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Here is what you should know about the Jones Act

In the Merchant Marine Act, there is one section, section 27, which is known as the Jones Act. This act requires that all vessels that transport goods between domestic ports be owned, crewed and built by Americans. As a result, this act plays a vital role in sustaining the American maritime industry. It's something you should know if you want to file a claim for any kind of violation of this act.

The Jones Act is considered to be critical to national and economic security. It also helps protect the nation's lakes, canals and rivers by making sure that the ships that travel there are American vessels with crews that have the appropriate training.

The Jones Act is federal legislation that has four primary requirements. These include:

  • A requirement that all vessels of any kind carrying assets between U.S. ports are owned by U.S. companies controlled by U.S. citizens (at least three-fourth ownership)
  • The requirement that the ship was built or rebuilt within the U.S.
  • The requirement of having a crew of at least 75% American citizens
  • That the ship must be registered within the United States

The rules above apply to all ports in the United States, from the mainland to Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska. Guam and other outlying territories are not included in the Jones Act but do have some similar laws.

These might seem like unusual restrictions, but the truth is that countries all over the world have similar requirements. In fact, 47 different countries have laws that restrict foreign access to their domestic trade ports or channels. The act is designed to reserve the country's maritime transportation, at least domestically, for the citizens.

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