New US-built trawler fails to get Jones Act waiver

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(ANACORTES, Wash.) — A new $75 million factory trawler being built by Dakota Creek Industries will not be able to fish in U.S. waters because the vessel violates provisions of the Jones Act, The Seattle Times reported.

The 264-foot America’s Finest, under construction for Fishermen's Finest of Kirkland, Wash., contains too much steel modified overseas. A congressional waiver to overcome that failed to make it into the $1.3 trillion spending bill signed Friday by President Trump.

Mike Nelson, vice president of Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, Wash., said the failure to gain a Jones Act exemption was a major setback for his shipyard and Fishermen’s Finest. Dakota Creek and the seafood company are now considering a sale of the vessel to another operator that could use it in foreign fisheries. That could mean a significant financial loss.

“We’re not giving up on congressional approval, but this is an option that we have to look at,” Nelson said.

Dennis Moran, president of Fishermen’s Finest, declined to comment. He told the trade publication National Fisherman that his company was “going to go ahead and list the boat for international sale.”

The ship was supposed to be delivered last fall for operations off Alaska. But the use of modified foreign steel put it in violation of the Jones Act, which requires that foreign-made steel parts be limited to 1.5 percent of the ship’s weight. Steel parts bent and cut in Holland represent about 10 percent of the weight of America’s Finest.

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By Professional Mariner Staff