An Alaska natural gas producer has agreed to pay the U.S. government $10 million in what amounts to the largest penalty ever levied in the history of the nearly century-old Jones Act, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday.
A Jones Act waiver can be obtained from the secretary of Homeland Security if no U.S. ship is available and the transport is considered important to national defense.
Furie Operating Alaska violated the act when it used a foreign ship to haul the Spartan 151 jack-up drill rig from Texas to Alaska. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an agency within Homeland Security, assessed a penalty of $15 million. Furie sued the federal agency in 2012.
Furie has applied for a waiver but was denied when the department said U.S. vessels were available to carry the drilling rig. Furie disagreed and sought reconsideration of the denial. It began moving the rig, believing a waiver would be granted.
“They assumed incorrectly,” Pomeroy said.