Geoquip Marine responds to Jones Act violation allegations

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 17/11/2021 Geoquip Marine

Geoquip Marine has issued statement in response accusations from the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) that the company operated a vessel that violated the Jones Act and failed to comply with US employment, safety, and environmental protection laws and regulations. It concerns Geoquip Marine’s Integrated Geotechnical Survey Vessels (IGSV), the Geoquip Saentis.

The Jones Act requires that all ships carrying goods from a US port to anywhere within the country, including its waters, be US-built, US-owned, US-crewed, and US-flagged.

“U.S. wind power should mean U.S. jobs,”
said OMSA President Aaron Smith. “Our report provides a case study of how far too often wind projects are instead creating jobs for Estonians and Romanians, while capable American mariners sit on the shore. We’ve detailed how a foreign company—by their own admission—used a Chinese-built vessel with foreign crew members to transport cargo within U.S. waters. That's illegal.”

Having sought expert advice, Geoquip Marine responded to the OMSA statement. "Geoquip Marine is the world’s largest wholly dedicated operator of specialist offshore geotechnical data acquisition, analysis and reporting assets. The company operates globally and in recent history has completed works for many of the world’s leading specialist offshore energy developers in the US, Europe, Africa and Asia. In the US this includes various well recognised individual projects working with the leading developers offshore in Virginia, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts.

"Geoquip Marine has been invited to participate in a competitive tender for each of these contracts by the leading US developers and has then been appointed by those companies.

"The company uses the most highly qualified and experienced crews available, regardless of where they originate from, to supply accurate geotechnical data for its customers. These are the primary factors in the awarding of the contracts in the competitive tenders. No other organisation can match Geoquip Marine’s level of wholly dedicated resources, retained knowledge, customer focus, and international experience in this highly specialised process. The critical factors are the accuracy of the data, the technical knowledge and the safe implementation of the research process."

Geoquip Marine outlined that its research vessels meet the highest international standards of operations and maintains that all crew are highly trained and have all the necessary permissions to work, regardless of where they are in the world.

In its statement, the company said: "It is wrong to insinuate that Geoquip Marine crew are hired at rates below industry standards. Geoquip Marine prioritises the crew welfare in its quest for accuracy and those crew are very well treated, very well rewarded and are given continual training to guarantee that they are able to operate to the highest standards of safety and efficiency. As a result, Geoquip Marine is renowned internationally for being an excellent employer and this is a vital factor in securing the services of the very best crew members."

Geoquip Marine argued that its vessels do not transport cargo or merchandise. Geoquip Saentis is an IGSV, it is dedicated to research and has drilling technology and an onboard laboratory. It collects seabed data, allowing geotechnical parameters to be derived and supporting environmental research.

Geoquip Marine stated it has historically relied upon the longstanding position that research work of the type that it is specifically focused on analysing the characteristics of the seabed is not covered by the provisions of the Jones Act.