Jones Act Waiver for Puerto Rico Still on the Table?

Puerto Rico could receive an approval for a Jones Act waiver as US President Donald Trump informed he is considering the waiver in order to help the devastated island recover from a series of hurricanes.

Namely, the President said that he is looking into the option after the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) earlier denied a request for a waiver to Puerto Rico, saying that the move would not help address the island’s main impediment to shipping, damaged ports, according to Reuters.

On September 25, US Representative Nydia M. Velázquez and the Members of Congress called for a temporary waiver in order to expedite supplies being shipped into the island’s ports.

“The President must waive the Jones Act for one year. The aftermath of Hurricane Maria is nothing short of a humanitarian crisis. Puerto Ricans are without food, clean water and electricity. We must use every tool at our disposal to channel assistance to the Island,” Velázquez said.

Additionally, in a letter to the DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke, US Senator John McCain urged the department to waive the Jones Act for Puerto Rico, asking DHS to assess how a long-term waiver or full repeal of the Jones Act would impact recovery efforts of hurricane-damaged communities, including in Florida and Texas.

Hurricane Maria made landfall on the southern coast of Puerto Rico on September 20, after passing approximately 15 miles south-southwest of St. Croix.

On September 27th, the US Department of Energy informed that the majority of the 1.57 million electricity customers in Puerto Rico remain without power.

“Damage assessments and restoration efforts are underway, focusing on critical facilities. Initial assessments show significant damage to transmission and distribution systems.”

World Maritime News Staff

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