Jones Act Seaman
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
Efforts by U.S. officials and oil firms to waive Jones Act shipping requirements and increase available oil tankers to the Northeast are so far dead in the water, the U.S. Department of Transportation said. "No one has made a credible case in the Executive branch or Congress to grant waivers or eviscerate the Jones Act," John Graykowski, acting administrator of the Maritime Administration told Reuters. The Jones Act -- which is overseen by the Department of Transportation's Maritime
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) requires that all vessels navigating in Panama Canal waters comply with the manning requirements in order to guarantee a safe and expeditious transit or docking maneuver at the ports located at both ends of the Canal.
Commitment Class Jones-Act Ships to Offer Lower Emissions; Increased Speed, Reliability and Capacity, and Optimized Vehicle Shipping Decks. The next chapter in Crowley’s storied history of shipping and logistics services between the United States mainland and Puerto Rico will be written
Six vessels and two individual mariners were recognized for courageous acts at sea at the 44th annual United Seamen's Service (USS) 2013 Admiral of the Ocean Sea Awards (AOTOS) attended by more than 700 guests at the Sheraton Times Square Hotel in New York City.
General Dynamics NASSCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, has entered into a contract with Seabulk Tankers, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of SEACOR Holdings Inc. for the design and construction of a 50,000 deadweight ton LNG-conversion-ready product carrier with a 330
General Dynamics NASSCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, has entered into a contract with Seabulk Tankers, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of SEACOR Holdings Inc., for the design and construction of one 50,000 deadweight ton LNG-conversion-ready product carrier with a 330
Matson Navigation Company, Inc., a U.S. carrier in the Pacific Ocean, announced an order today for two MAN B&W, 7S90ME-GI dual fuel engines with liquefied natural gas (LNG) capability to be installed aboard two new “Aloha Class” 3
Matson Signs Contract With Aker Philadelphia Shipyard For Two New "Aloha Class" Containerships, First Ship To Be Named The Daniel K. Inouye. Matson, Inc., a U.S. carrier in the Pacific, announced today that its subsidiary, Matson Navigation Company, Inc
International Shipholding Corporation (ISC) reported a net loss of $2.2 million for the three months ended September 30, 2013, which included a $2.0 million reduction from the impact of sequestration on the U.S. Maritime Security Program and $1
Houston-based maritime law firm Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris recently obtained what is believed to be one of the largest settlements paid by the United States to a Jones Act seaman. According to court documents, their client, a 58-year-old seaman was working aboard the S.S
Eighteen Northrop Grumman Corporation employees received awards for their achievements at the 2013 Women of Color STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Conference in Dallas this weekend. The conference recognizes outstanding women in the STEM fields and provides opportunities for
A recent ruling by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals clears the way for seaman to recover punitive damages in unseaworthiness claims, according to Jones Act attorney Matthew Shaffer. In the facts of the case, McBride v. Estis Well Serv., L.L.C., No
The Benefits to the Scope of Coverage in an Expanded Responder Immunity Regime are many. The response industry has been extremely supportive of a coalition effort to work with Congress to enact enhancements to the current responder immunity provisions enacted by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990
The continued existence of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 carries with it substantial economic and financial benefits. Its repeal could be catastrophic. The three-legged stool commonly referred to as the Jones Act is officially known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920
Taking a serious view of the suspicious movement of the American-owned ship, 'MV Seaman Guard Ohio' in Indian waters, the Central Indian Government seeks a report from the Tamil Nadu Government on the vessel which was detained for carrying arms and buying diesel fuel without authorization in India
Bryan N. Jones has joined HDR in Boston as a senior project manager for the Ports & Maritime group, a growing team of HDR marine specialists in the Northeast to support an increasing number of assignments following Super Storm Sandy. He will also focus on business development with key ports