American Offshore Worker Fairness Act



About The American Offshore Worker Fairness Act (AOWFA)

AWOFA would require foreign vessels operating in the U.S. to abide by the same crewing rules that U.S. vessels do, thereby giving qualified American mariners and shipyard workers a fair chance at earning a family-supporting wage without unjust competition. For far too long, American maritime jobs have been doled out to low-wage foreign workers. AOWFA ensures American workers and companies can compete fairly for good paying jobs now and into the future.


We’re not asking for a handout. We are asking for a fair chance.


Justice Must Be Served

Over the last several years, offshore wind developers have hired dozens of foreign vessels and hundreds of foreign crews instead of American vessels and crews, all while begging for tax credits from the U.S. government. The enhanced profit the wind developers saved by using foreign crews is costing American jobs and putting national security and sovereignty at risk. This is just one example of hundreds of American jobs lost. Watch below. 


Randy’s Story

Randy is one of the many hard-working Americans feeling the sting of unfair policies that promote giving U.S. jobs to foreign workers instead of U.S. mariners. Randy has the vessel, specialty equipment, and highly trained U.S. crew ready to do the work, so why are foreign vessels and crews the only ones benefiting? It’s not fair. Listen to Randy’s story.



Tell Congress to be fair to American mariners and to pass AOWFA now. It only takes a minute to Tweet them or send a message:




American Offshore Worker Fairness Act (AOWFA)

Why Fairness to U.S. Mariners Matters

AOWFA would allow more American mariners a fair opportunity to compete for work. AOWFA brings parity to the market by honoring honest maritime practices and giving American workers and businesses a chance to contribute to the growing domestic offshore energy sector. The jobs supported by the offshore industry often require training and skill, but luckily for us America is the nation of skilled work—so why keep giving our jobs jobs away? It is time we support our fellow citizens and believe in their true worth, because Americans are more than capable of filling these positions, if only they get a fair chance.


The Bright Future Offshore Energy

AOWFA will both level the playing field for American mariners and encourage future development of the offshore energy industry—it’s a win-win. As the offshore industry continues to expand and create new opportunities, it is vital that American mariners have a fair chance at competing for those jobs. American mariners cannot and should not compete against foreign low-wage workers as their pay does not provide a livable American wage. It’s simple: more U.S. energy production should mean more U.S. jobs.


The Role of the Jones Act

AOWFA works to ensure compliance with the Jones Act by remedying a dangerous loophole that has plagued American waterways for far too long. The Jones Act dictates that only U.S. crewed, built, and owned vessels can move cargo between U.S. points. However, much of the offshore energy industry involves vessels that either don’t move cargo, or exploit illegal loopholes in the Jones Act to move cargo. In these instances when the Jones Act either doesn’t apply or is being flauted, developers prefer cheap foreign vessels and their cheap foreign crews to save a few dollars. AOWFA ends this practice by ensuring that when foreign vessels are operating in U.S. waters, they play by the same rules as American vessels.


Learn More about AOWFA

AOFWA would require foreign vessels to utilize either U.S. mariners or citizens of the vessel’s home country while operating in offshore energy activities in U.S. waters. This would change the current practice where foreign vessels utilize crew members from low-wage countries at day rates no American would or should accept. This unfair practice gives foreign vessels a competitive advantage over U.S. vessels and takes jobs away from American mariners.

Closing this loophole will greatly assist American mariners and U.S. companies participating in both the offshore oil and gas and offshore wind industries. The legislation further reduces the cost disparity between U.S.-flagged and foreign-flagged vessels by:

  • Requiring foreign mariners working in the U.S. offshore energy markets secure a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). Current regulations allow such mariners the option to secure a TWIC while U.S. mariners are required to secure and hold a valid TWIC.
  • Limiting the number of visas that can be issued for each foreign vessel operating in U.S. waters and takes steps to ensure that these visas are connected to the mariner’s work on that vessel.
    Requiring each foreign vessel in U.S. offshore energy markets to prove their ownership structure annually.
  • Requiring the U.S. Coast Guard to annually inspect foreign-flagged vessels operating in U.S. offshore energy markets to ensure compliance with these changes.


AOWFA does not change the nature of existing law, rather it closes a dangerous, unfair loophole that gives preferential treatment to low-wage workers at the expense of American workers.


Support AOWFA to stop taking away American jobs.

It’s just fair.



Media Alert: Vineyard Wind Hires Foreign Vessel and Mariners Despite U.S. Availability

Watch Chairman DeFazio’s Remarks Here.

Your Voice Matters! Watch Rep. Graves Cite the Letter that Many OMSA Members Signed in Support of the AOWFA.

Coalition Letter in Support of AOWFA

Press Release from US Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA)

American Offshore Worker Fairness Act Bill Summary

OMSA President, Aaron Smith, Testifies on Capitol Hill  

OMSA Press Release 

SCA Statement

Contact OMSA

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