EC And 14 Nations Protest Dredging Restrictions In 1992 MarAd Budget

Fourteen foreign governments and the European Community have protested legislation that tightens domestic shipping law restrictions on dredging in American waters. Protesters say the measure, inserted into the fiscal year 1992 Maritime Administration spending bill by Representative W.J. Tauzin of Louisiana, would further exclude foreign company involvement in the U.S. dredging industry.

A joint communique was sent to the State Department on the subject by the governments of Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the EC Commis- sion.

Mr. Tauzin's amendment has also drawn protests from the charterer of the largest U.S. hopper dredge, the Stuyvesant, because of fears that it could ultimately affect the vessel's ability to operate. The Tauzin amendment extends coastwise dredging restrictions under a 1906 law from three geographical miles to the 200-mile limit known as the U.S. exclusive economic zone. It also requires owners and charterers of all dredges to be at least 75 percent U.S.-citizen-owned and prohibits the time-charter of U.S.-flag dredges to any company unless at least 75 percent of the company's shareholders are U.S. citizens. Built nine years ago with government loan guarantees, the Stuyvesant is owned by Bank of America Leasing Co. However, the parent of the charterer, Stuyvesant Dredging, is a Dutch company, Royal Boskalis Corp.

The MarAd authorization bill, with the Tauzin amendment, is awaiting action on the House floor. A Senate authorization measure for MarAd has not been introduced. The White House has expressed opposition to the House bill because of other provisions in it, specifically a Buy America provision for used sealift cargo vessels.

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