That peskiest of cabotage regimes, the almost 100-year-old ‘Jones Act’, US Federal legislation which reserves commerce along US coasts, and between the mainland, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Alaska for US built, owned and crewed vessels, has again come into the spotlight.

The toxic political climate in the States has impacted matters related to shipbuilding, the Jones Act and other maritime matters.

The downturn in the offshore services market has driven a combination of two US domiciled players, with Tidewater acquiring GulfMark Offshore in a shares for shares (all-stock) deal, as has been recently reported here.

At a cocktail party full of designers of coastal abodes and art types, I met a decorator from Jacksonville, Florida, when I explained that I was in the maritime business, she immediately asked me, “What do you think about that ship - the one that sank in a hurricane? It had sailed from Jacksonville, you know.” The vessel, of course, was the El Faro, the 1975- built steam-powered ro-ro/ container carrier which met its tragic end in October 2015, resulting in the deaths of all 33 men and women aboard. 

In the face of two major hurricanes, the US Department of Homeland Security has now extended its previous Jones Act waiver (due to expire 14 September) for another week.

As Hurricane Irma barrels into the Florida coast the logistics of fuel distribution in the aftermath of the storm are already in the spotlight with a Jones Act waiver. 

The influence of US oil output, thought by energy analysts to be loosening the influence of other oil producers, continues to be felt.

The shift to LNG as a major part of the fuel mix is coming quicker than people think according to Peter Keller, chairman and evp of SEA/LNG and Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE).

Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) US unit Keppel AmFELS has won a contract for two LNG-fuelled container vessels from US domestic line Pasha Hawaii.

Observers of the US maritime scene are set to become familiar with a new acronym - JADE - a newly established office within the New Orleans field office of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) tasked with enforcement of the Jones Act.

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