Senate approves exemption for trawler marooned by too much foreign steel

A $75 million fishing vessel, marooned in a Washington state shipyard because it was built with too much foreign steel, would be allowed to work in U.S. waters under a waiver to federal maritime law approved by the U.S. Senate.

The language was included in the Senate’s Coast Guard reauthorization legislation, which passed 94-6. If approved by the House, the waiver could end the tangled legal status of the 264-foot America’s Finest, a nearly completed factory trawler built at Dakota Creek Industries of Anacortes to catch and freeze bottom-dwelling fish found off Alaska. The trawler has been stuck at the shipyard for more than a year.

The vessel’s owner, Kirkland-based Fishermen’s Finest, contracted with Dakota Creek Industries to build America’s Finest to replace an older vessel.

But the construction went disastrously off course when the shipyard had parts of the hull cut and bent in the Netherlands.

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