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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Keeping up with the Jones Act

There was an interesting piece in Lloyd's List today in defence of the Jones Act. Coincidentally, the shipping team at Moore Stephens has also been writing on the same subject recently, in the Devils Dictionary slot in its Bottom Line newsletter.

It says, " The Jones Act has always been a hot potato.  In 1954, the Mills Brothers had a hit single with ‘The Whole Town’s Talking About the Jones Act’ which was only prevented from reaching number one by the Stargazers’ version of I See the Moon (the Moon Sees Me).  Today, Jones is a cold potato because people have more important things to worry about.  

"Under the Jones Act, cabotage is all one-way, unlike in Europe.  The Americans do have a better currency and nicer weather, however.  Jones also provides welfare benefits for US seafarers, who are allowed to claim damages if they spend at least 30 per cent of their time working on US ships.  If they are injured as well, they can claim much more.  A whole community of Jones Act lawyers has grown up over the years, with one leading attorney exhorting seafarers via his website, 'Don’t try to hide prior injuries or fudge'.

"Critics of Jones claim that it prices US shipbuilders out of the international market.  The same critics, or perhaps some different ones, say it hinders free trade and is particularly hard on Hawaii.  Hawaii is the only US state made up of a mixture of islands and vowels which does not observe daylight saving, the other being Arizona.   

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