US gov’t extends Jones Act Waiver to Puerto Rico, some states
SAN JUAN – Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke extended the limited Jones Act waiver at the recommendation of the U.S. Defense and Energy departments.
According to a release by the Department of Homeland Security, the severe disruptions of the oil supply system resulting from hurricanes Harvey and Irma required the waiver to be extended to facilitate movement of refined petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, to be shipped from New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico.
“Effective immediately, this waiver applies to covered merchandise laded on board a vessel through and including Sept. 22,” the release reads.
Initially, the exemption was for one week, starting Sept. 8 and ending Friday, Sept. 15.
The Jones Act prohibits the transportation of cargo between points in the U.S., either directly or via a foreign port, or for any part of the transportation, in any vessel other than a vessel that has a “coastwise endorsement,” such as those built by and owned by U.S. citizens.
The last Jones Act waiver was issued in December 2012, for petroleum products to be delivered for relief assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
In Puerto Rico, it is estimated that Hurricane Irma caused economic losses of more than $600 million, as well as $30.6 million in damages to the agricultural sector. With the passing of the Category 5 hurricane, some 6,200 citizens sought shelter, while 1.1 million customers lost electricity and another 362,000 tap water service.
The most affected municipality is Culebra, with at least 30 homes reported destroyed and more than 50 damaged.