Jones Act provisions should extend to US territories

Jones Act provisions should extend to US territories

  For more than 100 years, the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the Jones Act after U.S. Sen. Wesley Jones of Washington state, has been a legal bedrock of the United States maritime industry. Adopted by a congressional vote, the purpose of the Jones Act was to establish and protect a vibrant American maritime industry in times…
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U.S. merchant mariners served valiantly during wartime

U.S. merchant mariners served valiantly during wartime

  My father-in-law served in the merchant marine during World War II, sailing as an assistant purser on a supply ship. I asked him once about his most frightening experience of the war.  He replied grimly, “Our ship was part of a convoy of 20 merchant ships, and we had two Navy ships escorting us. One night in the North…
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Think twice before sailing on a foreign-flagged ship

Think twice before sailing on a foreign-flagged ship

I had been mentoring Shaun, a student from the California Maritime Academy, who was now set to graduate. Excited and ready to go, he was looking forward to entering the industry, making money and paying off his student loan. A few days after graduation, his third mate license in hand, he texted me with news of his first job. He got…
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Catching Covid-19 on a commercial ship

For mariners working on commercial vessels, the process of obtaining official documents is not the only change Covid-19 has brought. In October, President Biden mandated masks be worn on board all U.S.-flagged commercial vessels. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) backed the mandate and added some recommendations of its own.  Along with wearing masks, the CDC advises crews on…
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Working the holidays can pay — in more ways than one

We had just cleared the Panama Canal’s Miraflores Locks westbound on the Pacific side. I was the second mate on a tug pulling a loaded 450-foot petroleum barge from Lake Charles, La., and Beaumont, Texas, to Long Beach, Calif. It had just turned midnight, the start of Christmas Day.  Jerry, the able seaman on my watch, came up to the…
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Pursuing your passions outside of the job

I was looking forward to getting married in a few weeks. My fiancée and I decided on a backyard ceremony at her Long Beach, Calif., home. Everything was going according to plan except for one thing — we had not had any luck arranging music for the wedding.  I was complaining about that to Dana, a cook on the tug…
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Tips for a trouble-free travel day

My wife and I pulled up at the ferry terminal passenger drop off area and parked our truck. I grabbed my bags and the lunch she made me for the trip, and after a short hug and kiss, headed down to board the 0440 ferry. A few minutes later the ship got underway, and the island faded in our wake.…
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Drunks? Troublemakers? Time for mariners to set record straight

Following in the footsteps of my dad, who sailed as an able seaman and boatswain, I had made the decision to become a merchant mariner. One spring Sunday afternoon during a family dinner in Spokane, Wash., I announced my decision to attend a four-year maritime school, where after graduation I would come out with an unlimited third mate license and…
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