American shipyards yesterday issued a fierce rebuttal of repeated links between the Jones Act and the sinking of the 40-year-old El Faro containership at the beginning of October.
“To imply that vessels that do not have to comply with rigorous US safety standards are safe than those that do defies common sense,” said Matthew Paxton, president of the Shipbuilders’ Council of America (SCA). “To try and connect a law that works to protect our economic and national security to this tragedy, particularly during a period when our industry family is mourning such a loss is not only incorrect, but shameful.”
The association hit out at what it said were “unfounded claims” purporting a “casual link” between the Jones Act and the loss of the El Faro. The Jones Act demands ships operating between two US ports be US built, something that is extraordinarily expensive. Just last month, for instance, it was revealed that four Jones Act 50,000 dwt product carriers were priced at a staggering $150m each.
Despite the SCA’s claims, it is fact that the Jones Act has come under severe scrutiny in the days since the El Faro sinking.
Whether or not the regulation, which was promulgated 95 years ago, is still fit for purpose forms one of eight topical questions in our latest survey. MarPoll, the regular online survey, carried by sister title Maritime CEO takes two minutes to fill in and there is no registration required. Other topics this time include containership sizes, cyber crime, the Nicaragua Canal and the environment. Readers can access the poll by clicking here.