Hurricane Sandy prompts Jones Act waiver

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy's disruption of petroleum shipments and refining has led Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to issue a temporary waiver allowing foreign oil tankers to enter ports in the northeastern United States.

The Jones Act, a federal law enacted as part of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, limits who may carry on coastal shipping between domestic ports.  This so-called cabotage law generally requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents.

Hurricane Sandy's impacts to northeastern energy infrastructure included disruption of oil and gasoline supplies in the area near New York City and New Jersey.  Between reduced supply and concentrated demand, gasoline is reported to be in shortage conditions.  Long lines are reported at gas stations, and demand at some stations has led them to run out of gasoline. 

In an attempt to alleviate the shortage, today Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued a temporary, blanket waiver of the Jones Act.  The waiver is designed to allow foreign-flagged oil tankers, that would otherwise be barred from the U.S. coastwise trade, to ship petroleum products from the Gulf of Mexico to Northeastern ports.  The waiver will remain operative through November 13th.

No comments:

Post a Comment