Oil company to pay record $10 million Jones Act fine

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) — The U.S. Justice Department has reached a $10 million settlement with Furie Operating Alaska for the use of a foreign-flagged ship to transport a jack-up drill rig from the Gulf of Mexico to Cook Inlet, the largest Jones Act penalty ever assessed, Alaska Dispatch News reported.

Furie Operating Alaska, based in League City, Texas, violated the act when it used the Chinese heavy-lift ship Kang Sheng Kou to haul the Spartan 151 drill rig from Texas to Alaska in 2011. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), assessed a penalty of $15 million. Furie sued the federal agency in 2012.

Furie had applied for a Jones Act waiver but was denied when DHS said U.S. vessels were available to carry the drilling rig. Furie disagreed and sought reconsideration of the denial. It began moving the rig, believing a waiver would be granted.

"They assumed incorrectly," said Richard Pomeroy, the assistant Alaska U.S. attorney who represented DHS in the case.

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By Professional Mariner Staff