U.S. cabotage laws
- Members and Friends,For some of us this is review material; for others an introduction to this critical aspect of maritime law.Our council luncheon 1130, Monday, June 9th will hopefully have a panel of speakers on United States cabotage laws. For the occasion we are moving from our lovely lady S. S. JEREMIAH O'BRIEN's hold # 2 over to Quinn's Lighthouse Restaurant on the Oakland Estuary.Save the date. If you would like to be a panel participant please contact me.Phelps(916) 739-6949 | PMMC at cwo dot comWelcome to Quinn's Lighthouse Restaurant & Pub ... a quiet and relaxing dining atmosphere overlooking the gorgeous Oakland Estuary. ...www.quinnslighthouse.com - 9k - Cached
HOME ABOUT MEDIA CENTER INVESTOR OPERATIONS CONTACT Jones Act Background
The U.S. cabotage laws, commonly referred to as the Jones Act, require all commercial vessels transporting merchandise between ports in the United States to be built, owned, operated and manned by U.S. citizens and to be registered under the U.S. flag. The law applies to any vessel operating between two U.S. ports, whether in the continental United States, or non-contiguous states of Hawaii and Alaska, and also Puerto Rico. It functions to as a barrier to entry for low-cost foreign carriers, which are not subject to the same wage, labor and environmental regulations faced by U.S. shipbuilders and operators.The Jones Act industry accounts for:
$14.0 Billion in annual economic output and 84,000 jobs in U.S. shipyards
70,000 jobs working on or with Jones Act vessels
Over 39,000 vessels of all sizes representing an investment of $30 billion
The Jones Act is an essential feature of U.S. national security policy as it provides required capacity to support national security needs and avoid complete dependence on ships controlled by foreign nations. Since the U.S. maritime position in international trades has declined significantly in the last three decades, the Jones Act is the primary maritime market for U.S. shipyards and operators, and its maintenance is key to Aker American Shippings continued success.
Implementation of the Jones Act is the responsibility of the United States Coast Guard, which oversees ship construction, repair and rebuilding, as well as reviewing ownership structures to ensure compliance with the Jones Act.
Like many nations around the world, the United States has sought to protect its domestic maritime industries since the founding of the nation. It was early recognized that the United States is an "island" nation, wholly dependent on ocean-going trade for its economic and national security. Thus, creation and support of a domestic industry was recognized as a critical national policy.
While the first cabotage laws were enacted in the early 19th Century, Congress enacted the current statutory language in 1920, and has added a number of amendments since to strengthen and broaden its application.
The Jones Act enjoys broad and consistent support in the Congress, primarily due to the combined advocacy efforts of the seagoing trade unions; shipyards; and vessel owners. A large lobbying organization, the Maritime Cabotage Task Force (www.mctf.com) was formed more than 10 years ago and has grown to represent not only those directly involved in the Jones Act, but many allied parties as well. It maintains an active effort to build support for the Jones Act among U.S. government officials and to discourage any attempts to weaken or modify the law.
In addition, two shipbuilding organizations, the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) and the American Shipbuilding Association (ASA) maintain active advocacy efforts to build and maintain support for the Jones Act. Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, Inc. is on the board of the SCA, which is comprised of U.S. commercial shipyards, and participates in its lobbying activities as well as maintaining its own active lobbying presence in Washington.
While the Jones Act has been criticized by economists, some in the shipping community, and other nations seeking to dominate the U.S. domestic maritime markets, no serious effort has been made in the U.S. Congress to amend or weaken the Jones Act. Since 9/11, the national security aspects of the Jones Act have served to strengthen the support it enjoys in the Congress.
Evidence of the support for the Jones Act can be found in the explicit exemption granted to U.S. cabotage laws under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which sought to eliminate all barriers to trade. All subsequent trade agreements maintain this exclusion, despite continued complaints by other maritime nations.
In recognition of the need to attract additional investment in new vessels, Congress enacted modifications to the Jones Act ownership requirements in 1996. The changes permitted ownership structures such as that created by Aker American Shipping (AKASA) to own Jones Act vessels and lease them.
Merchant Marine Act of 1920
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia(Redirected from Jones Act (sailor rights))
The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 is a United States Federal statute that regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports. It is a cabotage law which also contains provisions regarding seamen's rights. It is commonly referred to as the Jones Act, in reference to the bill's sponsor Senator Wesley L. Jones of Washington.
It is necessary for the national defense and for the proper growth of its foreign and domestic commerce that the United States shall have a merchant marine of the best equipped and most suitable types of vessels sufficient to carry the greater portion of its commerce and serve as a naval or military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency, ultimately to be owned and operated privately by citizens of the United States; and it is declared to be the policy of the United States to do whatever may be necessary to develop and encourage the maintenance of such a merchant marine, and, in so far as may not be inconsistent with the express provisions of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall, in the disposition of vessels and shipping property as hereinafter provided, in the making of rules and regulations, and in the administration of the shipping laws keep always in view this purpose and object as the primary end to be attained.
Sec. 1. Purpose and policy of United States (46 App. U.S.C. 861 (2002)), MARAD
The cabotage provisions restrict the carriage of goods or passengers between United States ports to U.S. built and flagged vessels. In addition, at least 75 percent of the crewmembers must be U.S. citizens. Moreover foreign repair work of U.S.-flagged vessels' hull and superstructure is limited to 10 percent foreign-built steel weight. This restriction largely prevents American ships from refurbishing their ships at overseas shipyards.
