The Jones Act


DEFINITION of 'The Jones Act'

Legislation that regulates maritime commerce between U.S. cities. The Jones Act is found in Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. The act required that goods and passengers transported by water between U.S. ports be done in U.S.-made ships, owned by U.S. citizens and crewed by U.S. citizens. The Jones Act also provided sailors with additional rights, including the ability to seek damages from the crew, captain or ship owner in the case of injury.


Some provisions of the Jones Act are considered to be protectionist in nature as it requires ships to be U.S.-flagged, crewed and owned. This may price ship builders and operating companies out of the international market because the added expense and higher labor costs make companies less competitive. Today, at least 75% of a ship's crew must be comprised of U.S. citizens

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