The potential impact of Jones Act waivers

As a maritime worker in Long Beach, you know full well that many of the same standards and practices that apply to most industries have no place in your line of work. That includes the many guidelines in place providing you with workplace protections (such as injury expense compensation through the Jones Act). Yet where you aware that your company can seek a Jones Act waiver? Many have come to us here at Russell Mirkovich & Morrow questioning whether seeking such a waiver would have any impact on individual employee protections.

The Jones Act was created to help revive the domestic shipping industry following World War I. A major provision of it was that it prohibited shipments to American ports to vessels that met the following requirements:

  • Built in the U.S.
  • Owned by American companies
  • Registered under the U.S. flag

In the years immediately following the passing of the Jones Act, the U.S. merchant fleet grew to be one of the largest in the world. Recent years, however, have seen foreign-owned or foreign-manufactured ships eclipse the number of domestic vessels transporting goods and freight on the world’s waterways. Per the Congressional Research Service, these ships must seek a Jones Act waiver in order to deliver to domestic ports (this is true even for vessels that are owned by U.S. companies yet were built elsewhere).

The need for Jones Act waivers is clear, yet what might that do for you if you happen to be injured on board a vessel traveling under such a waiver? This is something that should be discussed with your employer so you and your coworkers are aware of your rights.

You can learn more about specific maritime law provisions by continuing to explore our site.

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