How a bizarre maritime law dispute can leave tons of fish bound for the United States stranded overseas
However, the Jones Act includes a handful of exemptions, including one called the “third conditional clause.” By virtue of this exclusion, the Jones Act does not not apply to routes that take place “in part on Canadian rail lines and connecting water facilities”, provided the routes are recognized by the federal agency that oversees rail transportation.
American Seafoods insists that its shipping routes meet the requirements of the third condition exemption. CBP disagrees and last month the agency began fining American Seafoods, its logistics and transportation affiliates, as well as its various partners and clients for alleged violations of the Jones Act going back five years. In total, these fines total about $ 350 million, according to American Seafoods. (We’ve reached out to the attorney for American Seafoods for comment and will update this article if he responds.)
Rather than disburse the funds, the company filed a lawsuit against the federal government in early September, arguing that CBP had “blinded” the company and that the sanctions imposed by CBP were “unconstitutionally excessive.”
First, here’s what the two parties agree on: Between 2006 and 2012, American Seafoods and its subsidiaries transported product via a long, winding voyage from Alaska to Maine using flagged vessels. foreigner. The ships departed from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, traveled to Central America, crossed the Panama Canal, and then sailed to the Canadian town of Bayside, New Brunswick. Once in Canada, the shipments then traveled a short distance via the New Brunswick Southern Railway, before being transferred to a truck that brought them across the border.