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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.  


The US Election: Ramifications for Maritime

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Clinton vs. Trump. Perhaps one of the most important presidential elections in U.S. history, the 2016 Election Day results with have impacts felt far and wide – and all throughout maritime industry. A proverb common to both Greek and Turkish cultures states that a wolf may


NASSCO Delivers Jones Act Tanker to SEA-Vista

Constitution (Photo: General Dynamics NASSCO)

On November 8, 2016, shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO delivered the American Jones Act-qualified ECO Class tanker Constitution to SEA-Vista LLC. The ship was delivered during a signing ceremony at the builder’s shipyard in San Diego.   


HMAS Glenelg Saves Sea Turtles

Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Chay Westcott, Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Sarah Anderson and Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Simone Van Dam work to free a turtle caught in a drifting net. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

 A quiet watch was the expectation for Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate James Cole in patrol boat HMAS Glenelg, but what he got was a lesson in ocean rescue for some entangled wildlife.   “I stepped on to the bridge wing to get some fresh air and as I did


Sensors Sailor Relishes Operational Role

Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Andrew Dingle, in front of HMAS Arunta alongside at Fleet Base West, Garden Island. Photo: Royal Australian Navy

 Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Andrew Dingle is realising his career aspirations onboard HMAS Arunta as part of the Royal Australian Navy team sailing to the Middle East.   Able Seaman Dingle deployed recently as part of a 191 member crew bound for Operation MANITOU -


Navy Surveys North Sea for Links to the Toughness of its Past

Underwater archaeologists from the Naval History and Heritage Command are aboard Grasp conducting a remote sensing survey of a shipwreck that may be that of Revolutionary War ship Bonhomme Richard. Commanded by John Paul Jones, Bonhomme Richard was lost Sept. 23, 1779 following her victory over the much more heavily armed HMS Serapis. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric LockwoodReleased)

A multinational group of Sailors and scientists from a variety commands, organizations and militaries searched for the wreckage of Revolutionary War ship Bonhomme Richard, Sept. 2-9. Underwater archaeologists from the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC)


NASSCO Delivers Fourth Product Tanker to APT

Bay State underway during sea trials in September 2016 (Photo: General Dynamics NASSCO)

General Dynamics NASSCO has delivered Bay State, the fourth of five new Jones Act ECO Class product carriers under contract with American Petroleum Tankers (APT). The vessel was delivered on Monday, September 26 during a signing ceremony at the NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.  


New Tractor Tug for Jones Marine Group

The David J just off the Sylte Shipyard on the Fraser River (Photo courtesy of Haig-Brown/Cummins)

Steady, smooth, powerful, highly maneuverable: these were comments from mariners on board for sea trials of Jones Marine Group’s new tractor tug, David J. The new workboat was put through its paces in fine form. The boat is an A.G. McIlwain-designed 53 by 26


Interview: Aaron Smith Zeroes in on the Offshore Sector

Aaron Smith

Insights: Aaron Smith - President and CEO, Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA); Executive Director, OSVDPA   As the Executive Director for the Offshore Supply Vessel Dynamic Positioning Authority (OSVDPA), Aaron Smith is charged with managing the day-to-day operation of the Authority


CSL Head Rod Jones to Retire

Rod Jones (left) and Louis Martel (right) (Photo: CSL Group)

CSL Group head Rod Jones will retire effective March 31, 2017, after a career with the Canadian dry bulk shipper that spans over 30 years, including nine years as president and chief executive officer. Louis Martel, currently CSL International president and CSL Group executive vice-president


Crowley Hits Milestones in Puerto Rico Investment

A view of the starboard side of  El Coquí under construction.  (Photo courtesy of Crowley)

Highlighting the economic impact under the Jones Act of its $500 million investment in the trade between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico, Crowley Maritime Corporation’s liner services group reached new milestones in its construction of two new


Moody's: Ratings of Overseas Shipholding on Review for Downgrade

Photo: OSG

 Moody's Investors Service, has placed the ratings of Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. (OSG) under review for downgrade, including its B2 corporate family and Caa1 senior unsecured ratings, and the B1 and Ba2 senior secured debt ratings of its subsidiaries, OSG Bulk Ships, Inc


Team Navy Sailors Impress at Bathurst

Royal Australian Navy Officers met with Team Navy Mechanic Seaman Dale Tyce-Nelson on the starting Grid at Bathurst on Race Day. Photo:  Royal Australian Navy

 Australian Navy made its mark in the sky and on the ground at this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 supercars race.   Building on the year-round Team Navy technical sailor out-placement program with Prodrive Racing Australia


Australian Navy Role-models Boosted by Graduation

Past graduates of the Defence Indigenous Development Program (DIDP), also graduated from General Entry 346 Emms Division at Recruit School, HMAS Cerberus, Victoria. Photo: Royal Australian Navy.

 Eleven Indigenous young men and women graduated from Navy Recruit training in one hit on October 13 in front of family, friends and the Chief of Navy.    For Seaman Star Marine Technician Jeff Andrews, the hard work was well worth the effort.   


Wiernicki Receives Admiral of the Ocean Seas Award

Christopher J. Wiernicki (Photo: ABS)

ABS Chairman, President and CEO, Christopher J. Wiernicki, was honored for his contributions to the maritime industry by the United Seamen’s Service (USS) as a recipient of the Admiral of the Ocean Seas Award on October  28, 2016 in New York.  


HMAS Melbourne Tests Endurance

(L-R) Sub Lieutenant Katrina Burkett, Able Seaman Jacob Macgregor, Able Seaman Blake Ridge and Chief Petty Officer Len Harrison take time out for photo on the Oxfam Trail Walk Challenge. Photo:  Royal Australian Navy

 A four-person team from the ship's company of HMAS Melbourne raised $3,000 when they pushed their personal limits in the Oxfam Australia 100 kilometre Trail Walk Challenge.    Led by Sub Lieutenant Katrina Burkett the team set off from the Sydney suburb of Brooklyn






 
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