Jones Act and The Age of U.S. Ships

Usable lifespan is a constantly moving target depending on the maintenance and repairs applied to them. Corrosion is the cancer that devours a ship from the inside, rarely the other way around. Unfortunately it is often out of sight, out of mind.

A prime example of this would be the LASH ship Green Island. In 1999 she had a 30ft x 90 ft section of side shell ripped away during a storm. Fortunately she made it to a safe harbor in Bermuda. The cause was failed tank coatings leading to wasted structural framing. She was pretty on the outside but dying on the inside. Repairs were made but she and her 2 sisters were scrapped 2001/2002.

On the other hand if vigilance is maintained and the company willing to put money into such things a ship’s life can be extended. A few of LNG the tankers built for Energy Transport back in the late 70’s are still sailing. We would like to think LNG tankers operate on a higher standard.

I have seen and dealt with situations where the word came down of doing only the regulatory minimum during repair periods and conversely when the money was spent to get things fixed right, i.e., tank coatings and structural members replaced.

Just sayin’

(edits due to spelling)

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Why is that? Have you ever been on one of them?

I don’t see why. There are foreign flag unsafe rust-buckets trading in the “free market”, why’s that? The economic pressure that makes companies cut cost that extremely transcends the Jones Act trade.

It is a fact, for whatever reason, that the average age of US Merchant ships are more than double the world average and three times that of lager shipping nations, incl. most FOCs.
Here is an article from a US Law Firm, where they ask some pointed questions: (Link):

I think we all agree that age isn’t everything. A well built and well maintained ship can operate perfectly safely way passed the normal “best by” date. There are examples of that in all parts of the world.

There are also examples of ships that are in deplorable condition after a few years in service because of neglect.

But age do play a role and corrosion does not see the flag flying at the stern. The older the ship the more corrosion, hidden or otherwise, you can find in a thorough inspection. Unfortunately not all ships are exposed to such inspections on a regular basis.

Having been around ships and boats of many nationalities I have my opinion as to which shipping companies and which flag states are most prone to have cheaply built and/or badly maintained ships, but I have also been proven wrong at times.

What I can tell you is that it is no longer as clear cut as it once was. Most Greek Owners were know to operate cheaply, with old ships in mediocre condition. Today they operate the youngest fleet of ships of all major shipping nations.(Many under so called FOC registers):

They are also on the top 20-list of Paris MOU:

This harping on about FOC ships being “unsafe rust buckets”, operated by greedy Owners and manned by"unqualified 3rd wold Villagers", may be good for the ego, but it does NOT improve the standard of the US Merchant fleet and it’s standing in the world.

I don’t think many (any?) people here have claimed that.

The qualifications are debatable, but they ARE usually low paid (by first world standards) “third world villagers”.


Read your own post just above mine.

I have met many of those you call “3rd World Villagers” who are both well educated, well read and perfect gentlemen. I cannot say that about all, but neither would I claim to that for all Americans I have met and worked with.

They may not be paid as well as you are, but they may live as well and as comfortably as the average American. (And maybe happier lives??) USD 8-12000/mth. goes a long way in the “villages” they come from.

Or do you prefer to compare only the wages of the lowest paid seafarers with the high paid US Masters and Chief Engineers?
You are not all be paid like American CEOs, or Stock Brokers, can you??

I think you need to reread what I wrote in that post.

So? That has no bearing on this discussion.

That has become your standard reply when you have nothing actually to say.
I was expecting a spirited defence of American CEOs and Stock Brokers, and their annual remuneration.

I point out your non sequiturs in the hopes that you’ll stop being intellectually dishonest in your discussions here.

I’m not sure why you thought anyone here would.

Most of us here use ‘3rd World villager’ as a euphemism for ‘someone paid less than an American from a country with a cost-of-living significantly less then the United States’ as opposed to an actual Third-World villager.

It’s just less to type.

That too.

As I’m not a member of any Norwegian Union I’m not able to access the latest agreement, apparently.
Norwegian officers are serving on ships under many flags and with different ownerships.
Maybe their qualifications and experience is wanted and warrant pay and conditions they are satisfied with?

BTW; I know that many of those who served on cruise ships under Bahamas flag quit because the wages and conditions offered by the American Owners/Operators were not satisfactory, if they lived in Norway. (Some moved to USA, where the living costs are less)

So to insult your fellow seafarers to save a few keystrokes are OK??
Maybe we should start to refer to American Mariners as “Overpaid Rednecks”??

PS> Don’t blame others for the predicament US Mariners are in when it comes to finding well paying worldwide work. Have a look at who actually are working on those CSVs still operating in the GoM.

I thought all of y’all were in unions? Isn’t there a union for every trade imaginable? I figured there was a union to make sure supermarket cashiers made a livable wage.

You’ve been implying this for over a year now.

Like this one?

I’m retired and haven’t worked on a Norwegian ship since 1970, thus not a Union member.
But you are right, nearly everybody living in Norway and/or working on Norwegian ships, are member of some Union or another, incl. cashies at supermarkets.
And yes, they are making a living wage, working shortest hours, having guaranteed long paid holidays and paid paternity leave.
In short; Norwegian residence are being protected by the welfare state from cradle to grave. No worries about being sick, disabled or unemployed, at least for those who stay in the system.

You guys have been insulting your fellow seafarers for a lot longer

Yes that is the kind I’m talking about. Only that this one was built in Norway, is half Norwegian owned and fly Vanuatu flag, but with American Officers. (and Crew??)

There are a lot more like it working in the GoM, but with foreign Officers and crew, who are making good money.
This one have been sitting idle much of the time since arriving from the yard, I believe??

Lots of others working with “overpaid rednecks”…


Another thread in ruins. This is why we can’t have nice things. Ever been at the beach, watching maybe your kids build a beautiful sandcastle knowing the ultimate fate of it? Some decent points being made, review of previous discussions, etc but as soon as mention made of the vessel age and condition the conversation (?) turns into yet another Jones Act “point-counterpoint” (Jane you ignorant slut). The software apparently has some features so when you feel you are about to take a 90 you could start a new thread linking to the old and harangue away over there. Just when I thought I knew which threads to never read again the mess slithers over to one I do read. Have a heart, humor a guy far away from home at Christmas only looking for simple amusements. Head on over to the Norway, future of ships, shipyard news or a dozen other threads and blast away, I may even join in from time to time.


I prefer ‘Ugly American’ myself.


That X bow vessel with ECO colors was built in Norway? Looking at the poor quality plating job on the upper bow, I find that hard to believe.


yes, there are a number of good ol’ southern boys in the GoM operating large vessels without having risen through the traditional system and some of those men have a smaller than average brain pan capacity HOWEVER…

there are MANY American mariners who have excellent educations, have worked and risen through the ranks on a very wide variety of vessels types working globally and are both very knowledgeable and capable seafarers who are as good at their jobs as any BLOODY Norwegian!

so please keep your over reaching disparaging comments about US citizen mariners to yourself…this board’s contributing membership is STILL mainly made up of us unwashed boobs you love to knock down and I for one do not appreciate what you say…SIR!