DHS exempts Jones Act, allowing ships docked in Puerto Rico to carry much-needed diesel fuel

The Department of Homeland Security exempts the Jones Act, which allows a ship try diesel fuel To dock for the hurricane-ravaged island of Puerto Rico.

“In response to the immediate and urgent needs of the people of Puerto Ricans following Hurricane Fiona, I have approved a temporary and targeted Jones Act waiver to ensure that the people of Puerto Rico have access to electricity and generators needed for functioning. There is enough diesel for critical facilities as they recover from Hurricane Fiona,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Meyercas said in a statement on Wednesday.

The ship was expected to dock in Puerto Rico on Thursday, the US Coast Guard told CBS News,

Jones Act There is a law that is more than 100 years old, which requires goods traveling between US ports to be delivered primarily on ships built in the US, and owned and operated by Americans.

The US Coast Guard said a ship named GH Parks carrying 300,000 barrels of diesel and sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands has been stopped off the coast of Puerto Rico. According to marine tracking data, it set sail from Texas City on Sunday on its way to Guanilla, but has been stuck since arriving off the coast of Puerto Rico on Monday.

More than a week after Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico and power lines stalledHundreds of thousands were still facing blackouts on the island.

Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierlusi asked the US government to allow the ship to enter port and offload directly. pearlucci Told On Monday he called on Mayerkas to intervene and expedite the request so that the ship could “unload fuel for the benefit of our people.”

Mayercas said Wednesday that the decision to grant the waiver was made “in consultation with the Departments of Transportation, Energy and Defense to assess the appropriateness of the waiver request and based on input from Puerto Rico’s governor and others supporting on the ground.” Efforts can be made to recover.

He also said in his statement that “in 2020, Congress terminates the federal government’s authority to issue long-term comprehensive exemptions, except in circumstances where ‘the waiver is intended to address an immediate adverse effect on military operations.” is needed.” Under the law, exemptions that do not meet that standard must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.”

It is not clear who owns and operates GH Park. While the record lists GY Shipco XII LLC and Synergy Maritime Pvt Ltd as the owner and operator, respectively, the Puerto Rican government told CBS News that it believed British Petroleum was linked to the diesel shipment. CBS News contacted BP, but did not receive a response.

Peerless Oil & Chemicals, the agency requesting diesel shipments from GH Parks, supplies diesel and gasoline to thousands of gas stations in Puerto Rico as well as hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, the US Navy and the Puerto Rican government. The company’s general manager, Luis Vázquez, told El Nuevo Día that he had requested the GH Park route to Guaynilla after Fiona, and that the government was aware of its impending arrival.

Fiona caused catastrophic damage earlier this month as it wreaked havoc in Puerto Rico, which is still coping with the repercussions caused by Hurricane Maria five years ago. That storm hit Puerto Rico’s power grid, and residents have become accustomed to outrageously high Electricity bills and rolling blackouts since.

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