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Jones Act Seaman

Diver Down!!! An Exception to the General Test for Seaman Status?

By James P. Nader & Joseph A. Poblick Once again we take that familiar voyage know as "determining seaman status." No matter how familiar the voyage there are always changes in the currents which guide your path. Seaman status is important because only a seaman may receive maintenance and cure, and pursue a claim for Jones Act negligence or unseaworthiness. The basic requirements for seaman status are well established in maritime law. In order to qualify as a seaman under the Jones Act, a person's employment duties must contribute to the mission of the vessel and be connected to an identifiable group of vessels in navigation. The United States Supreme Court has held that seaman status should be determined by the specific facts of each case. The totality of the circumstances surrounding the employee's employment must be considered in determining whether his duties had sufficient relation to the mission of the vessel and exposure to the perils of the sea. Additionally, it is typically the jury who has the responsibility to determine seaman status, and only in rare circumstances is that responsibility left up to the judge. Because juries typically decide the question of seaman status, who qualifies, it is often difficult to predict. The "diver's exception" is an example of the expansion of workers that qualify for Jones Act status

Ship Owner May Sue Injured Seaman

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a ship owner may assert a negligence and indemnity claim against its seaman-employee for property damage allegedly caused by the seaman’s negligence. In the instant case, plaintiff mate was injured when his ship collided with another ship. Plaintiff was on watch and in command of the ship at the time and allegedly left the wheelhouse in congested waters to attend to personal business

Moored Cleaning Barge is Vessel for Purposes of Jones Act

Over a vigorous dissent, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that a moored cleaning barge is a vessel for purposes of the Jones Act. In the instant case, plaintiff barge cleaner was injured while being ferried from shore to his work site on a moored cleaning barge. The barge was secured in position in the Missouri River by spud poles embedded in the river bottom. The barge was relocated on occasion by being towed

Ruling on Permanently Moored Dockside Casino

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that, for purposes of the Jones Act, a permanently moored dockside casino is not a vessel in navigation and its employees are not seamen entitled to protection under the Act. In the instant case, the casino vessel was documented and inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard, but only got underway once each year for engine and maneuvering tests. The court held that the vessel was not engaged in the transportation of passengers or cargo and was

Settling With An Unrepresented Seaman Making The Settlement Stick

Unfortunately, personal injury claims brought by seamen against vessel owners are part of everyday life in running a boat company.  As such, vessel owners have become very sophisticated in the management of these claims.  As the cost of litigating these matters is very high, often, the claim's handler will attempt to settle a seaman's personal injury claim prior to his retention of counsel and filing suit.  In most cases, this is a win-win for both the employee and the company

U.S. Navy Opposes Repeal of Jones Act

The news that the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Navy League support the Jones Act and oppose its repeal was applauded by Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF), the national coalition representing the U.S.-flag fleet engaged in domestic waterborne commerce. Both organizations dedicated to the defense of the United States have reaffirmed their support for the law, which is directly responsible for half a million U.S. jobs and vital to national security. 

OMSA - Jones Act Compliance Manager

The national trade association that is the voice for the U.S. flag workboat industry has taken the unusual step of hiring an experienced investigator to collect evidence on foreign vessels that violate the U.S. law known as the Jones Act. The Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA) has created a new position – Manager of Jones Act Compliance – to ensure compliance with the laws requiring that vessels involved in domestic transportation be owned by Americans

Obama Supports the Jones Act

A campaign pledge of support for the Jones Act has earned President Barack Obama the cover spot on the 2008 Annual Report of the Maritime Cabotage Task Force, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition promoting the domestic U.S.- Flag fleet. In August 2008, then candidate Obama declared “America needs a strong and vibrant U.S.-flag Merchant Marine … That is why you … can continue to count on me to support the Jones Act….”

Grill Retires, Maritime Cabotage Task Force


The Maritime Cabotage Task Force (MCTF) is thanking its retiring Chairman, Philip M. Grill, for his 14 years of leadership of the labor/management coalition that promotes the Jones Act and other U.S. maritime cabotage laws in Washington. Grill, who is retiring as Vice President – Government Relations for Matson Navigation Company, Inc., on July 31, has chaired MCTF since its founding in September 1995. Under his leadership

Nat’l Commission Says: Jones Act No Hinderance to Spill Clean Up

The January 11, 2011 report from the non-partisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling confirmed the Jones Act did not prevent foreign vessels from assisting with the clean-up effort during the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.  “Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling” was prepared by the independent entity at the request of President Barack Obama.  

GSL, Moran Iron Works Ink Deal


In a deal that on the surface proves promising for vessel construction in the United States, Green Shipping Line (GSL) and Moran Iron Works (MIW) signed a teaming agreement to pursue marine construction projects in the United States.  

