The Jones Act rules that goods must be transported on ships that are owned, built and run by United States citizens. This legislation isn’t enforced all the time but on a case-by-case basis depending on the reason why things are shipped.
In October, the United States decided to enforce the Jones Act to build offshore wind farms. In order to comply with the Jones Act, all ships involved in the building of these wind farms or the transport of materials must be built and maintained by U.S. residents.
How do shipbuilders and maritime professionals comply with the Jones Act?
The Jones Act requires that the ships be built in the United States. For a ship to be considered built in the United States, it must meet a few requirements:
- All major components of the hull and superstructure must be built domestically.
- The ship must have been assembled in the United States.
There are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, if a builder is using foreign steel because it better suits the needs of the ship, they might be granted an exception. However, it’s not safe to assume these exceptions will become the rule. If there are any questions about what materials would comply with the Jones Act, research should be done.
How does the Jones Act impact maritime professionals?
The Jones Act often requires that new ships be built to be compliant if the existing ships aren’t. If maritime professionals can’t comply with the Jones Act, they risk losing the contract or even being fined.
There are consequences to not using compliant ships under maritime law. It’s important to know the individual parts of the ships that a builder is looking to use as well as be prepared to answer questions about the Jones Act.