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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

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


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….”


Jones Act Gets Staunch Support

  The United States Congress this week enacted the strongest statement of support for the Jones Act and the American domestic maritime industry since the Merchant Marine Act of 1936. The measure was included as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R


Sen. McCain Vows Jones Act will be Repealed

Senator John McCain

  Senator John McCain said a more than 90-year-old law that requires ships servicing coastal businesses to be built and mostly staffed by U.S. crews will be repealed sooner or later if lawmakers keep fighting the trade restriction. Oil refiners


Shipbuilding Regulations: Cents and Sensibility

Integrating bolted tonnage openings into forward facing door frame bulkheads fulfills the need for tonnage reduction, but the weather-tight tonnage opening renders the water-tight door less waterproof.

Addressing the Jones Act is just one aspect of an increasingly complicated boatbuilding environment. Stovepiped, poorly conceived regulations is another. The sting of the recession is fading, but the economic vitality of the marine industry is still in jeopardy


How Difficult is it to Obtain a Jones Act Waiver?

The American Salvage Association’s Jon Waldron provides the ultimate cabotage primer. There always seems to be constant chatter about waiving the Jones Act. In reality, it is a simple task to demystify the thought that it is easy to obtain such waivers


The Legal Consequences of 46 CFR Subchapter “M”

Daniel J. Fitzgerald

As the holiday season and the end of another year quickly approaches, the towing industry patiently waits for the Coast Guard to finalize the long-awaited towing vessel inspection rule.  More than 10 years ago, Congress passed the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2004


Insights: Morton S. Bouchard III

Morton S. Bouchard  III

Insights: Morton S. Bouchard  III - President and CEO, Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc. When it comes to iconic, East Coast mainstays of the U.S. maritime industry, probably one of the first names that come to mind is ‘Bouchard.’ Likewise, Morton S


Strathpine Sailor Helps Render Safe

Seaman Communication and Information Systems sailor Annaleise Easlea raises the pennant flag during a sunset ceremony onboard HMAS Choules, in Jervis Bay.

  The lifestyle that comes with a career in the Royal Australian Navy appealed the most to Annaleise Easlea when she enlisted at age 20. Although she did not  know anyone in the Navy before she joined, Seaman Easlea has discovered the camaraderie that exists on board one of the


NASSCO Building Three Jones Act Tankers

Ceremony signals the start of construction for SEA-Vista ECO Tanker, the first of three tanker ships to be constructed locally at NASSCO. General Dynamics NASSCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, signaled the start of construction for three 50,000 deadweight ton, 330


They Said It ... Paul N. Jaenichen, U.S. Maritime Administrator

Paul N. Jaenichen, Maritime Administrator

“In a large part driven by our country’s energy boom, the domestic shipbuilding industry is seeing robust activity, the most over three decades."   "Billions of dollars are being invested to meet the demands of oil production, and nearly 30 large, self-propelled


VT Halter Begins Building LNG-powered ConRo Ships for Crowley

VT Halter Marine – Crowley Team

VT Halter Marine, Inc., a subsidiary of Vision Technologies Systems, Inc. (VT Systems), has commenced construction on the first of two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered, combination Container Roll-On/Roll-Off (ConRo) vessels for Crowley following the signing of the contract


Sen. McConnell Named Champion of Maritime

Stephen Little, President and CEO of Paducah, KY based Crounse Corporation presents the Champion of Maritime award to Senator Mitch McConnell, who noted the huge impact America’s domestic maritime industry has in his home state of Kentucky.

Kentucky ranks top five in nation for U.S. maritime jobs Today, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was named a Champion of Maritime by the American Maritime Partnership (AMP), the voice of the domestic maritime industry. As U.S. Senate Minority Leader


AMP's Allegretti Questions Jones Act Critics

AMP Chairman Tom Allegretti

Tom Allegretti, Chairman of the American Maritime Partnership (AMP), the voice of the domestic maritime industry, today highlighted the continued renaissance of the nation’s maritime sector, particularly its robust response to meet new water transportation demands created by the surge in


NCE Opens Office in Alabama

Nathan Jones

Noise Control Engineering, LLC (NCE) opened a new office in Mobile, Ala. The office will be staffed by Nathan Jones, a Senior Engineer with more than 10 years of experience at NCE. “Our customers along the Gulf Coast region are a very important part of our business and this office will


XL Offers KRE Cover to Yacht Owners

Denise Balan

  To help yacht owners navigate increasingly risky waters, XL Group is adding a Kidnap, Ransom & Extortion (KRE) Crisis endorsement to ShipShape, and ShipShape Plus, its recreational marine insurance coverages. "Crisis events like kidnapping


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






 
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