* SPR oil sale terms now favor U.S. vessels to move crude
* US shipping group said govt was helping foreign workers
By Tom Doggett
WASHINGTON, June 24 The Obama administration on
Friday backtracked on its plan to make it easier for
foreign-based ships to move the millions of barrels of
emergency crude oil the government hopes to sell to ease
expected tight global supply.
Under the administration's plans announced on Thursday to
sell 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum
Reserve, the government said it would provide an automatic
waiver from the Jones Act, a federal law that prevents foreign
ships from transporting U.S. goods, including crude oil,
between American ports.
The Jones Act, created to support jobs in the U.S. maritime
industry, requires that goods moved between U.S. ports be
carried by ships built in the United States, owned by Americans
and have U.S. crews.
The administration reversed its decision on Friday
following criticism from the U.S. maritime sector.
"We are dumbfounded by President Obama's decision to
disregard the American maritime industry, which has sufficient
capacity to complete this work," the American Maritime
Partnership said in a statement on Thursday.
The Energy Department updated the terms of the oil sale on
Friday morning, saying there would no longer be an automatic
waiver of the U.S. shipping law. (Terms of SPR sale:
However, companies wanting to transport by water any of the
SPR crude could still apply to the government for a waiver of
the Jones Act.
The department said there would be plenty of U.S.-flagged
vessels available to move the crude.
(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)