By SubTel Forum

Lexology has published an article (excerpted below) about the Jones Act, that will effect submarine cables for the Offshore Wind industry.

Of the many pieces to the offshore wind puzzle for the United States, the Jones Act and other statutory requirements concerning installation and maintenance vessels for an offshore wind farm create uncertainties that can dramatically effect project planning, completion and financing. This paper highlights the special shoals for offshore wind farm operators and the institutions that finance them. Next vessel Custom and Border Patrol (CBP) rulings are examined on: a) the requirements for a foreign vessel as a jack up to be used in wind turbine construction and compliance with United States maritime cabotage laws, and b) the classification of drilling, pile-driving and installation activities on the US Outer Continental Shelf.

A word of warning – there are dramatic debates between those interested in making the Jones Act more restrictive and others who want to relax or abolish the Act. For example the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has proposed new safety and environmental regulations including a provision that vessels operating in the 200 NM US Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In contrast, Senator McCain proposes a repeal of the Jones Act.

Not all of the change momentum is coming from Congress. In June 2009 the CBP 2009 issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to overturn years of precedent allowing non-US flag vessels to perform certain tasks related to offshore construction and cable laying. In the face of massive comments both for and against these changes, the CBP withdrew its proposed changes, but, in withdrawing the changes, the CBP indicated that it planned additional future changes in its interpretation of the Jones Act.

Click here to read the complete article.