The Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO, has posted the following news item. It’s available on the MTD website HERE.
The SIU is an affiliate of both the MTD and the American Maritime Partnership.
U.S. MARITIME UNITED IN FACE OF ANOTHER JONES ACT ATTACK
As America’s maritime unions stand united to protect our members aboard ships, on the docks and in the yards while keeping commerce moving during this coronavirus pandemic, Jones Act opponents thought they could sneak yet another attempt to disrupt the 100-year-old law into Congress.
The American Maritime Partnership (AMP), to which several MTD affiliates belong, exposed a letter sent to Capitol Hill leaders from the American Exploration and Production Council seeking legislative action to waive the Jones Act to move petroleum products between U.S. ports. The council claimed in a story printed March 20 in the Maritime Executive that the waiver would help the current economic situation within the oil industry.
Writing for the hundreds of AMP associates — who come from domestic maritime unions, shipping companies, shipyards and suppliers — Chairman Michael Roberts stated, “This is an opportunistic effort by those who want to use foreign ships to advance their own economic interests at the expense of American workers who are doing everything in their power to keep the economy moving.”
Roberts noted that U.S.-flag carriers have enough available capacity to move cargo within the country, so no waiver is needed.
“At a time of American crisis and uncertainty, a waiver to the Jones Act would only open our borders and markets to foreign shipping companies with foreign crews that pose an added threat to the safety and security of our nation’s health,” Roberts added. “A waiver would allow foreign vessels and foreign crews to enter purely domestic commerce, a bad idea in any circumstance but certainly more so during the current coronavirus crisis.”
The Jones Act is the nation’s freight cabotage law. It states cargo moved from one domestic port to another must be carried aboard a U.S.-crewed, U.S.-built, U.S.-flagged and U.S.-owned vessels. More than 90 nations have some sort of cabotage law to deal with cargo movements within their borders and territorial waters.
The MTD continues to fight to protect the Jones Act.