'Jones Act armada' delivering critical cargoes after Harvey, Irma

The following is the text of a news release from the American Maritime Partnership:

(WASHINGTON) — In the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the American maritime industry continues to move essential cargoes to areas impacted by the storm, and will continue to carry supplies long after the storms as communities recover and rebuild.

“Nothing is more important right now than the safety and security of our fellow Americans. The men and women of the American maritime industry are working around the clock to respond swiftly and effectively to the needs of those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Our U.S. domestic fleet has the vessels and capacity to move goods to those areas hit by the storm,” said Thomas A. Allegretti, chairman of the American Maritime Partnership, the voice of the domestic maritime industry.

The U.S. maritime industry, as waterway first responders, has answered the call to move cargoes through reopened ports. Specifically in Florida, there are at present approximately 26 U.S.-flag vessels carrying millions of gallons of fuel set to arrive between now and Sept. 17. The industry will continue to provide vessels for the immediate and future movement of critical supplies as communities continue to recover.

As ports reopened, the “Jones Act armada” of American vessels and American mariners descended to deliver gasoline and refined products to those in need.

“Even as our own maritime employees and their families contended with the aftermath of these devastating hurricanes, our U.S. mariners and their vessels immediately responded to the needs of the nation. As the ports reopened, U.S. vessels were there to deliver fuel and essential cargoes,” said Matt Woodruff of Kirby Corp. “As rescue and recovery efforts continue, our industry – like we have done in so many natural disasters before – is here to help those impacted get the supplies they need as they work to rebuild their lives and communities.”

The American maritime industry has extensive experience in responding to national and natural disasters to facilitate the movement of critical cargo needed for rescue and repair. Like in the wake of any major hurricane, America’s domestic maritime industry:

• Engages closely with state, local, and federal government officials like the Office of Emergency Preparedness, the National Weather Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to track storms;
• Communicates response efforts with the administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Maritime Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and other relief organizations following a disaster;
• Prepositioned critical supply vessels offshore to better respond strategically based on where the storm might hit;
• Designated safe areas for equipment to ride out the storm; and
• Prepared maritime facilities and equipment to minimize potential storm damage so goods and people can continue to be moved and received.

The American Maritime Partnership represents more than 400 U.S. maritime companies from Alaska to Puerto Rico. The domestic maritime industry is made up of more than 40,000 American vessels built in American shipyards, crewed by American mariners, and owned by American companies that operate in our waters 24-hours a day, seven days a week. The industry sustains nearly 500,000 American jobs, $28.95 billion in labor compensation, and more than $92.5 billion in annual economic output. The U.S. domestic maritime industry is a pillar of our nation‘s economic, national, and homeland security.

By Professional Mariner Staff