Modify Jones Act/Allow Foreign Built Ships

A hypothetical question:

Would you favor a modification of the Jones Act to allow the use of foreign built ships and vessels in the US Domestic trades as long as all other aspects of the Jones Act (US Owned, US Flagged, US Crewed) remained unchanged?

If that were to happen there would be NO us shipyards left.

Once you start modifying one part of the act it becomes easier for the rest to be modified.

And you have to think of it as we are all in this together for that reason. The US sailor has little representation on the hill but the ship builders and boat companies do have the money to get and keep the ears of congress.

We just have to keep an eye on the boat companies so they don’t try and get rid of us.

[QUOTE=SaltySailor;57690]A hypothetical question:

Would you favor a modification of the Jones Act to allow the use of foreign built ships and vessels in the US Domestic trades as long as all other aspects of the Jones Act (US Owned, US Flagged, US Crewed) remained unchanged?[/QUOTE]

It happens now and has for a long time for non-domestic.

I support a modfification to the act to permit a foreign built vessel to be used in coastwise trade provided that the owner posts a bond to replace the ship with an American built one within a set period of time. No replacement, then forfeit the bond as penalty of breach of contract and lose the coastwise trade endorsement on the vessel’s document. That would keep the fly by nights companies out since they couldn’t get bonded and will protect the yards in the long run because they should want to see more services like the Marine Highway Initiative be successful and that means starting it with foreign built ships to give it a chance.

The problem is that MarAd would have to be the ones to implement and enforce this and we know how good they are at managing any program…they’ll fuck it up and give the store away in the process.

[QUOTE=Jeffrox;57707]It happens now and has for a long time for non-domestic.[/QUOTE]

Well, duh … if it is “non-domestic” it isn’t Jones Act trade and isn’t part of the conversation then is it?

American Feeder Lines is trying to get an exemption right now so they can run foreign built, but otherwise Jones Act compliant vessels in the coastal trades and replace them with US built ships as they are delivered…

That’s funny, since they currently have foreign crews running between Portland and Boston. Guess time will tell

[QUOTE=cappy208;57756]That’s funny, since they currently have foreign crews running between Portland and Boston. Guess time will tell[/QUOTE]

What is so funny and what is time going to tell?

If you are trying to make people think that the ship is transporting cargo between American ports you will need to do better than that. Many foreign flag ships with (gasp) foreign crews make port calls at two or more American ports. That doesn’t mean they are loading cargo in one US port and discharging it in another. It just means that the ship makes a few stops either to pick up American cargo or discharge cargo loaded in a foreign port, that is the way of the shipping world and there is no plot to undermine the U.S. merchant marine.

AFL is a group of Americans trying to figure out how to put American ships and sailors to work hauling American cargo between American ports. They needed a way to put the right kind of ship in the right market to get it started. Wish them luck.

It’s funny because if they really wanted to do this, examples speak louder that rhetoric. They run from Halifax to Portland to Boston. If they really wanted to run with American crews… Why not now? Set the example instead of saying ’ well, what we want to do’. Do it now to create support. They are playing both ends against the middle.

Maersk sealand did this to get around the manning and foreign bottoms of the Jones act. BUT they did agree, and are following through by hiring US crew for about half their fleet. Example shown. Proven. And verifiable.

My point of view is from a jaded view of corporate. Look at the GOM. How many times have we heard that ’ there aren’t enough US seaman’ to do the job, thus justifying the importation of foreign support and drill rigs working within our EEZ. Just because 1. Some company ‘says so’. Abd 2 because there is (conveniently) no oversight to actually check IF there is not enough US mariners to fill the berths. Which both of these play hand in hand as to why there isn’t enough US flag equipment to do the work, because the companies have convinced the govt that there aren’t enough US workers to do the job they don’t make (keep) enough equipment to do the job. A self fulfilling prophesy. Trust but verify. So far that hasn’t / isn’t happening.

I’m all for this modification. I hate to say it but our shipyards cannot compete at all what so ever with foreign yards. Take a look at all of these drillships and rigs being built in asia. Nothing is really built in the united states with the exception of naval vessels and vessels for companies that are required to be jones act compliant…with this comes tax breaks and what not. Just not worth it anymore especially when foreign yards are putting out a better product.

[QUOTE=cappy208;57762]It’s funny because …[/QUOTE]

Your argument has nothing to do with the reality of what AFL is doing.

Some research into AFL operations and how they are developing that market might be worth your while. If you have time to post misinformed rants that have no connection to the topic you should be able to find out what is really going on and what benefits have already accrued to the ports being served. If you really care about the American merchant mariner’s future, wish AFL well instead of trashing their efforts.

The connection to the topic is like my disgust for government (both parties) I HATE to use or hide behind the wotds: coulda, woulda, shoulda.

You talk about AFL as if they are something new. They aren’t. If you work for them shoreside, then for (y)our sake it works.

If you see that AFL HAS hired US crew, then I would be in support. That would have shown they have true sincere plans to do this. But. 5 years hence, they will be singing the ‘not enough US crew, so let us use foreigners’ cry. Coulda woulda shoulda. If you ‘give’ them a caveat or an ‘out’ rest assured they will use it.

