U.S. waives Jones Act before Hurricane Irma hits
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii praises waiver to help hurricane victims
News Release from Grassroot Institute
HONOLULU, HAWAII, Sept. 8, 2017 >> The U.S. government today temporarily waived the Jones Act to provide relief for victims in Florida as Hurricane Irma approaches.
The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a non-partisan think tank, praised the decision by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to issue an emergency waiver of the Jones Act, an almost-century old shipping law that requires the carriage of goods and passengers between U.S. ports to be on vessels built and flagged by the U.S. and crewed predominantly by Americans.
Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, said, “We praise the federal government’s decision to provide a waiver of the Jones Act in preparation for Hurricane Irma. The waiver from the burdens of this outdated shipping law will help save many victims in Florida.”
He continued: “This waiver is a recognition by the federal government that the Jones Act is a hindrance to providing goods for the American people. More importantly, this pro-active effort to temporarily lift this unnecessary, self-imposed burden on shipping will help Florida deal with the destructive effects of Hurricane Irma.”
Akina concluded: “Florida is dealing with shortages of fuel and other hazard supplies. This waiver will enable more ships to provide disaster relief to people who so desperately need it.”
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DHS Signs Jones Act Waiver
News Release from US DHS, September 8, 2017
WASHINGTON – Today, in recognition of the severity of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke approved a waiver of the federal Jones Act. This waiver will ensure that over the next week, all options are available to distribute fuel to states and territories impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, both historic storms. The waiver will be in effect for seven days after signature and is specifically tailored to transportation of refined products in hurricane-affected areas.
“This is a precautionary measure to ensure we have enough fuel to support lifesaving efforts, respond to the storm, and restore critical services and critical infrastructure operations in the wake of this potentially devastating storm,” said Acting Secretary Duke.
“Hurricane Harvey significantly disrupted the distribution of fuel across the Southeastern states, and those states will soon experience one of the largest mass evacuations in American history while at the same time we’ll see historic movements through those states of restoration and response crews, followed by goods and commodities back into the devastated areas.”
The Jones Act prohibits the transportation of cargo between points in the U.S., either directly or via a foreign port, or for any part of the transportation, in any vessel other than a vessel that has a coastwise endorsement (e.g. a vessel that is built in and owned by persons who are citizens of the United States). The last Jones Act waiver was issued in December 2012, for petroleum products to be delivered for relief assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.