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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

Grill_web.jpg

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.  


APT’s 2nd ECO Class Product Carrier Christened

Magnolia State (Photo: General Dynamics NASSCO)

 On Saturday, April 23, General Dynamics NASSCO hosted a christening ceremony for the second Jones Act ECO Class tanker for American Petroleum Tankers (APT) under construction at the company's shipyard in San Diego. U.S. Representative Scott Peters spoke at the ceremony


Crowley’s Roberts Outlines Support for Puerto Rico, Jones Act

Michael Roberts, Crowleys senior vice president and general counsel (Photo: Crowley)

As U.S. lawmakers address means to stabilize Puerto Rico’s economy, Crowley Maritime Corporation’s senior vice president and general counsel, Michael Roberts, was called upon to offer recommendations for supporting the island’s economy and strengthening the U.S


Crowley to Christen 3rd LNG-ready Product Tanker

Louisiana (Photo: Crowley)

Crowley Maritime Corp. announced it will hold a christening ceremony Thursday, May 5 in New Orleans for the newly built Louisiana, the company’s third of four new Jones Act product tankers.   The 600-foot-long, 50,000-dead-weight-ton (dwt), 330


NASSCO Delivers First ECO Class Tanker for SEA-Vista

Photo: General Dynamics NASSCO

On Thursday, April 28, 2016, General Dynamics NASSCO delivered the first ship in a series of three ECO Class tankers currently under construction for SEA-Vista LLC. The newly-built Independence is a 610-foot, 50,000 deadweight-ton, LNG-conversion-ready product tanker with a 330


More than 100 Graduate from SUNY Maritime

Morton Bouchard III, President & CEO of Bouchard Transportation

More than 100 students crossed the stage to receive their degrees at State University of New York Maritime College Jan. 29.   Graduates represent 15 fields of study, a quarter of them at the graduate level. More than 60 of them will also graduate with U.S


Vessel Discharge Amendment Push Continues

Craig Montesano (Photo: AWO

AWO voices strong opposition to McCain anti-Jones Act amendment   The American Waterways Operators (AWO) is continuing an intensive lobbying campaign to bring the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) to a vote in the Senate and working with the American Maritime Partnership to strenuously


K&L's Gorton Stresses Critical Role of Jones Act

Gorton: “Helping plug a porous border is a benefit of the Jones Act that is far too often overlooked and one that should not be underestimated by any presidential candidate.”   A former member of the 9-11 Commission recently wrote in The Hill that an “often


Offshore Vessels: Squall Delivered to Jackson Offshore Operators

(Photo: BAE Systems/Jackson Offshore Operators)

BAE Systems delivered its fourth and final of series platform support vessel (PSV) to Jackson Offshore Operators, LLC, completing a four-ship program that began in 2012. Motor Vessel Squall joins three other vessels built by BAE Systems’ Jacksonville, Florida, shipyard to support U.S


Marad Chief, Coast Guard Commandant Advocate for Jones Act

Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft  (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard)

Adm. Zukunft: “If you take the mariners away, what is the world going to look like 10 years from now? If we don’t have a US fleet or US shipyard to constitute that fleet, how do we prevail?”   The House subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation held a hearing


AMP Honors Senator Mazie Hirono

2016 Champion of Maritime award recipient Sen. Mazie Hirono(D-HI) Photo AMP

The American Maritime Partnership (AMP), the voice of the domestic maritime industry, today recognized U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) with the 2016 Champion of Maritime Award. Sen. Hirono is honored for her long-standing support and commitment to the men and women of American Maritime in her work


LNG Engine Set in Crowley's New ConRo Ship

Image: Crowley

The main engine has been set onto Crowley Maritime Corporation’s new vessel, El Coquí, the first of two new Commitment Class ConRo (combination container and Roll/On-Roll/Off) ships that will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) for use in the ocean cargo trade between


Manage and Mitigate Risk on the Water

Tracy Markowski

Strengthening your marine insurance   Early in the morning on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Golf Coast of the United States. Hurricane Katrina was the worst insured loss event in the history of insurance anywhere in the world. It was bigger than 9/11


AWO President Champions the Jones Act

Tom Allegretti (File photo)

On April 14 in testimony before the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Tom Allegretti, President & CEO of The American Waterways Operators (AWO), will press for continued defense of the Jones Act and a uniform federal


Third LNG-ready Tanker Delivered to Crowley

Photo: Crowley

Crowley takes delivery of Louisiana, third Jones Act tanker with LNG capability   Crowley Maritime Corp. has taken delivery of Louisiana, the third of four new, Jones Act product tankers being built for the company by Philly Shipyard, Inc


AWO, Stakeholders 'Barge In' at Capitol Hill

American Waterways Operators discuss U.S. jobs, vessel discharges and national security with members of Congress during annual Barge-In. (PRNewsFoto/American Waterways Operators)

American Tugboat, Towboat and Barge Industry Urged Support for American Jobs, Vessel Discharge Reform, and Waterways Infrastructure.   Members of the American Waterways Operators, the national trade association representing the tugboat, towboat and barge industry






 
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