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The head of the U.S. Coast Guard told an audience in northern Virginia that the anti-Jones Act amendment offered by U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to the Keystone XL Pipeline legislation would hurt the U.S.-flag fleet.

According to an article written by Leigh Munsil of Politico, Admiral Paul Zukunft, speaking before the Surface Navy Association’s National Symposium on January 15, said, “If we have foreign-flag vessels doing coastalized trade, what are the safety standards, what are the maritime pollution… standards, how are they in compliance with the same standards that we apply to our U.S. fleet?

“I think, at the end of the day, it will put our entire U.S. fleet in jeopardy. And then in a time of crisis, who are we going to charter to carry our logistics?… Very difficult if we don’t have a U.S.-flagged ship,” Politico quoted Adm. Zukunft as stating.

McCain’s amendment would repeal the domestic-build provision in the Jones Act, which is the nation’s freight cabotage law. Debate on the whole Keystone measures is expected to continue into mid-January, with amendments to be considered first.