The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency upheld the $15 million fine imposed against Escopeta Oil (now Furie Operating Alaska LLC) after Escopeta was denied a waiver extension in 2006, The Maritime Executive has reported. The waiver was in regard to a Chinese-flagged vessel that was hired to move a jackup rig from the Texas coast to Cook Inlet, Alaska.
It is a violation of the Jones Act to hire foreign-flagged vessels.
Escopeta sought to extend a 2006 waiver, claiming that there were “extenuating circumstances” and launching a media blitz that claimed that southern Alaska was in the midst of a desperate energy crisis. Escopeta further claimed the 2006 waiver had never been revoked, although the Department of Homeland Security had denied a waiver extension on March 7, 2011.
The value of the rig was estimated at about $15 million, and so that was the determining basis of the imposed fine. Escopeta changed its name and leadership, then alleging that Furie Operating Alaska LLC shouldn’t be held responsible for Escopeta’s actions, but CBP rightly maintained that a name change and corporate takeover don’t constitute a full dismissal of pre-existing liabilities.
Help from a Jones Act Attorney when a Vessel Owner Breaks the Law
When vessel owners violate the Jones Act, they can be held culpable for serious fines, but it doesn’t have to be an international case in order to merit action. If you have been injured because of your employer while working offshore, speak with a Jones Act attorney who can help you build your case so that you can receive the maintenance and cure benefits to which you are entitled – 866-701-8647.