The U.S. Congress adopted the Merchant Marine Act in 1920, formerly 46 USC Sec. 688 and codified on October 6, 2006 as 46 USC Sec. 3010. The Act formalized the rights of seaman which have been recognized for centuries.
"From the very beginning of American civilization, courts have protected seaman whom the courts have described as 'unprotected and in need of counsel; because they are thoughtless and require indulgence; because they are credulous and complying; and are easily overreached. They are emphatically the wards of admiralty.'" Capitol Hill Hearing Testimony, Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee; Testimony by John Hickley, attorney at law. Congressional Quarterly. March 27, 2007.
It allows injured sailors to obtain damages from their employers for the negligence of the shipowner, the captain, or fellow members of the crew. It operates simply by extending similar legislation already in place that allowed for recoveries by railroad workers and providing that this legislation also applies to sailors. Its operative provision is found at 46 U.S.C. 688(a), which provides:
"Any sailor who shall suffer personal injury in the course of his employment may, at his election, maintain an action for damages at law, with the right to trial by jury, and in such action all statutes of the United States modifying or extending the common-law right or remedy in cases of personal injury to railway employees shall apply..."
This allows U.S. seamen to bring actions against ship owners based on claims of unseaworthiness or negligence. These are rights not afforded by common international maritime law.
The United States Supreme Court, in the case of Chandris, Inc., v. Latsis, 515 U.S. 347, 115 S.Ct. 2172 (1995), has ruled that any worker who spends more than 30 percent of his time in the service of a vessel on navigable waters qualifies as a seaman under the act. An action under the act may be brought either in a U.S. federal court or in a state court.
Critics note that the legislation results in costs for moving cargoes between U.S. ports that are far higher than if such restrictions did not apply. In essence, they argue, the act is protectionism.
Opponents contend that the U.S. shipbuilding industry has suffered as a result. Ship operators are given an incentive to maintain veteran U.S.-built vessels rather than replace them with new tonnage. In addition, U.S. shipyards have adapted to building only those ships that are needed by operators, with price tags that reflect their all-American workforces. Subsequently, the claim is that U.S. shipbuilders have long since priced themselves out of the international market for merchant ships.
A 2001 U.S. Department of Commerce Study study indicates that U.S. shipyards built only 1 percent of the world's large commercial ships. Ships are virtually never ordered in U.S. shipyards unless they are for use in Jones Act trade. The report concluded that the lack of United States competitiveness stemmed from foreign subsidies, unfair trade practices, and lack of U.S. productivity.
Moreover, critics point to the lack of a U.S.-flagged international shipping fleet. They claim that it makes it economically impossible for U.S.-flagged, -built, and -crewed ships to compete internationally with vessels built and registered in other nations with crews willing to work for wages that are a fraction of what their U.S. counterparts earn.
"The Jones Act steals jobs from American seamen who could be working on coastwise freighters and feeders." Rob Quartel, president of the Reform Coalition.
Supporters of the Jones Act maintain that the legislation is of strategic economic and wartime interest to the United States. The act, they say, protects the nation's sealift capability and its ability to produce commercial ships. In addition, the act is seen as a vital factor in helping maintain a viable workforce of trained merchant mariners for commerce and national emergencies. Supporters say that it also protects seafarers from deplorable living and working conditions often found on foreign-flagged ships.
Some proponents make the case that allowing foreign-flagged ships to engage in commerce in our domestic sea lanes would be like letting a foreign automaker establish a plant in the U.S. which doesn't have to pay U.S. wages, taxes, or meet national safety or environmental standards.
"If someone were to propose that we let foreign workers compete with GM workers in the U.S., they would be laughed at." Arthur J. Volkle, associate general counsel, MARITRANS Inc.; a Philadelphia-based tug and barge operator.
Waivers of Jones Act provisions
Requests for waivers of certain provisions of the act are reviewed by the United States Maritime Administration on a case by case basis. Waivers have been granted for example, in cases of national emergencies or in cases of strategic interest. For instance, declining oil production prompted MARAD to grant a waiver to operators of the 512-foot Chinese vessel Tai An Kou to tow an oil rig from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska. The jackup rig will be under a two-year contract to drill in the Alaska's Cook Inlet Basin. The waiver to the Chinese vessel is said to be the first of its kind granted to an independent oil-and-gas company.
Pressure exerted by 21 agriculture groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, failed to secure a Jones Act waiver following Hurricane Katrina. The groups contended that farmers would be adversely affected without additional shipping options to transport grains and oilseeds.
- ^ "Cabotage laws put the Act in frame: Push to tighten legislation may spark WTO review," Lloyd's List International. September 13, 2006.Lloyd's List (subscription required for news content)
- ^ a b "Maritime law tough to navigate," Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. October 3, 2006.
- ^ a b c "Reform has spurred debate," The Virginian-Pilot. November 19, 1995.
- ^ a b "Coast wise: the U.S. marine Jeff Ownz is keeping a close watch on Maritime Act assaults," Workboat. January 1, 2007.
- The full text of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920
- Impact on American Labor/Merchant Marine Act
- Summary of contents of Merchant Marine Act of 1920
- Testimony by Deputy Maritime Administrator on September 15, 1998 in Support
Laws relating to the United States Merchant Marine 1870s Shipping Commissioners Act of 1872 1880s Dingley Act 1890s Maguire Act of 1895 White Act of 1898 1910s Seamen's Act 1920s Jones Act 1930s Merchant Marine Act of 1936 Current Title 33 CFR Title 46 CFR