April 25 2008
Seabulk Trader loses Jones Act trading rights
In what would seem to be a victory for no more than the plain meaning of words, the U.S .District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has ruled in Shipbuilders Council of America v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, that the installation in a foreign shipyard of an inner hull on a U.S.-flag tanker breaches the Second Proviso of the Jones Act, making the tanker ineligible to continue to engage in the U.S. coastwise trade.
Here's what the second proviso says:
So, what's so difficult about determining that adding a second hull in China is a breach of this requirement? You can read the court's Memorandum of Opinion here, thanks to Tim Colton, who has obligingly posted it on his website, www.coltoncompany.com. Tim has also posted the Court's order, under which the ship in question, the Seabulk Trader, loses its Jones Act trading rights.