OMSA statement on overturning of deepwater moratorium

The following is the text of a press release issued by the Offshore Marine Services Association:
(HARAHAN, La.) — The Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), whose members are U.S. flag vessels that work in the offshore energy sector, reacted with optimism to U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman’s ruling today to remove the Obama Administration’s six-month moratorium on offshore drilling.
“Judge Feldman recognized the potential for the ban to cause significant economic harm to our country and the Gulf Coast, not to mention the damage it would do to America’s maritime industry,” said OMSA President Ken Wells.
“Our members are not the drilling companies or the oil companies. They are the companies that carry supplies and people to and from the offshore energy projects. Even though they had nothing to do with the BP accident, it was clear that they would bear the brunt of the negative consequences of the ban. While this is clearly not the end of the legal process, it is extremely good news and gives our industry hope that we will survive this government action,†Wells said.
According to Wells, “The court order comes as we are starting to get a clearer picture of the impact of the moratorium on our members. In just the last week, OMSA members have reported that more than 40 vessels have lost work because of the deepwater moratorium and the de facto moratorium that was placed on shallow water drilling. Additionally, plans to build new vessels in American shipyards have largely been cancelled, raising the potential for thousands of layoffs in that sector. The impact is spreading nationally as vessel companies cancel millions of dollars of engines, electronics equipment and other capital purchases. A recent survey of
OMSA members indicates that they buy equipment and purchase services from vendors in 48 different states, adding weight to the concern that the economic harm from the Administrations’ moratorium to be felt throughout the country.â€
“We need to make sure drilling is done safely, but we also need to make sure we don’t stop drilling altogether and expose our country to the whims of foreign oil-producing countries. This ruling gives us hope that we can go back to work.†Wells said.
By Professional Mariner Staff