Sending oil to NYC on foreign flag vessels when there were US flagged hulls available

This came up in another thread. I was curious about it myself. Anybody know the facts on this? If there were US vessels available who decided that there wasn’t and if there wasn’t why not?

The (s)elected elite decided to do it either to put money in their pocket directly or help a rich friend. I think Big Sis Napolitano had the power to waive Jones Act unilaterally since this is a declared federal disaster.

Found this on the web regarding the waver:

The Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration canvassed shipping executives in the days after Hurricane Sandy and determined that no US-flagged vessels were available to replenish Northeast gasoline supplies with shipments from the Gulf of Mexico, according to details of the Jones Act waiver.

Overseas Shipholding Group Vice President Eric Smith said the petroleum supply picture does not necessarily warrant a Jones Act waiver.

“The terminals are shut down and the storage tanks are completely filled with gasoline,” he said in an interview. “It’s more an issue of distribution from existing facilities than the supply to the facilities.”

Smith said US tonnage exists to respond to post-storm demands, but the Obama administration likely saw the blanket waiver as an easy way to demonstrate its dedication to storm relief.

“We recognize that we’re five days away from a presidential election; there’s people in the Northeast that are severely affected by this hurricane that just want to see some sort of action,” Smith said. “So as a result of that, whatever the administration feels they need to do, we as an industry are fully supportive of that.”

Some ships could be diverted from Latin America to New York Harbor, an official with midstream service provider Buckeye Partners said during a webcast of the company’s third-quarter earnings call Friday.

“I think it’s usually a six- or eight-day sail time from the Gulf Coast up” to the East Coast, said Jerry Ashcroft, president of Buckeye Services. “There are some arbitrage opportunities there that we think people will take advantage of.”

The waiver could present shipping opportunities for Buckeye’s Linden terminal and BORCO crude oil and refined products storage terminal, located in the Bahamas, he said.