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Fighting A "War" With One Arm Tied Behind The back"

At this point in time, there can be no doubt that the GOM/BP oil spill ranks at, or very close to the top, of the list of ecological disasters to befall the US. In addition, the economic impact is mounting steadily, ranging from losses to the fishing and tourism industry in the eatern half of the Gulf, to the lost wages due to the mortorium on deep water Gulf drilling, and the effect that the shut down will have on US energy prices, down the road.

In fact, President Obama went on national TV, broadcasting from the Oval Office ( a first for the current administration), and labeled the situation in the Gulf the equivalent of a "war"!

Now to me, that says that things are pretty darn serious, and when a nation is at "war", nobody much cares if the rulebook gets tossed out of the window to deal with the situation. Then again, perhaps I'm a bit naive, because according an article published in the Alabama Press Register, the US has failed to take advantage of numerous foreign nations' offers of skimmer ships to deal with the growing spill.

There's this little piece of legislation known as the Jones Act, that mandates that any vessel carrying cargo from a US port to another US port be US built, flagged, and manned by a US (union) crew. Among the nations offering assistance have been UAE, and the Netherlands. Other nations have made offers of additional dispersant, and containment booms. Of a total of 28 foreign offers of assistance of various types, a majority remain "under consideration", according to a State Department website.


Actually, a temporary waiver of the Jones Act in the event of a maritime emergency is not without precedent, as such a waiver was enacted post Katrina.

Sources: Alabama Press Register

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