Exempting Puerto Rico from Jones Act Remote
The humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria gave an opening to critics of the Jones Act to blame the law for hindering the relief and the recovery efforts on the island. It led to the introduction of two bills in Congress that would either exempt or provide a moratorium of the Jones Act in Puerto Rico.
Two maritime attorneys at the well-respected law firm of Blank Rome LLP, Washington, DC, see little chance of either bill making headway in Congress. In discussing the Jones Act at the NAMEPA Annual Conference & Awards Dinner yesterday onboard the Hornblower Infinity in New York, Jeanne Grasso, Partner, and Joan Bondareff, of Counsel, both of maritime law firm Blank Rome LLP, said "We suspect that the Jones Act waivers during the hurricanes may have been partly politically motivated. But once DoD requests them, they have to be issued."
Added Grasso, “I really don’t think we are going to see any changes” in regards to the Jones Act.
A waiver to the Jones Act can only be issued in the interests of national security.
Bondareff also responded to a question from the audience regarding as to whether the Jones Act was blocking offshore wind development in the U.S. “The Jones Act is not a barrier to offshore wind development,” said Bondareff. She pointed out that there is strong interest in offshore wind development, but that there was currently only one offshore wind farm in operation, Block Island Wind. When there is more development in the offshore wind market, there will be more Jones Act wind farm vessels available, said Bondareff.
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"Exempting Puerto Rico from Jones Act Remote," was published in Marine Log on October 27, 2017.