Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Is it time to repeal the Jones Act?

If you have read the press over the last few months you might think it is time to repeal the Jones Act – just a few of the headlines have been:

·         Want energy independence?
o   Waive the Jones Act  --The unsustainability of the Jones Act is becoming more and more apparent as it runs headlong into the energy debate.
·         Missing the mark on the Jones Act
o   The Detroit News …The professor says the widely supported Merchant Marine Act of 1920 — better known as the Jones Act — hurts our nation's security and our booming ...

·         Congressional questions on LNG exports could impact the Jones Act
o   Last month, Congress began consideration of comprehensive legislation to reauthorize the Coast Guard and other maritime transportation programs.

·         Our road salt is finally here, but the Jones Act cost NJ taxpayers an extra $700,000 to get it
o   New Jersey spent $700,000 more to have road salt shipped from Maine to Port Newark by barge than it would have cost had the federal government ...

·         Jones Act waiver denied! So let's close the interstates until NJ gets rock salt
o   Shove the Jones Act right back into his unionista-loving face. The whole thing is absurd. There's a ship ready to get the salt here within 2 days. But it's ...

·         Antiquated law adds billions to fuel costs - New York Post
o   An obscure 1920 law is costing Americans billions of dollars a year in higher fuel costs. The Jones Act requires that cargo shipped from one US port to ...

But this deals exclusively with the Cabotage part of the Jones Act, and make no reference to the crew injury section which we tend to focus on in Marine Insurance.

I am not going to debate here the merit or otherwise of repealing the Cabotage portion… but the likelihood is that if the act is replaced the crew injury part, it’s 90 or so year of use, interpretation and case law could be swept away with the stoke of a pen.

So,  Maritime Attorneys and Claims Specialist, what would you think crew claims would be like IF the Jones Act would be repealed?    Would the result be overall better or worse for us in marine insurance?   Would it create even more uncertainty in crew claims?

However much you might support the idea of repealing the Cabotage section of the law, consider the consequences on crew injuries for the future!

Please post a reply to this to express your thoughts. By entering it into the box below and hitting “publish”.


Ian Greenway