LNG Tanks Installed on Crowley’s First ConRo Ship

Photo: Crowley

Construction of the first of two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered, combination container – Roll-On/Roll-Off (ConRo) ships for Crowley Maritime Corporation’s liner services group reached another milestone, with the installation of three LNG fuel tanks

Crowley Breaks Ground on San Juan Terminal

Photo: Crowley

Crowley Puerto Rico Services, Inc. has broken ground on a $48.5-million construction project for a new pier at its Isla Grande Terminal in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the company announced.   The project includes the development of a new 900-foot-long

VT Halter Launches Barge for Bouchard

Photo: VT Halter Marine

VT Halter Marine, Inc. (VT Halter Marine), a company of Vision Technologies Systems, Inc. (VT Systems) and Bouchard Transportation Co. announced that Barge B. No. 272 was launched on November 20, 2015. This is the second barge of two Articulated Tug Barge (ATB) units constructed for Bouchard

LNG-fueled Box Ship a 'Momentous Step Forward'

Perla del Caribe, the second of two LNG-fueled Marlin Class ships built by General Dynamics NASSCO for Tote, was launched at NASSCO’s yard in San Diego. (Photo: General Dynamics NASSCO)

On Saturday, August 29, 2015, the world’s first series of energy efficient containerships welcomed its second LNG-powered vessel in San Diego, fueling the U.S. maritime industry with cutting edge economic and environmental efficiencies powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).

MOL Earns Listing on ESG/RI Index

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. today announced that the company has been selected again as a component of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) Asia Pacific for 13 consecutive years since 2003. This month, S&P Dow Jones Indices and RobecoSAM announced their selections for the DJSI after

TOTE Shifts Maritime Companies under Unified Brand

Photo: TOTE Maritime

U.S. Jones Act carrier TOTE announced it has shifted operating companies Totem Ocean Trailer Express and Sea Star Line, respectively serving the Alaskan and Puerto Rican/Caribbean markets. Going forward, the companies will be known collectively as TOTE Maritime.

NYK Selected for DJSI

logo of DJSI

  NYK has been selected for the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI)* for a 13th straight year.   The DJSI, which is a major yardstick for companies engaging in socially responsible investment (SRI),** is composed of select sustainability-driven companies from over 3

Crowley Acquires Jones Act Tankers

Crowley Takes Delivery of First of Four New, Jones Act Tankers from Aker Philadelphia Shipyard

  Crowley Maritime Corp. took delivery of Ohio, the first of four new, Jones Act, product tankers this week from Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, Inc. (APSI), the wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary of Aker Philadelphia Shipyard ASA. The delivery is momentous not only for Crowley

Construction Begins on Matson’s Aloha Class

Image: Matson

Matson, Inc., a U.S. carrier in the Pacific, announced that production has begun on its two new Aloha Class containerships following a steel cutting ceremony at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard Inc. (APSI) in Pennsylvania.   Matson subsidiary Matson Navigation Company, Inc

Thordon’s COMPAC for US’ Largest Containerships

Artist impression of Matson’s Aloha-class containership (Image: Matson)

Thordon Bearings has signed a contract to supply COMPAC seawater-lubricated propeller shaft bearing solutions to two Jones Act containerships under construction at the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard Inc. (APSI) for Matson Navigation Company, Inc.   

Insights: Matthew Paxton, SCA President

Matthew Paxton

Matthew Paxton is President of the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA), and a partner at the law firm of Adams and Reese. SCA is the national trade association representing 41 companies that own and operate more than 120 shipyard facilities on all three U.S

NASSCO Starts Building 3rd SEA-Vista Tanker

Artists rendering of SEA-Vista commercial product tanker (Image: General Dynamic NASSCO)

Ceremony signals the start of construction for the third SEA-Vista ECO Tanker to be constructed at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.   U.S. shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO signaled the start construction today for the third product tanker to be built for SEA-Vista

General Dynamics NASSCO Christens First ECO Tanker for APT

General Dynamics NASSCO hosted a christening ceremony for the first ECO tanker for American Petroleum Tankers (APT) under construction at the company's shipyard in San Diego.   San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer spoke at the ceremony, and the ship’s sponsor, Mrs

SCA Decries Linkage of Jones Act to El Faro Tragedy

Matt Paxton, President of the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA).

U.S. Shipbuilders Call Claims Linking Jones Act to El Faro Tragedy "Incorrect” and “Shameful.”   Today the U.S. shipbuilding and ship repair industry responded to unfounded claims purporting a causal link between the Jones Act and the loss of the cargo container ship

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