Fortuño's Energy Plan for Puerto Rico
I thought the following might be of interest to other forum participants:
"...If his [Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño] plan to boost the island's competitiveness by switching electricity generation from oil to natural gas is to succeed, he's going to need relief from the pernicious 1920 Jones Act. It prohibits any ship not made in the U.S. from carrying cargo between U.S. ports. There are no liquefied-natural-gas (LNG) tankers made in the U.S. Unless Puerto Rico gets a Jones Act exemption, it cannot take advantage of the U.S. natural gas bonanza to make itself more competitive.
The Jones Act is good if you are a union shipbuilder who doesn't like competition, or a member of Congress who takes political contributions from the maritime lobby. But it's bad if you are a low-income Puerto Rican who needs a job. And there are plenty of those..."
"...The Jones Act...federal legislation...imposes four primary requirements on vessels carrying goods between U.S. ports; specifically, the vessels must be:
owned by U.S. companies that are controlled by U.S. citizens with at least 75 percent U.S. percent ownership;
at least 75 percent crewed by U.S. citizens;
built (or rebuilt) in the United States; and
registered in the United States.
These requirements apply to all trade between ports in the U.S. mainland, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands..."
Wow, inaccuracy has reached a new height. Read this first (in its entirety):
TITLE 46, APPENDIX App. > CHAPTER 24
CHAPTER 24—MERCHANT MARINE ACT, 1920
1) there are no less than 10 US Built LARGE LNG Carriers- three currently running in the US
2) the "cabotage" provision of this act was enacted and legislated to PROTECT the US Trade Routes from Foreign Flag manipulation
3) there are other portions of the act which specifically protect the laws US Flag and some Foreign Flag Seamen
4) the USVI is exempted from the Jones Act
Here's some of the support network:
"The Jones Act has been supported politically by Presidents Obama, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter and Ford for starters, all the way back to Woodrow Wilson who originally signed it into law in 1920. It is supported by American military leaders, most recently in a statement by Lt. Gen. Roger Thompson, deputy commander in chief, U.S. Transportation Command. There also are 239 co-sponsors of a pro-Jones Act Resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives."
A refinery outside of the Jones Act (USVI) was instrumental in the reason why there are less than 40 US Flag Tankers in the US Flag Trade, by their widespread use of Foreign Flag- US Owned and chartered vessels to tranport a significant amount of US Oil...
Our nation is supported by its Merchant Fleet in time of National Emergency. How do you think we support our military?
There were political donors and union activists in 1920? Why did 90% of the US Flag Merchant Marine and ALL of the military support this act at its inception? One reason was the need for a coherent shipbuilding program after WW1 which showed that we were woefully inadequate in supplying our military when it deployed overseas. Check you facts and figures....
Maybe I should have restated. The reason why "The Jones Act has been supported politically by Presidents Obama, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter and Ford for starters" is mainly due to lobbyist pressure. I agree it does support our national security, but not as much now as it once did.
Oh, and by the way, I am a third generation Merchant Mariner- whose family served in the USMM in every conflict from 1928 till today. I am currently Chief Engineer aboard one of the fastest cargo ships ever built- and yes it is US Flag.
I, like my Dad, Uncles and other family members have been stalwart supporters of the Jones Act since its last amendment in the late 1920's. As with any law, there are pros and cons to every piece of legislation.
In the 1920's seamen had to endure horrid conditions aboard ship- with no work rules, 60+ hour work weeks and being abused by the ship owners. This changed slowly throughout the 1930's and 1940's- we were some of the last workers in US History to get health insurance and pension benefits.
I urge you- to research BOTH sides of this issue- including the large utilization of foreign flag cruiseships- their safety record, the recent "crew malfunctions" during the recent accident aboard the Concordia- when mass panic set in and people died.... The NTSB stated years ago that something like this would occur- but as usual, we pay no mind.
SHIP US GOODS ABOARD US FLAG SHIPS!
CHIEF - it always seems we say the same thing a little different way. I would prefer anything US since it is usually superior. My only point was that the politicians do not dig into the technical logistics (as they should) but sway to political lobbyist pressures. In this case, it has had an indirect benefit of keeping people safe on the high seas. As I too am a sailor, but not a MMer.