Regarding the thought that there isn’t capacity to build US, or that US bottoms aren’t as good; I think it would be hard to find a better example of mis directed ideas about shipbuilding. Of course if our shipyards have no work they will put out crap. So, since our shipyards put out crap, go foreign! Wrong. US shipyards, and hold them to QC standards. We do have the knowhow, and the expertise. We just have to have corporate spend the money to buy it.

Don’t tell us. Show us. Don’t say… I’m gonna do it. DO it! Don’t make excuse, make it happen. As far as changing the Jones Act, hold their feet to the fire, see what they do, THEN (maybe) change the law. But, I haven’t seen any thing concrete to open pandoras box… Yet

Heard of Solyndra?

Heavy govt lobbying.
Preferential govt treatment.
HUGE govt guarantees.
Huge govt loans/grants.

What have we got for the $$$?

Now you want to ‘take the word’ of a new startup who are using foreign crews!??

Every time we try this (Ala NCL Hawaii) it gets killed.

We may as well have China come in and manage our country!

There isn’t much point in “discussing” an issue when the other side appears to get all his “points” from the likes of such well respected martime pundits like Rush Limbo and his ilk.

If you would care to expand on the NCL comments though …

[QUOTE=SaltySailor;57690]A hypothetical question:

Would you favor a modification of the Jones Act to allow the use of foreign built ships and vessels in the US Domestic trades as long as all other aspects of the Jones Act (US Owned, US Flagged, US Crewed) remained unchanged?[/QUOTE]

[B]Senate Committee Approves Provision to Improve Jones Act Waiver Process… from [U]Maritime Executive[/U][/B] Nov 10, 2011

[QUOTE=cappy208;57779]Heard of Solyndra?..[/QUOTE]

[B]Ahhhh yeah,… and here’s a [U]shocker[/U]…[/B]

(sorry about the 15 sec. commercial)

[QUOTE=Steamer;57784] If you would care to expand on the NCL comments though … [/QUOTE]

Sorry, my bad. It was the Pride of America, renamed into three foreign flag cruise ships. exactly how long were they US crewed? what did that accomplish? How much did MARAD benefit from ‘giving’ the first ship, and supporting two more to enter into the domestic trade?
NCL promised the world. They ‘got’ a subsidized, partially US built cruiseship, Got the OK to put a total of three in the US trade then packed up and left. GREAT. How many more examples of this gut and run do you need to see to ascertain it doesn’t work. But, maybe AFL will succeed. I doubt it. It is funny, because in all other developed maritime countries they all have a certain amount and type of ‘Jones Act’ type protection. But here, we are castigated for it. Go figure.

Steamer. What the heck does Limbo have to do with this conversation? This isn’t right or left. It is about what is good for our industry.

Pride of America is American crewed, American flagged, (mostly) American built and does nothing but runs between American ports. There is no waiver - it is Jones Act compliant.

The other non-Jones Act compliant ships are no longer in American service and have not been for some years.

American Classic Voyages, the original owner and builder of the hull that is now Pride of America, went belly up after bad business plays left them in a situation of facing future competition from NCL and their plans to run weekly Hawaii/Kiribati (non-Jones Act/foreign) runs and the loss of income of 9/11.

The two hulls they were building were stopped. At least one (both?) was sold to NCL as the hulls were going to waste.

NCL now keeps a Jones Act ship in trade, as opposed to the Kiribati scam they were running.

(Not sure what happened to the other hull. Maybe someone can shine some light on that?)

Being a very strong supporter and proponent of jobs for Americans I believe that the US build requirement for coastwise trade must be preserved and there is no good reason that says it has to go. All of the OMSA companies build their vessels in the US for their GoM businesses and are very profitable and successful at it (hell, look at HOS ordering 18 new 300’ OSV’s for $720M…that’s $40M per boat!) There is also no good reason that a US shipyard can’t build a good merchant ship for a figure that will allow a company to make money in the domestic trades (look at Halter building the ro/ro’s for Pasha Hawaii Transportation). A US built ship will always cost more than a Korean or Chinese built one yet the difference is not the deal killer here.

The biggest problems are that help prevent new US built merchant ships being constructed are:

  1. the USCG doesn’t demand that ships over 25 years be removed from the US flag.
  2. the IRS doesn’t allow accelerated depreciation for new merchant vessels built in the US.
  3. the Title XI loan guarantee program has been raped over the years which belongs right at the feet of MarAd.
  4. the prohibition to use foreign built vessels in new start up domestic services.

Any two of these factors being turned around would overnight change the picture and not one is a direct subsidy to private industry.

Every business opportunity to start some form of new service in the coastwise trade runs up against the hurdle of financing. Who on earth will front money to build a brand new vessel for a start up business venture witgh no form of guarantee? Maybe in Norway but no way in hell in the US! Since there are no existing US hulls, the only second hand vessels available are foreign built but you’re prohibited from using those so vis no new service is started which is the AFL dilemna happening right now. The answer to me is what I posted earlier that a company like AFL posting a bond giving them 5 years to operate a number of foreign built ships in the coastwise trade provided that they have a contract signed with a US yard to build a ship to replace each of those they receive waivers for. Even if the foreign built ships keep their coastwise trade endorsements after the US built ships enter service it still means jobs for US citizens and who the hell can argue with that?