News:Americas

US Jones Act waiver extended after Hurricane Irma

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.

Cargoes of refined oil products can now be transported on non Jones Act tonnage, through to a 22 September date of loading. The waiver applies to cargo destined for the southeastern parts of the United States. 

Gasoline supplies in Florida, hard hit by Hurricane Irma, are still severely disrupted, as residents return, and responders and repair crews try to ameliorate the damage done by the storm. In normal times, movements of refined products - typically from Texas and Louisiana into the southeastern areas, or upcoast to mid-Atlantic and Northeast destinations - must be moved on Jones Act qualified ships, built in the US, crewed by US citizens and owned by US citizen entities.

After the two storms, the "qualified" fleet of tankers and barges was out of position to promptly move cargoes. Initially, after Hurricane Harvey, the Texas refineries suffered outages and vessels could only wait offshore until loadings resumed. A week later, following the Labor Day holiday, with Hurricane Irma approaching through the Caribbean, vessels delayed their ballast voyages along the Atlantic, taking shelter offshore in cargo receiving areas, waiting for a time of safe passage.

The illustration here shows a Malta flag tanker discharging at Tampa, West Coast Florida, with an indication that it had loaded in the Houston area.

Posted 14 September 2017

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Barry Parker

New York correspondent, Seatrade Maritime

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