Support for the Jones Act

I have been working on ships for almost 19 years and hold a USCG ETO (electro technical officer) endorsement. Most of my career has been spent on pipeLay and heavy lift type vessels.

Since 2008, I have noticed considerable difficulties for U.S. workers to find jobs in the Gulf of Mexico even though I constantly see job ads on LinkedIn. But most requests are for crew already holding B-1 OCS visas (granted to non-U.S. citizens that work on foreign-owned or -operated vessels located in the Outer Continental Shelf). There seems to be no limit to how many jobs in the offshore construction industry that are being lost, because they are being awarded to foreign companies with almost entirely foreign crews because it is cheaper.  

Almost every single job in the U.S. — doctors, lawyers, bus drivers, police officers, airplane pilots, school teachers, etc. — could be done cheaper by bringing in outsourced labor from other countries. But where do we draw the line and say enough is enough? Many other countries I have worked in require that a high percentage of the positions are filled by their own citizens, for example, in Malaysia, Brazil, Australia, Indonesia and China.

Thank you for giving me a chance to express my thoughts and opinion. I support the Jones Act and hope that it can be strengthened to bring back the offshore jobs to U.S. mariners.

Shane Clark is a Milton, Fla.-based electro technical officer. An ETO is a licensed member of the engine department who monitors all onboard electronic and electrical equipment.

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Workboat Staff

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Crews today think like the rest of the land lubbers. They think the government will protect them and that’s a joke. Brainwashed people that have no sense of self motivation or the old USA drive and work knowledge are followers and not self motivated to stand up for the Jones Act because they believe the less the effort for getting ahead the better. They don’t realize that once the foreigners take over they have no more work. Seamanship is no longer a pride it’s for someone else.

  2. Avatar

    I am a former seaman, started in the Alaska crab fishery in 1991 and retired after being laid off (“furloughed”) from my Master post in 2016 when my vessel was stacked down in GOM. Before the furlough I was working on my Master Unlimited license. I retrained and work in IT now and just after my birthday this year my license will expire. I will not renew. After a long, dangerous career I decided I didn’t trust the industry to fight for the Jones Act and my good living would disappear later in life when I needed it most. THAT is how important I think the Jones Act protections are. Without them I don’t think there in much of a future for US mariners. All the training, schooling, and most importantly all the experiences I’ve had during my 20+ year career will now benefit nobody as I overwrite it with new different experiences. I absolutely believe in a diverse workforce but when your preferred hiring practice excludes your own countrymen who is that actually benefiting? Lower or no wages doesn’t do much for the local economy or it’s residents. Remember who made American shipping strong and invest in them. When everything else goes to hell your US mariners will be here for you…stand behind them.

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