Dredging industry crucial to US national security

Cottrell Contractings USS Bataan with Cottrells Cuttersuction Dredge Rockbridge working the Norfolk Harbor Ship Channel. Credit: Cottrell

A study, published by the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) a non-profit US defence policy think tank, outlines the critical role played by the US dredging industry in maintaining national security, which was welcomed by the industry association Dredging Contractors of America.

The CSBA study, titled Strengthening the US Defence Maritime Industrial Base: A Plan to Improve Maritime Industry’s Contribution to National Security, emphasised the importance of the Jones Act as an integral part of America’s defence maritime industrial base and stressed that it should be maintained.

“A domestic dredging industry prevents the United States from depending on foreign companies to dredge its dozens of naval facilities, potentially opening up opportunities for sabotage or the depositing of underwater surveillance equipment,” said the CSBA study.

Further, the study emphasised the role that American dredgers and salvage operators play in “maintaining waterways and shipping lanes,” particularly the “more than 400 ports and 40,000 km of navigation channels throughout the United States,” all of which is crucial to national security.

The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal law that regulates maritime commerce in the US. It requires that goods and services shipped between US ports are to be transported on ships that are built, owned and manned by US citizens.

The full CSBA study can be found here.