The US government has issued a second waiver of the Jones Act, this time to deliver a shipment of LNG to the hurricane-hit island of Puerto Rico.
US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the waiver of the law was targeted and temporary to help Puerto Rico as it continues to recover from Hurricane Fiona.
“To support the people of Puerto Rico as they continue to recover from Hurricane Fiona, I have approved a temporary and targeted waiver of the Jones Act to address the unique and urgent need for liquefied natural gas in Puerto Rico,” said he said in a statement.
“As with the previous waiver, the decision to approve was made in consultation with the Departments of Transportation and Energy to assess the rationale for the waiver request and based on input from the Governor of Puerto Rico and others on the ground supporting recovery efforts.”
The Jones Act requires ships built in a domestic shipyard, flying the US flag, owned by a US company, and manned by US citizens, to carry cargo between two US ports.
Mayorkas said the law is essential to maintaining the strength of America’s shipbuilding and shipping industries.
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But the Department of Homeland Security can issue exemptions for national security reasons when eligible vessels are not available to meet the law’s requirements.
There are no Jones Act qualified LNG carriers. Although six U.S.-built ships operate in international markets, they are all owned by non-U.S. companies and fly foreign flags, according to data from VesselsValue.
Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi said on Twitter that he requested the exemption to allow what he described as an LNG barge from the Dominican Republic. The vessel has not been identified, and it is unclear whether this means the planned shipment involves a shipment of US LNG that will be re-exported from the Andres LNG terminal in the Dominican Republic.
“We have requested accelerated approval to ensure continued production at the EcoElectrica plant,” he said, referring to the island’s gas-fired power plant.
The waiver is the second since Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico in September. The first, involving a BP cargo on GH fleets of 50,000 dwt (built in 2009), drew the ire of the American Maritime Partnership, a pro-Jones Act industry group.
“The granting of this waiver rewards calculated and predatory behavior that undermines a dedicated U.S. supply chain to Puerto Rico, and it’s a harmful precedent that invites similar cynical stunts from foreign oil traders,” he said. said partnership president Ku’uhaku Park at the time.
The band could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday.