Jones Act Enforcer on the hunt for illegal cargo vessels

The Jones Act Enforcer (Courtesy the Offshore Marine Service Association)

The Jones Act Enforcer is now on patrol.

The Offshore Marine Service Association has launched the ship to gather photos and videos of ships it considers to be violating a 1920 law requiring U.S. vessels to carry cargo between U.S. locations. It will provide such evidence to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which enforces the law, and to trade publications.

The Jones Act Enforcer, named after the law, will operate both in the Gulf of Mexico and in wind fields off the East Coast.

“The Act is not being implemented in a manner that is correct under the law and as a result … American workers are losing jobs to foreign vessels,” said Aaron Smith, president and CEO of the association. “It’s time that someone takes a stand and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

bill to repeal the Jones Act as a protectionist law that drives up prices is before the Senate Commerce Committee. Such proposals have been made frequently over the past decade but generally haven’t made it out of committee.

OMSA’s 140-plus members include about 60 owners and operators of vessels that carry people, material and supplies to and from offshore rigs and platforms.

The Jones Act Enforcer is a 150-foot crewboat built in 2007. Formerly known as the Harvey Hustler, she is fitted with a 7,000 horsepower powerplant and can make 20 knots. Still and video cameras and aerial assets are among the crew’s tools.

Read the announcement.