UPDATE 1-Foreign ships move 3.2 mln barrels of fuel to US Northeast

Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:48pm EST

* U.S. waived Jones Act to relieve storm-struck Northeast

* 12 cargoes are final, must unload by Nov. 20 under waiver

* More than 2.8 mln bbls of fuel was gasoline or distillates

WASHINGTON, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Shippers loaded 12 foreign-flagged tankers with gasoline, diesel and other fuels to help relieve the storm-struck U.S. Northeast under a rare waiver of U.S. marine law, the government said on Thursday.

The cargoes, which must be delivered by Nov. 20 under the waiver of the 1920 Jones Act, were slated to be discharged at ports from Maryland to Maine after Superstorm Sandy.

The shipments totaled 3.18 million barrels of fuel and blending products, said the Maritime Administration, or MARAD, a branch of the Department of Transportation. They included more than 1.75 million barrels of gasoline and more than 1.1 million barrels of diesel and other distillates, it said.

MARAD said this was the final count of ships that used the waiver. The agency did not reveal the companies that shipped the fuel.

Some of the bigger tankers that loaded fuel were the Torm Ismini, with 475,000 barrels of ultra low sulfur diesel for ports in New York and Boston, the Christina Kirk, with more than 350,000 barrels of gasoline and natural gasoline, a blending component, for New York. The Calafuria loaded 295,000 barrels of gasoline for four ports in New York, New Hampshire, and Maine.

The MCT Arcturus loaded nearly 96,000 barrels of ethanol for delivery to Paulsboro, New Jersey.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a blanket waiver early this month which allowed foreign-flagged ships to load oil products from the Gulf of Mexico until Nov. 13.

The Jones Act, part of the 1920 Merchant Marine Act, was created to support domestic jobs in the shipping industry. It requires goods moved between U.S. ports to be carried by ships built domestically and staffed by U.S. crews.

The federal government also tapped the Northeast heating oil reserve and the military bought and transported fuel to help relieve the region where Sandy destroyed homes and beach fronts and caused severe fuel shortages.

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