Fishermen’s Finest will sell vessel after attempts to get Jones Act waiver fail

Published on
March 23, 2018

Fishermen’s Finest will seek to sell a USD 75 million (EUR 60.8 million) catcher-processor vessel after the latest attempt for a necessary waiver to work in U.S. waters fell through.

Dennis Moran, company president, told National Fisherman that the waiver for America’s Finest did not get included in a Homeland Security spending bill. 

“I honestly don’t know whether that’s the last stop,” Moran said. “It will involve listing the boat for international sale, which we’re going to go ahead and do.”

The vessel, the America’s Finest, needed the waiver after its builder, Dakota Creek Industries, discovered that it used about 10 percent Dutch steel in the ship’s construction. The Jones Act limits the use of foreign steel to just 1.5 percent for American vessels that carry goods between American ports.

Dakota Creek sought a waiver from the U.S. Coast Guard last year, but that was denied. A waiver was added in a version of a Homeland Security bill under consideration by the U.S. House of Representatives, but it was removed when the U.S. Senate took up the legislation.

Earlier this month, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) told SeafoodSource she was working with her colleagues on the Commerce Committee to get a waiver. 

Attempts by SeafoodSource to reach the senator’s office for comments on the new developments were unsuccessful.

Speculation has swirled that the boat may be sold to a Russian outfit at a loss. However, Moran said buyers from other countries have expressed interest in the 264-foot boat.

If Fishermen’s Finest must sell the boat, it will be a setback both for the company and the Washington state region, where both the company and Dakota Creek are based. Moran said it could set his company back 10 years as it seeks to replace its current fleet.

“There’s a lot of fishermen who could be working on a boat that’s safe, strong, and productive,” Moran said. “It’s a difficult thing to swallow, but apparently that’s the way it’s going to go down.”

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