struction and threatening 400,000 U.S. shipbuilding,
seafaring and supply chains jobs, while Coast Guard
Commandant ADM Paul F. Zukunft said the amendment would compromise national security. The union
itself argued that the measure only benefited heavily
subsidized foreign shipping competitors.
The Navy League of the United States joined the
chorus of opposition to the amendment with a January
statement noting the provision “would gut the U.S.
Crowley Maritime Corp. has about 100 Jones Act
vessels within a diverse fleet of more than 300 vessels,
including tankers, container ships, tugs and barges,
according to Thomas Crowley, the company’s chairman
and chief executive officer. Responding to McCain’s
criticism, Crowley said his company hardly views the
Jones Act as something that is an unnecessary restric-
tion that hinders trade.
“We certainly don’t view the Jones Act as a burden
on us,” Crowley told Seapower. “I think from a commercial perspective, putting aside the national defense
benefits, that, yes, the trades are protected, but the
trades are also very focused on those markets. So, if
you look at Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, the services are direct and they are customized for that trade
lane — and they are at a very high level.
“Are they paying a premium on rates? Not really.
They are paying a premium for the service they are get-
ting, but they are not paying a premium just because it
is an American company. When you really look at the
trades that are impacted and the services that are getting
provided — and what benefit the country gets overall —
Senator McCain’s comments are not relevant. They are
not factual. It is surprising because you would think
Senator McCain, of all the senators, would understand
the national defense benefits.”
Prior to filing the amendment, McCain, who intro-
duced a similar bill to repeal the Jones Act in 2010,
said he was well aware of the opposition he would face.
“But I have to tell you … the power of this maritime
lobby is as powerful as anybody or any organization I
have run up against in my political career,” McCain
told reporters in December. “All I can do is appeal to
the patron saint of lost causes and keep pressing and
pressing and sooner or later you have to succeed.”
“If you are going to try to modify legislation, the worst
time to do it politically would be after people spent sev-
eral billion dollars building new ships,” Kaskin said.
“The Jones Act is stable and is not going to be shrinking
much anymore over the next several years.” ;
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 26 SEAPOWER / MAY 2015
Ships and barges transit along the Houston Ship Channel March 12. There are about 38,000 qualified Jones Act vessels,
two-thirds of which comprise the nation’s vast fleet of inland towboats and various-sized barges.