Congressman Garamendi’s Statement on the Importance of the Jones Act to United States Homeland Security
WASHINGTON, DC –Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation issued the following statement in response to testimony about the Jones Act at a joint hearing to examine maritime nuclear smuggling threats and other risks to port security:
“At today’s hearing, members of both the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation and the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security heard testimony on how we can best defend against nuclear smuggling threats.
James H.I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association, which represents U.S. Flagged vessel operators on the Great Lakes, noted the particular importance of the Jones Act. It requires that cargo moved between U.S. ports be carried in vessels that are built in the United States and crewed by American sailors. This is not only vital to our maritime industry—it is also important for our national security.
American mariners must go through a rigorous certification and credentialing process to be certified by the Coast Guard, and are trained in security measures designed to protect the homeland against smuggling and other threats. Jones Act mariners also work with the Coast Guard to recognize and identify unusual or suspicious activity. Without the Jones Act, not only would be not have American mariners helping to protect the homeland, but the Coast Guard would bear additional responsibility for policing foreign-controlled and foreign-crewed vessels in both coastal and internal waters.
I thank Mr. Weakley for stressing the national security importance of the Jones Act at today’s hearing.”