseas?
And yes employing Americans is generally too hard as the US gov wants to poke its nose into your business if they suspect your American employee is not playing by the rules.


EVERYBODY pay taxes somewhere, even if you are a seaman. If not income tax, then VAT or whatever it is called in different countries. (GST in Singapore)
The exception is only the rich, who somehow always seams to have some losses the can write off against taxes.

I know that in Singapore seamen are tax free as long as they are not in country more than 182 days/year, but so is all other citizens and PRs. (Unless you have other income derived from within Singapore, that is)

Seamen who are residents in Norway have reduced tax relative to those working in country, but they still receive the benefits that becomes to all tax payers in full.

I believe non-residents working on NIS-registered ships are tax free, but if working on NOR-registered ships, incl. in foreign trade, even non-resident foreigners pay tax to Norway and receive Norwegian benefits. (Anybody know differently?)

I know that many Norwegian seamen living abroad and sailing on NIS, or foreign flag ships, still pay into the social welfare and pension system (Folketrygden) to ensure that they enjoy the benefits that comes with Norwegian citizenship.


Malaysian seamen are tax free even when working on Malaysian vessels ( or where when I worked for a Malaysian company 20 years ago)
Filipinos get the choice to declare ( when leaving home) or not when working foreign
All foreign derived income is tax exempt in Singapore regardless of the stay.


Yes foreign derived income is tax exempt, but if you are a Singaporean, or a Singapore RP serving on a Singapore flag vessel and paid in Singapore the 182 days/year rule applies. (Or at least it used to do)

But, as I said, you can not escape paying taxes in some form or another, that is for certain.
In Singapore you pay GST, duty on imported items and ERP on the roads etc.

Even if you live and work in Brunei, with no income tax and no GST, you are bound to travel somewhere where there are. Like across the boarder to Malaysia to buy booze.
OK, so you can go by ferry to Labuan, where it is duty free. (But then, regard the ferry fare as a form of tax)

We are getting really “local” here now.:wink:


What I am getting at is the cost of the crew is not a level playing field.
If one crew member has to paying tax versus one that doesnt the later can be happy and so can the boss with a 30-40 % less crew cost


What about this twist; foreign sub-sea company with long-term charter for Jones Act compliant MPSV for work in GoM:

DOF Subsea has more than enough vessels in their own fleet to fill their need, yet they have been chartering this vessel from 2013 and now extend the contract until the end 2018.

That should be acceptable to all here, or is it wrong for a foreign company to even be operating in the GoM??


THIS!!! Rep Jim Oberstar tried on several occasions to introduce a bill to make seamans wages tax free if they worked 180 days or more, obviously it never made it out of committee. Many countries do not tax their sailors pay and some (most?) require you to work 180 days, India, Russia, and the U.K. are examples.


That’s good news…

Now if they could remove this one from the market that would be even better news.


Not likely, what would they be able to replace it with??

BTW; DOF Subsea is going on Oslo Stock Exchange so they can charter more of those expensive US-flag boats:

PS> Looks familiar. What is the name of that one??


[quote=“ombugge, post:169, topic:15195, full:true”]
What about this twist; foreign sub-sea company with long-term charter for Jones Act compliant MPSV for work in GoM[/quote]

this is wonderful news and I applaud DOF for taking this step…perhaps they found that they actually are able to save money going with a US vessel which requires no waivers at all to work

again, I would not be surprised if they have discovered lower overall operating costs to use a US vessel with full rights to do all the work required of it. I know of other foreign companies like SONSUB Saipem which have chartered US subsea vessels from Otto Candies in the past and they were very happy with the rate they were offered. Just because a vessel happens to be American does not necessarily mean it is vastly more costly to use.

while I would rather all the players be US companies I know that the industry has many non US players so as long as they pay taxes to the US treasury on income earned in the USA then I say let them operate in our waters however they need to play by ALL the rules and regulations if they are and end this perpetual circumvention of them with all the myriad loopholes in the law.


M/V Carpetbagger


Can you be serious for once??? SKANDI What???
Just curios, because I think this is a vessel I surveyed in Singapore a couple of years ago. (But there may be sister ships)



Mad paint skillz :bananadance:

It’s Skandi Achiever. It took me literally 1 minute on Marine Traffic.


Thanks. I actually found out that it could not be the Skandi Singapore, since she is working off NW Australia.


Former Transocean employee here: Up until the oil field slump really got going, the USCG issued exemptions on a fairly frequent basis for positions like subsea engineers and DPO’s. It was up to Transocean to “prove” that they couldn’t find enough US citizens of that expertise to fill the positions they needed. But the USCG, even before the price of oil started to plunge, started to get a lot more strict in issuing those exemptions. It got harder and harder for TOI to get them BUT somehow or other TOI managed to convince the USCG (and I don’t think that TOI was the only one who did) that to just kick all expats out of the GoM would create a problematic, unsafe shortage of skilled labor (again, mainly subsea engineers and DPO’s). The USCG gradually started denying exemptions for expats over maybe the last three years? During our USCG COC inspections there was a lot of grumbling on the part of the USCG inspectors that we really shouldn’t have this many exemptions, and, gradually, the number that were allowed for TOI were continuously diminished. Even back in 2011 when things were cooking in the GoM. So, while I wished that the USCG wouldn’t have issued the amount of exemptions that they had, they were, actually, between a rock and a hard place for a while (with the skilled labor shortage during the boom). I"m not sure right now how it all stands, but, at least for the drilling contractors, they aren’t issuing any exemptions except for maybe for catering crews.


Not only in GoM that there are resistance against foreign vessels and workers:


You get what you deserve…