Jones Act : Maritime Law for Workers

The Jones Act is a very important law that was passed in the United States in the year 1920. The Jones Act Maritime is officially known as the Merchant Marine Act. The act was enacted so as to empower the American seamen to get benefits and safeguard in case they encounter any injuries and compensation problems while they are on the job. Jones Act is called so because of a senator named Wesley Jones who was a major factor behind the law getting passed in the United States Congress.

The Jones Act law marked a very important event in the history of US’ maritime law. Before the existence of Jones Act, there was no protection for the seamen. Compensations were decided on the basis of general maritime law which meant that a lot of loopholes were involved. Because of so many loopholes, seamen more often than not used to be deprived of necessary compensations thus leading to the passing of the Jones Act Maritime.

Jones Act Maritime is a very complex set of rules and principles that deals specifically about the workers’ right to get compensated. Because of its complexity, it has to be noted that Jones Act law cannot be practiced and professed by any lawyer. Only a lawyer who has studied extensively on the subject of Jones Act can be successful in perceiving and can use it to the maximum benefit of a worker.


The Jones Act Maritime was also enacted so as to ensure that American workers get the priority when it comes to maritime jobs. According to the stipulation of the Jones Act law, at least 75% of the workers in the American naval industry must be Americans. Also the Act lays down that a stipulated number of ships and vessels should be retained by the American shipping concerns rather than managing foreign naval vessel fleets.

The main reason why such a stipulation was included as the core objective of the Jones Act was because of the exploitation that American workers used to face. Due to seafaring jobs given to foreign workers and a lack of payment of compensation when it was necessary, it became important that the rights of Americans be considered a priority leading to the creation of the above mentioned stipulations.

As per the regulations of the Jones Act law, any person who has spent around 30% or more of his professional life as a seafarer is entitled to be compensated duly under the Jones Act Maritime. The amount of compensation that is supposed to be provided to injured seafarers under the Jones Act law is quite high as compared to what was paid in the absence of the law.

According to the Jones Act statutes, if a sea-worker is injured because of a ship’s lack of worthiness or if a genuine claim to injury is refused compensation by the shipping owner or if a sea-worker files a petition for claim because of negligence on the part of a ship owner; all the above reasons merit a valid case under the Jones Act law.

In a country like United States where workers and their needs are taken very seriously, the enactment of Jones Act is yet another testimony to the fact. Indigenous workers are always beneficial to any business concern and in a country where shipping is one of the most important business sectors, the Jones Act law is a fitting contribution of doing one’s duty and fulfilling all responsibilities appropriately.

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One Comment

  1. it became important that the rights of Americans be considered a priority leading to the creation of the above mentioned stipulations.

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