WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. ship owners complain the Obama administration has routinely let oil from federal stockpiles be shipped on foreign-owned vessels, sidestepping federal law.
As it rushed to transport millions of barrels to stabilize world oil prices earlier this summer, the administration has waived the 90-year-old Jones Act 46 times, The New York Times reported.
The law requires that entirely domestic cargo be carried aboard U.S.-flagged ships except in extraordinary circumstances.
The Times says American barges carried oil from the reserve just once this summer, while 30 million barrels transported within U.S. borders moved on ships, with foreign crews, from the Marshall Islands, Panama and other countries.
That translated to lower costs and saved time for oil buyers, but took potential work from more than 30 U.S. cargo vessels and as many as 400 crew, U.S. ship owners said.
"The idea was to create American jobs and help the economy," said Christopher Coakley, vice president for legislative affairs at the American Waterways Operators. "But all the profit from the sale of the oil has gone to traders and oil companies and all the profit from movement of the oil has gone to foreign shippers and crewmen, and that's galling."
The administration said the oil was sold in quantities of at least 500,000 barrels and most U.S.-owned coastal barges hold 150,00 barrels or less.
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