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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


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


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


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


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. 


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.  


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


Grill Retires, Maritime Cabotage Task Force

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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


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….”


Aker Evaluating Future of US Shipyard, ASC

Aker Philadelphia Shipard view: Image courtesy AKPS

Norway's Aker ASA may decide to merge or otherwise restructure two listed units that have seen strong benefits from the U.S. shale oil energy boom, Aker's Converto investment vehicle said in a statement released late on Monday. Converto, the top owner of both Aker Philadelphia Shipyard and


Cape Ray to be Honored at USS AOTOS Event

U.S. Navy photo by Lacordrick Wilson

The MV Cape Ray, a Keystone-managed Ready Reserve Force containership that worked in the Mediterranean Sea for the U.S. Government neutralizing chemical material from Syria, will receive a special recognition on November 7 at the United Seamen's Service Admiral of the Ocean Sea (USS AOTOS) event


MOL Holds Place in Dow Jones Sustainability Index

Container ship: Image MOL

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. inform that it has once again been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) Asia Pacific, on which it has continuously held a spot since 2003. Companies chosen for the indices must meet international criteria for social responsibility in areas such as


Keel Laid for Crowley Jones Act Tanker

Photo: Crowley

First of four Crowley tankers celebrated in keel laying ceremony at Aker Shipyard The first of four Crowley Maritime Corp. product tankers was celebrated today in a keel laying ceremony held at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, Inc. (APSI), the wholly-owned U.S


MN 100: Sneed Shipbuilding, Inc.

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17112 Market Street Channelview, TX 77530 E-mail: cesneed@sneedshipbuilding.com Website: sneedshipbuilding.com Owner: Clyde Sneed Owner: Mitch Jones Number of employees: 180 The Company: Sneed operates out of its main facility, nearly 40 acres in Channelview, Texas


Shuster Receives Champion of Maritime Award

Rep. Bill Shuster is presented with the Champion of Maritime Award from the American Maritime Partnership.   L to R: Ben Billings, President, Offshore Marine Service Association; Stephen Martinko, Executive Director at Port of Pittsburgh Commission; Dave Grzebinski, President and CEO, Kirby Corporation; Thomas Allegretti, AMP Chairman and President and CEO American Waterways Operators; Rep. Bill Shuster; Barry Holliday, Executive Director for the Dredging Contractors of America; Matthew Paxton,

Congressman honored for support of domestic maritime industry.   Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) this week received the 2014 Champion of Maritime Award from the American Maritime Partnership (AMP), the voice of the domestic maritime industry


Buckeye Pipeline Quietly Makes Key Acquisition

Houston-based logistic firm Buckeye Partners has spent more than $3.5 billion buying assets since 2010, transforming itself from a quiet regional pipeline utility into an emerging energy powerhouse. But the acquisition that may best symbolize its evolution is one the company didn't tout to


Ceremony Marks the Construction of 5 American Tankers

APT 1 Start of Construction Ceremony

  General Dynamics NASSCO and City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer today signaled the start of construction of five American Petroleum Tankers at a steel cutting ceremony for the first tanker, the APT-1, at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.


Growing American Shipping Act Gaining Support

Legislation promotes revitalization of maritime industry through export of liquefied natural gas on U.S. flagged ships Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member John Garamendi (D-Calif.) held a hearing Wednesday that brought together the House Committee on Transportation and


US Shippers Seek Role in LNG, Oil Exports

Congressman Hunter

The U.S. government should ensure that international trade of U.S. natural gas, and potentially crude oil, will offer opportunities for the domestic shipping industry, maritime groups said on Wednesday. Booming shale gas production has put the United States on track to become a major exporter


Jones Act is Critical to Conn. Economy

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (left) and Rep. Joe Courtney (Photo: American Maritime Partnership)

Study shows Connecticut shipbuilding industry worth $2.5 billion to state’s economy, supports nearly 23,000 jobs The American Maritime Partnership (AMP) joined with the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) to highlight new data that shows Connecticut ranks fourth among all states in


Wishful Thinking From Across the Pond

Joseph Keefe

European Shipowners Pursue Softening of the Jones Act   Just last month, the Secretary General of the European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) opined that the sixth negotiations round of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) should include concessions


The World's Most Expensive Jones Act Tanker

courtesy of VesselsValue.com

The series highlighting the world's most expensive active vessels from online ship intelligence and information service VesselsValue.com focuses this week on the most expensive tanker vessel, which is not a VLCC but a Jones Act aframax. The first-in-class double hull tanker Liberty Bay is an


Refiners Seek Jones Act Workarounds as Crude Export Debate Heats Up

Photo: PBF Energy

As the first U.S. oil condensate exports head to Asia from the Gulf Coast, crude producers and refiners are exploring ways to get around a century-old law that makes it three times more expensive to ship by water between U.S. ports than to sail to a foreign port.


Aker Philadelphia Shipyard ASA: Purchase of own shares

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  Aker Philadelphia Shipyard AKPS), a leading U.S. commercial shipyard constructing vessels for operation in the Jones Act market, has on July 25, 2014 purchased 1,465 shares in the Company on Oslo Axess at an average price of NOK 158.68 per share, implying a total consideration of NOK 232






 
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