Just some JA bashing with regards to Conception dive boat fire

The captain required no night watch when at anchor and probably didn’t for years. If someone was awake they would someone be still be alive. Case closed, but that’s only part of the equation.

That boat was a seaway. Built for a 10 year life. Here we are 40 years later. By the way that boat is one of the newer ones in the SoCal charter boat fleet. Most of them were built in the 60s. The business is not worth the cost of building a new one so the fleet just bandaids them to make it through the next season, eventually the whole fleet is where it is now, old and run down and a disaster like this waiting to happen. The boat just like all the others was grandfathered in, if the owners could afford to build a new one they would. Jones act prevents them from doing this.


Let’s not distract from the situation. That is not the problem here. Many companies are able to turn a profit and still acquire newbuild sub-chapter T boats, mine included. Of course it will always be cheaper to keep sailing the boat that was bought decades ago, is no longer financed and you’re able to patch up season after season. Maybe we need better industry incentives to modernize, maintain, and do better then minimum compliance. Whether that’s stricter enforcement, grants, safety initiatives, who knows. We need leadership.

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I don’t remember or know anything in the JA that prohibits a US company buying a foreign built vessel and reflagging it US with US crew and conducting business in the US with it.

Hell, half of ARC’s RORO fleet is old reflagged and recrewed WW boats.

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Well… JA only applies to transportation of cargo from one US port to another. In this case, since it is a passenger vessel, the Passenger Vessel Services Act does require that the vessel be US built.

No foreign vessels shall transport passengers between ports or places in the United States, either directly or by way of a foreign port, under a penalty of $200 [now $762] for each passenger so transported and landed.

As a result, all vessels have engaged in the coastwise trade have been required to be coastwise-qualified (i.e., U.S.-built, owned, and documented). Under the Passenger Vessel Services Act of 1886 (46 USC § 55103), non-coastwise-qualified vessels cannot transport passengers directly between U.S. ports. Generally, a passenger is any person carried on a vessel who is not directly and substantially connected with the operation of such vessel, its navigation, ownership, or business. The precise definition of what constitutes a U.S. port (“coastwise point”) includes artificial islands and similar structures, as well as to mobile oil drilling rigs, drilling platforms, and other devices attached to the seabed of the Outer Continental Shelf for the purpose of resource exploration operations, and the anchored warehouse vessels that supply drilling platforms.[1]

The handful of U.S.-flagged cruise ships in operation are registered in the U.S. to permit cruises between the Hawaiian Islands, or from the continental U.S. to Hawaii.

The Passenger Vessel Services Act, however,

  • does not prohibit foreign-flagged ships departing from and returning to the same U.S. port, provided the ship visits any foreign port;
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The key to this not violating Jones Act is that ARC is international trade rather than coastwise.

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Good to know, thanks.

I get the need to split threads to keep the discussion on track but showing a little restraint on the snarky titles might be best.

That’s just as bullshit a statement when applied to these vessels as it is when applied to the El Faro. Removing the build requirement doesn’t remove the economic incentive to not buy new vessels. The fact is that the industry has so much competition that charter prices barely cover operation costs. The USCG just needs to refuse to issue a COI to any vessel over a certain age (20 years maybe?) and force owners to price in the need to occasionally replace vessels.


These are mom and pop operations. The conception would cost probably 4-5 million dollars to replace new. The profit making potential of the business probably makes it worth a million or so dollars. The conception could probably be built in Ensenada for 1-1.5 million.

If all the operators have roughly the same boat building expense then they would all equally increase their charter rates to compensate.

Why is there a new thread? Is having a rational discussion about something that is unpopular not allowed

Lol that sounds great

No it just makes sense that if you want to have that discussion, let’s have it here. The other thread is about the actual incident.

There are many discussions about the JA on here, that wasn’t one of them. A captain deciding not to follow the law requiring a watchman was not a result of the JA. Not to mention the suggestion that that had anything to do with replacement or upgrade of the vessels is ridiculous.

The owner designed two of the vessels themselves and had them build in the 80’s. These aren’t tankers or cargo ships, they’re 75’ boats, there are plenty of competitive small boat builders in the US. $5M is also a crazy high estimate. You can buy a 60ft Hinkley motoryacht built in Maine for less than that.


Wouldn’t a 12 week old boat with no night watch burn up just the same?

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Depends on how it’s designed and constructed. More directly it depends if the regulations for designe and construction had changed between 1981 and 12 weeks before the incident

I can’t think of a more combustible hull construction method than fiberglass over plywood. Steel hulls and fire resistant materials used for furnishings would make a difference

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They go up light a lighter knot.

I’m confused. So where does a cruise ship fit in. Cruise ships visit all kinds of US ports on the came cruise and are foreign flagged

Foreign-flagged ships only need to follow PVSA rules if the itinerary begins and ends at a US port. Cruises that begin or end in another country don’t have to abide by these regulations. This is because those itineraries aren’t essentially transporting passengers from one US port to another. They can visit more than one US port, as long as they begin or end in another country.

However, there are basically just two rules that cruise lines operating foreign-flagged ships in US waters need to follow.

  1. A cruise itinerary must include a stop at a foreign port if it visits another US port during the voyage
    Any foreign-flagged cruise itinerary that begins and ends in the US and visits more than one US port needs to visit a foreign port during the voyage. Since “cruises to nowhere” on foreign-registered ships were outlawed in 2016, this includes all cruises that begin and end in the US!

This is why Alaska cruises from Seattle make a short stop at Victoria, BC, and cruises between California ports and Hawai’i make a stop at Ensenada, Mexico.

  1. A cruise itinerary must include a stop at a distant foreign port if it embarks at one US port and disembarks at a different US port
    Closed-loop cruises, or itineraries that begin and end at the same port, can stop at any foreign port to satisfy the PVSA. But itineraries that begin in one US port and end in another, like a Panama Canal full transit from coast-to-coast, are required to make a stop at a distant cruise port.

This excludes any ports located in North America, with a few exceptions. So, ports in Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, Central American countries, and most West Indies islands are not distant foreign ports.