Congressman Reintroduces Bill Barring Foreign-Flagged Drillships in US

Transocean's Discoverer Clear Leader, which flies the Marshall Island's flag and is under a five-year contract with Chevron in the Gulf of Mexico, would be barred under the new bill.

Congressman Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, last week reintroduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require all vessels conducting offshore drilling in U.S. coastal waters to register as a U.S. vessel and fly the American flag.

Cohen says the bill, called the American Coastal Waters and Shorelines Protection Act, would help create jobs, strengthen the U.S. maritime industry and safeguard American workers and the environment.

“The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year might have been prevented if the Deepwater Horizon had been subject to the same safety standards required by vessels flying the U.S. flag,” said Congressman Cohen.  “Because the Deepwater Horizon was flagged in the Marshall Islands, it was subject to limited safety examinations and minimal oversight, levels that pale in comparison to U.S. vessels.  I am reintroducing this bill to not only strengthen the U.S maritime industry but also to ensure that companies performing risky drilling in our waters meet American safety standards.”

Cohen has introduced the bill in previous sessions of Congress however it has never been passed.