Changes proposed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency to a federal law that governs access to U.S. ports by foreign-flag vessels for maritime commerce, could significantly reduce offshore U.S. oil and gas construction, says an American Petroleum Institute report released April 4. Others say the alterations also could add to cost and schedule impacts in the developing U.S. offshore wind market.
Under the 1920 Jones Act, enacted to protect U.S shipbuilding, transport of “merchandise” between U.S. ports is allowed by only qualified U.S. flagships built domestically and crewed by U.S. citizens. Sites on the outer continental shelf were included under a later law. But decades of exceptions to the law have allowed non-U.S. construction vessels to pick up equipment, such as subsea assemblies, at an American port and install them within U.S. territorial waters.