Monday, May 20, 2013
Fate of Escopeta Jack-Up Rig Remains in Limbo
The jack-up rig is still in Canadian waters pending negotiations over an imminent violation of federal maritime law.
The jack-up rig that Escopeta Oil was transporting to Alaska for oil and gas exploration in Cook Inlet is still in limbo in Canadian waters, pending negotiations over an imminent violation of federal maritime law.
But now critics are saying that Escopeta need not have run afoul of the law known as the Jones Act.
A group called Ship Strong for America, an advocacy organization for domestic shipworkers and shipbuilders, says Escopeta could have worked with an American company, notably Crowley Maritime Corporation, to avoid a Jones Act violation.
The act bars foreign-flagged vessels from transporting goods between American ports.
Escopeta hired a Chinese firm to bring the jack-up rig from the Gulf of Mexico on a heavy-lift vessel.
Tony Munoz of Ship Strong says the Escopeta president did not investigate his options for the transport and rebuffed overtures from Crowley.
"Right or wrong, if the Alaskan people don't like it, right or wrong, the law exists today. It is a law today, and the law has been violated, and it didn't have to be," said Munoz.
"The fact of the matter is that Crowley does not have a semi-submersible, heavy-lift vessel available for the transport of our jack-up rig,” said Escopeta spokesperson Steve Sutherlin.
Crowley Vice President Michael Roberts told KTVA CBS 11 that the firm's heavy-lift barges could have done the job had Escopeta not rebuffed its attempts to communicate.