More reaction to Deepwater Horizon report (1/13)

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The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling earlier this week released its final report. The report and other related information may be accessed on the commission’s web site:


Consistent with what the U.S.-flag maritime industry said all along, the report found that the Jones Act was a non-issue in the cleanup operations. Here is the key excerpt from the report, which starts on page 142 and continues onto page 143:


“Foreign companies and countries also offered assistance in the form of response equipment and vessels. The Coast Guard and National Incident Command accepted some of these offers and rejected others. News reports and politicians alleged that the federal government turned away foreign offers of assistance because of the Jones Act, a law preventing foreign vessels from participating in trade between U.S. ports. While decisionmakers did decline to purchase some foreign equipment for operational reasons—for example, Dutch vessels that would have taken weeks to outfit and sail to the region, and a Taiwanese super-skimmer that was expensive and highly inefficient in the Gulf—they did not reject foreign ships because of Jones Act restrictions. These restrictions did not even come into play for the vast majority of vessels operating at the wellhead, because the Act does not block foreign vessels from loading and then unloading oil more than three miles off the coast. When the Act did apply, the National Incident Commander appears to have granted waivers and exemptions when requested.


“In the end, the response technology that created the most controversy was not a mechanical tool like a skimmer or oil-water separator, but a chemical one.”


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