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New York Maritime Law Blog

Why are some opposed to the Jones Act?

There are many laws that dictate what can and cannot be done on U.S. waterways, including in New York. Some of them are looked upon favorably while others may be seen as hindering trade and business. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 or the Jones Act is one such law that some people see as being good and others see as being an issue. Issues were really brought to light after the hurricanes hit Puerto Rico.

According to NBC News, the Jones Act says that domestic trade is restricted to only vessels flying under the U.S. flag. Ships have to built in the U.S. and have citizens sailing and owning them. The main issue was the cost of using only U.S. ships to provide supplies to the island during the recovery period. People opposing the law said it was raising costs and slowing down efforts.

Accepting an advance in conjunction with maintenance and cure

Many of the maritime workers in Manhattan who have been injured while on the job find that while the maintenance and cure payments they are entitled to receive are helpful, they are often not enough to cover both their injury-related expenses as well as the cost of daily living. Thus, they may be put in a position of needing to seek more compensation. Some employers might offer an advance on a seaman's wages on top of maintenance and cure payments. While this might seem advantageous, one should consider the implications of accepting such assistance. 

Maintenance and cure payments are not taxable given that they are not considered to be income. Some often view advances in the same light. They are seen as up-front monetary gifts provided by an employer. It is for this reason that the website Bizfilings.com lists advances as being among the exceptions to taxable income. 

Determining Ladder Liability for Longshoremen

For longshoremen in Manhattan, the process of loading and unloading ships can be a tough and grueling experience. This is especially true when faced with faulty or otherwise compromised equipment, such as ladders used to gain access to hard-to-reach areas of a boat. If you’re injured using a ladder, you may have questions regarding liability and whether the owner of the vessel is ultimately responsible to provide compensation. In this case, Pacific Maritime Magazine offers insight into this common issue.

The Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act

What to do if you believe you were wrongfully terminated

Being terminated from your job is a hard situation to be in. As a union worker, you have contracts that outline what protects your position and what decisions your employer can make about your employment. Even with protections, some employees are fired for illegal reasons. This includes a sickness from working at sea, disability or injury from an accident on board or refusing to go against regulations. If you have been fired and believe you were subject to discrimination, it may be a wrongful termination.

 

3 Cruise Ship Risks to Be Aware Of

Manhattan vacationers may view cruise ships as a great way to see the world in a safe and convenient manner. However, cruise ships carry numerous risks for their passengers, some of which can have deadly consequences under the right circumstances. Being aware of these risks is crucial, especially when your entire family is onboard.

Norovirus Can Occur

Tips on Preventing Boating Accidents From Occurring

Safety is a key concern for all New York boaters. Failure to follow the rules may easily lead to a serious boating accident, which can sometimes have devastating consequences. While you can’t always prevent an accident from occurring, there are steps you can take to lessens to chance of significant injury or property damage. BoatingMag.com offers the following advice to ensure safe time is had by all on the water.

Be Prepared For Falls

Understanding cause of action

It may be easy to assume that any time you are injured in Manhattan, the potential for assigning liability exists. Many come to us here at Tabak Mellusi & Shisha LLP with this mindset, only to be disappointed to learn that in order to pursue a claim, you must first have cause of action. While cause of action requirements can often be quite general, it is still helpful to understand the concept behind them in order to be sure in knowing if you do or do not have legal recourse in a certain situation. 

According to the Cornell Law School, "cause of action" is defined as "a set of predefined factual elements that allow for a legal remedy." This implies that in order to seek benefits under a statute such as the Longshore Act, you must meet its specific qualification requirements. Per the act itself, only those injuries or accidents that occurred upon navigable waters of the U.S. qualify for compensation. For the purposes of this Act, "navigable waters" is meant to include: 

  • Piers, wharfs and terminals
  • Dry docks, building ways and marine railway stations
  • Areas used by employers for loading, unloading, repairing, dismantling or building vessels 

When can maritime workers be tested for alcohol?

Drunken sailors appear frequently in popular culture, singing shanties from the deck while seeking buried treasure. However, professional maritime workers know that alcohol use can have serious consequences at sea. In recent years, the maritime industry has put alcohol testing procedures in place to make the stereotype a thing of the past. Maritime workers should expect testing to occur in a few different circumstances.

Former CO of USS John McCain pleads guilty to negligence charges

The former commanding officer of the USS John McCain pleaded guilty in late May to dereliction of duty as part of a plea deal in the case involving a fatal crash with an oil tanker in a busy Singapore waterway. The August 2017 collision killed 10 sailors and injured many others.

The plea deal for former CO Alfredo Sanchez comes just ahead of the June 15 deadline for injured sailors and their families to file claims for damages.

How does the maritime industry protect its workers?

For New York employees who clock into work while on the water, uncertainty is simply part of the job. Because the maritime industry inevitably deals with some of the earth's most powerful elements, workers must go through special training before starting positions. This training can be very rigorous and time-consuming, and while some might believe these measures are unnecessary, they play a vital role in keeping employees safe.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is quick to point out that the maritime industry is a crucial one; after all, over 400,000 Americans work in this field. With that said, this industry is among the most dangerous lines of work in the U.S. The fatality rate of the water transportation industry alone is 4.7 times higher than the fatality rate of all U.S. employees. Exposure to safety risks -- including extreme temperatures, unpredictable weather and vessel disasters -- make this field a dangerous one. The NIOSH frequently conducts research and studies that aim to make working conditions for maritime employees safer, and also offers a number of resources on the many hazards presented in this industry.

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