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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

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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


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.  


Light-Off for Pasha’s New ConRo

Image: Pasha

ConRo vessel M/V Marjorie has attained main engine light off while under final construction at VT Halter Marine, Pascagoula, Miss., signaling that the ship’s complex network of systems is complete and functional prior to delivery to Honolulu-based Pasha Hawaii


Garamendi Calls for US Shipbuilding Revitalization

Were going to build in America and Make It In America one ship, two ships, one hundred ships at a time, Garamendi said at Bay Planning Coalition Meeting.

Congressman Garamendi Makes Case for Revitalization of American Shipbuilding Industry and American Jobs at Bay Planning Coalition Meeting in Oakland   Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, Calif.), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and


AWO Urges for Congressional Support

At the Annual Barge-In, members of the American Waterways Operators discuss economic, environmental and commercial issues with members of Congress. (Photo: American Waterways Operators)

Nation's Tugboat, Towboat and Barge Industry to Call on Congress: Urge Support for Vessel Discharge Reforms, American Jobs and Waterways Reliability   The American Waterways Operators (AWO), the national trade association representing the tugboat, towboat and barge industry


SCA Stresses US Shipyards' Role to National Security

Photo by John Whalen (Huntington Ingalls Industries)

The Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA), a national trade association representing the nation’s shipbuilding and repair industry is hosting a fly-in beginning today. More than 85 members of SCA will participate to share the strength of America’s shipbuilding and repair industry


Successful Light Off for Pasha’s New ConRo

Photo by Ray Broussard

Pasha Hawaii achieves main engine light off for its new ConRo vessel, the M/V Marjorie C   ConRo vessel M/V Marjorie has attained main engine light off while under final construction at VT Halter Marine, Pascagoula, Miss., signaling that the ship’s complex network of systems is


Avoiding Pitfalls on the Water

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When a land-based contractor decides to work on water, risk can arise from unexpected places. It doesn’t have to be that way. In the past, companies involved in the marine industry, whether they were vessel operators, riggers, longshoremen, ship builders, repairers


WesPac to Build N. America’s First LNG Bunker Barge

Image: WesPac Midstream

WesPac Midstream LLC (WesPac), a provider of energy infrastructure and liquefied natural gas (LNG) solutions, and its affiliate Clean Marine Energy LLC (CME), the global facilitator of tailored solutions for Emission Control Area (ECA) compliance


Philly Tankers Lines Up Charters

Aker Philadelphia Shipyard

Philly Tankers AS announced today that its wholly owned U.S. subsidiary, Philly Tankers LLC, has entered into binding long-term time charter contracts with a domestic end-user for the two 50,000 dwt product tankers it has on order with Aker Philadelphia Shipyard (AKPS)


VT Halter Launches ATB Tug for Bouchard

ATB tug Kim M. Bouchard (Photo: VT Halter Marine)

VT Halter Marine launched ATB tug Kim M. Bouchard for Bouchard Transportation at Moss Point Marine facility on February 26, 2015. Measuring 150 feet long, the 10,000hp twin screw ATB tug is classed by ABS as A1 Towing Vessel, Dual Mode ATB, USCG Subchapter M


Bill in Congress to Expand Benefits for WWII Merchant Seamen

 U.S. Representative G.K. Butterfield (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Congress)

  Representatives G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Walter Jones (R-NC) introduced bipartisan legislation this week that would make deserving World War II U.S. Merchant Mariners eligible for honorary veterans’ status and certain veterans’ benefits, Rep


Keel of First Eco Tanker for APT laid

Mrs. Katherine Faulconer, wife of Mayor Kevin Faulconer and First Lady of San Diego, welds her initials onto a steel plate that will be permanently affixed to the APT-1’s keel. Click on the image for hi res version.

  On Saturday, March 7, General Dynamics NASSCO hosted a keel laying ceremony for the first ECO tanker for American Petroleum Tankers (APT) under construction at the company's shipyard in San Diego. San Diego's First Lady, Mrs. Katherine Faulconer, was the honoree for the ceremony.


Hempel Finalizes Acquisition of Jones-Blair Company

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  Global coatings producer Hempel announced today that it has closed its previously announced acquisition of Jones-Blair Company, a North American protective and waterproofing market supplier. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.  


Court: BP Employees Can't Be Charged Under Seaman's Manslaughter Law

   The 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard)

  A federal court ruled on Wednesday that BP well site leaders on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig cannot be charged with seaman's manslaughter in the deaths of eleven workers that died during the 2010 rig explosion because they were not seamen.  


NASSCO starts Work on 3rd ECO Tanker

Courtesy of American Petroleum Tankers

  General Dynamics NASSCO signaled the start of construction of a third "ECO" tanker to be built for American Petroleum Tankers at a steel cutting ceremony at NASSCO's San Diego-based shipyard. As part of a five-tanker contract


LNG Barge: Conrad to Build Historic First

The first 2,200cbm LNG Barge for North America will deliver in 2016. Image: GTT

WesPac Midstream LLC (WesPac) and its affiliate Clean Marine Energy LLC (CME), announced a construction contract with Conrad Orange Shipyard, Inc., a division of Conrad Shipyard, LLC, to build the first dedicated LNG bunker barge for the marine market in North America. The first 2,200 cu. m






 
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