2 days to go - IMCA takes action as countdown to deadline for submission on for The The Jones Act changes draws close

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Myth: Only the Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance (IRM) market is affected.

The International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) is selecting a key fact a day on the countdown to the April 18, 2017 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) comment submission deadline, to highlight the potential risks if CBP revokes 40 years of precedent as reflected in its own rulings. Rulings that have brought decades of stability and billions of dollars in investment to the oil and gas industry in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

IMCA issued its vessel impact report* on April 4, 2017 and it is crammed with information and facts and figures showing that the U.S. coastwise qualified fleet is unable, on its own, to support activities in the U.S. offshore deepwater market.

Myth: Revocations will only affect the IRM market.

Fact: This is incorrect. The revocations will affect all non-coastwise qualified construction, installation and maintenance vessels.

Most offshore operations require some incidental movement, such as lateral movement to comply with good safe and efficient operating practices. For example, to move a safe distance away from a construction site to lower equipment close to the seabed and then moving back for the final landing position on the seabed. This minimises the risk of any dropped objects damaging sensitive equipment.

CBP has not defined “incidental movement” but has long held that non-coastwise-qualified vessels loading and unload cargo or constructing or dismantling a marine structure are not violating the Jones Act where movement of merchandise is effected exclusively by crane and not by movement of the vessel, except for necessary movement which is incidental to a lifting operation while it is taking place. 

Recently, CBP has applied this restriction to lifting operations. This makes no practical sense because this is clearly not a transportation movement. Unfortunately, this issue remains unresolved and has far reaching impacts on offshore operations. Although the CBP Notice includes revocation of a ruling that addresses incidental movement, it is unclear what, if any, impact such revocation will have on incidental movement overall.  Ultimately, to prohibit such movement would impose potentially serious safety hazards and effectively stop such work.

Further information on IMCA and its work on behalf of around 1,000 member companies in over 60 countries is available from www.imca-int.com and imca@imca-int.com. The association has LinkedIn and Facebook groups and its Twitter handle is @IMCAint

About IMCA
IMCA, the international association representing offshore, marine and underwater engineering companies, publishes some 200 guidance documents, safety promotional materials, timely information notes and safety flashes. Its members benefit from a core focus on competence and training; contracts and insurance; health, safety, security and environment; lifting and rigging; and marine policy and regulatory affairs; and four technical divisions – Diving, Marine, Remote Systems & ROV, and Offshore Survey; plus five active geographic sections encompassing the globe.

Judith Patten @JPPR Tel: +44 (0)208 241 1912; Email: judithpatten@JPPR.uk.com

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 16 April 2017 )