West Coast
National Fisherman

Coast Guard approves Jones Act waiver for America’s Finest

The U.S. Coast Guard has signed off on a Jones Act waiver for America’s Finest, a $75 million vessel commissioned by Fishermen’s Finest, according to a press release issued by U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) earlier this month.

That means the boat built by Dakota Creek Industries is free to fish in U.S. waters and deliver products to American ports.

“The Coast Guard worked hard to create a thorough report absolving Dakota Creek and giving the green light to the America’s Finest vessel,” said Larsen in the statement. “The employees at Dakota Creek support a job-creating industry that strengthens national defense and fosters innovation and contributes to the maritime economy in Washington state and Alaska. I am proud to be a part of giving the hard working employees at Dakota Creek a stronger future.”

The review ends a nearly two-year ordeal regarding the ship due to the amount of foreign processed steel used in its construction. The Jones Act limits ships traveling between two U.S. ports to have no more than 1.5 percent foreign steel. About 10 percent of America’s Finest steel was bent in the Netherlands.

America’s Finest seemed destined for an international sale at a substantial loss after repeated attempts to get a waiver failed. However, Washington state’s Congressional delegation worked to get waiver language into a Coast Guard reauthorization bill that both chambers passed in November 2018 in an attempt to save hundreds of jobs at Dakota Creek, a leading shipbuilder in the state.

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