I enjoyed Pam Glass’ short Inland Insider column about the Jones Act boost in the February issue of WorkBoat. I’m glad to see it being strengthened instead of being watered down.
I was fortunate to be a Coast Guard senior marine inspector during the time of security rules coming in and the era of working hard to clean up the foreign and domestic vessel fleet. I saw firsthand when companies we might call “shady” try to cut corners and use the cheapest means available to conduct business. That of course is what the Jones Act protects.
Over the years I saw the good effects from removing some very bad vessels and companies from visiting U.S. waters by enforcing standards. Also were those trying to skirt the pollution laws. We have got to be good detectives of piping systems and OWS (oily water separator) systems.
The same thing happened in the towboat industry over last several years, slowly forcing substandard vessels out of service and bringing others up to standard for those companies that wanted to bother getting it right.
I noticed a few companies that were adept at keeping track of USCG command turnovers. They would request one time load line exemptions for moving large equipment, then go to a different command or waiting for a change of command to do it again, over and over. Using our system correctly we discovered the ploy and were able to put a stop to it. It was also similar with Jones Act exemption requests.
Thank you for your column. I have always been a strong supporter of U.S. shipping and conducting inspections of our domestic fleet, with an eye toward helping them see the need for regulation adherence instead of trying to get away with whatever. I retired from the USCG after 31 years but still do damage surveys and similar work. The main point is that I’m glad to see the strengthening of the Jones Act.
Samuel Boucher is the managing director at A Marine Inspection Services Team LLC, Sterling, Alaska.