The posts in this blog that reference the Jones Act refer to it in terms of the protections that it provides you as a maritime worker in the event of an injury you sustain while in the service of your vessel. This could make it easy to forget that the Jones Act was part of the larger Merchant Marine Act, whose primary purpose was to build up a merchant fleet sufficient enough to sustain the U.S. and its allies. The complexity of the Act may make it easy to overlook the fact that included within it is the option to waive it.
New York fishermen work for a variety of commercial operators. Some are highly-mechanized ocean-going vessels, while others use a blend of modern and traditional techniques. Commercial fishing is a physically demanding job. Injuries can occur at any time, whether you are in the galley or on deck. At Tabak Mellusi & Shisha LLP, we often represent clients in maritime accident claims.
People in New York may well see billboards that reference the Jones Act, blaming it for excessive congestion on area roads. This is just one of the more recent efforts initiated by The Cato Institute to push for reform of the nation's laws governing domestic waterways.
While commercial fishing plays a vital economic role, those who fulfill these jobs face a tremendous amount of risk on a daily basis. When an accident occurs very serious injuries can happen as a result, which can either have long-term physical effects or even end in loss of life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain some of the most common risks and how fishing companies can take steps to protect their workers.
Many people in New York may be aware that there are laws governing maritime passage and commerce in U.S. waterways. One of these is called the Jones Act or the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. At nearly a century old, this law today has its share of both supporters and opponents. People in the former category herald the law as an important element in supporting American jobs and national security. People in the latter category suggest the law should be done away with.
New York is one of this country’s major ports and as such, numerous New Yorkers work in the shipping industry in some capacity. If they contract an illness or suffer an injury during their employment, the Jones Act provides the method for them to recover their medical costs, lost wages and daily living expenses from their employer, even if they were not on board their ship at the time of their accident or the onset of their illness.
Going to work every day in Manhattan (no matter the profession) can be difficult for anyone. Any number of challenges and risks could await you. Fortunately, you are typically able to draw some comfort from the knowledge that should something happen to you on the job, there are resources in place to help (such as workers' compensation benefits). You might face a heightened number of on-the-job risks when you work in the maritime industry. For injuries that happen while at sea, you can rely on protection through the Jones Act. Many in your profession may view workers' compensation benefits and those offered through the Jones Act as being the same thing. Yet are they?
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.
It is a ship owner’s duty to provide a seaworthy vessel, one that is safe for New Yorkers to work on, according to Accessible Marine Insurance. If you are injured due to an unsafe condition, you may claim it is due to the unseaworthiness of the vessel. Offshore drilling rigs, barges, helicopters, floating casinos and more can be classified as a vessel in a broad legal sense.
Regardless of the specific career path, a job in the maritime industry can become more demanding than work in other fields in many ways. Certain laws in the nation aim to protect workers from the dangers inherent in daily shifts, such as heavy machinery, safety risks of ships and unpredictable weather. Many New York maritime workers have a world of questions when it comes to those laws, however, as they have changed continuously over recent decades.