Philip Grill, Maritime Cabotage Task Force Chairman, comments on temporary Jones Act waiver

“The domestic maritime industry supports President Bush’s effort to respond quickly and effectively to this terrible tragedy and is prepared to assist in any way it can. America’s domestic fleet, which numbers tens of thousands of vessels manned by US citizen mariners, is by far the largest and most diverse in the world, and vessels are immediately available to assist with the rescue, relief, and reconstruction efforts.

President Bush announced a temporary waiver of the long-standing requirement that American vessels with American crews be used to transport certain petroleum products domestically. The President said that such a waiver, which would be limited in scope and time, was necessary because of downed pipelines in the Gulf region. The industry normally opposes coastwise waivers because of the robust capacity of the domestic fleet. In this case, though, we respect the President’s decision in light of the unusual and temporary circumstance caused by the downed pipelines and the dimensions of human tragedy. Those pipelines are already coming back on line, and the industry is confident that it will have ample capacity to carry all future domestic cargoes, petroleum or otherwise.”

The Jones Act requires that all cargo and passengers moving between points in the United States be transported on American vessels.