Tuesday, June 15, 2010

U.S. commander overseeing the response to BP PLC's (BP, BP.LN) Gulf of Mexico oil spill is Ready to Rip up the Jones ACT

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES The U.S. commander overseeing the response to BP PLC's (BP, BP.LN) Gulf of Mexico oil spill said the federal government was prepared to quickly clear any requests by foreign-flagged vessels that could provide vital spill-response activities in the area. Generally, U.S. law prohibits a foreign-flagged vessel from transporting merchandise between points in the U.S. encompassed by the Coastwise laws. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection makes determinations as to whether or not the Jones Act applies to the activities of a foreign-flagged vessel operating within U.S. waters. There are currently 15 foreign-flagged vessels involved in the oil-spill response. No Jones Act waivers have been granted because none of those vessels have required such a waiver for their operations. The 1920 law and others governing coastal shipping were enacted to encourage development of American merchant marine for national defense and commercial purposes. Should any waivers be needed, Adm. Thad Allen said, the U.S. government would process them "as quickly as possible to allow vital spill-response activities being undertaken by foreign-flagged vessels to continue without delay." The guidance provided by Allen would route waivers related to the spill response through the federal on-scene coordinator, who will forward requests immediately through the national incident commander--Allen--for expedited clearance. Allen was appointed to lead the federal response 10 days after the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 and ruptured a wellhead on the seafloor. -By John Kell, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2480; john.kell@dowjones.com Click here to go to Dow Jones NewsPlus, a web front page of today's most important business and market news, analysis and commentary: http://www.djnewsplus.com/nae/al?rnd=uPISDq3EDp4R1cUHwmqBoA%3D%3D. You can use this link on the day this article is published and the following day. (END) Dow Jones Newswires 06-15-10 1150ET Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. 11:50 061510

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