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The Jones Act – an overview

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2022 | Admiralty & Maritime Defense

Operating a vessel in U.S. and foreign waters often comes with challenges and strict regulations. U.S. laws such as the Jones Act set guidelines for where and how shipping and other businesses may run their ships.

Those who transport goods between U.S. ports should understand the Jones Act and what it means for the operation of their ships and businesses.

Creating the Jones Act

According to PBS.org, the Jones Act governs the shipping of goods between U.S. ports. Under the act, U.S. vessels should transport all goods shipped through these networks.

Following the Jones Act

The act does not prevent ships from other countries entering U.S. ports to import goods from around the world. Rather, it necessitates that vessels built in America and operated by a primarily U.S. crew carry goods traveling from one U.S. port to another U.S. port.

In addition to stipulations for the transportation of goods between U.S. ports, the Jones Act also includes safety regulations. Under the act, employers must maintain safe working environments for crew, as well as provide medical care in the event of worker injuries.

Violating the Jones Act

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection handles the enforcement of the Jones Act and other coastwise laws. Those who violate the act may face penalties, including fines.

Those who transport goods or operate a vessel in U.S. waters should know their obligations under the Jones Act to help avoid possible violations and the repercussions that may result. Therefore, they may benefit from consulting with a legal representative to learn more about their rights and responsibilities.