McCain introduces Jones Act repeal legislation, again

The Jones Act has never been in any danger.

John McCain is an American hero and a good man who has suffered mightily for his country. Most of us have seen the video of a young John McCain climbing out of his plane into the fire on the deck of an aircraft carrier with bombs cooking off. He stayed to help fight the fire and was wounded. The aircraft carrier was basically destroyed. He could have gone home, but instead he fought to be assigned to another ship. He was subsequently shot down and endured a long stay and horrendous torture in the Hanoi Hilton with greatly dignity and integrity. We saw the videos of him coming home a very broken man. He recovered and continued to serve his country with distinction in the Senate. He is very wrong about the Jones Act, and he has been wrong about that for years. There are plenty of other things I don’t agree with him about. However, he remains a great American. At 80 years old, brain cancer or not, he is in the final stages of life. With brain cancer undoubtedly sooner rather than later. I wish him and his family the best.


Very well put tugsailor.

McCain is very fortunate that he will have the level of medical care he is so ready to deny the rest of the American population.

While his medical condition may kill him it will not bankrupt him and leave his family living in poverty with a debt they can never pay.


I’m not ready to go down the path of mythologizing the man or his service, either. He and too many of his colleagues actions as part of the ruling class have real, harsh consequences for the average American that they exempt themselves from. The hippocracy of men like McCain and McConnell knows no bounds. I don’t wish cancer on the man, but you won’t find any sympathy from me.


Anyone else want to chip in to see if we can have Jane Fonda send him a get well card?

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The Jones Act is here to stay, just as it is.

I don’t know why McCain is so wrong about the Jones Act and continuing a futile crusade to repeal it that has failed for years, and will continue to fail.

Agree with him or not, he remains a good man, and he’s dying of brain cancer. There is no need to piss on him.

I don’t think he is advocating to just repeal the Jones Act, more like “Repeal & Replace” with something more up to date.

The cabotage part and the requirement for American crews in domestic trade is not threatened, but to allow foreign built ships to be used, rather than paying 2-3x the cost to build them at US yards that is not able and willing modernize as long as they have a captive market does make sense.

Likewise, to enable US carriers to keep a modern fleet in operation, rather than spending billions on maintaining a fleet of obsolete ships in readiness but inactive, also make sense.

The US Government is already paying a premium to transport their cargo on US flag,( but foreigned built and largely foreign owned) ships in order to have at least a small fleet of ships active in overseas trade.

Easing restrictions on where such ships can be repaired, or even on the manning rules for “unlicensed crew”, could make them better able to compete for other cargoes.

You don’t know why he is wrong on the Jones Act?? Connect the dots, its pretty easy to see.

Don’t’ worry, I connected the dots many decades ago as to why the Jones Act is vital to preserving US boat and ship building capacity and all the jobs that go with it. Not just in shipyards, the ripple effects that goes much further back into the US economy. And the jobs for mariners and fisherman and everyone else that we support. Not to mention national defense.

There will always be someone in Mexico or china or wherever that can do any American job cheaper with low wage foreign labor and no safety or environmental rules. Americans cannot sit home on welfare while all the jobs get shipped overseas. That’s no way to sustain a successful economy.

I do not understand why McCain does not see the necessity and benefits of the Jones Act.

The very vast majority of maritime jobs, at least 50,000 jobs, are on Inland, river, and local coastal vessels crewed mostly by hawespipers. That’s not counting the fishing fleet. With unlicensed foreign crew we would have deckhands, unlicensed engineers and Tankerman that don’t even speak English, and no way for the next generation of captains and mates to learn the trade. Hell no.

It would not matter as much for deep sea ships because there are only about 60 ships left. What does that come out to, about 3500 unlicensed deep sea jobs? But no way in hell should those jobs be thrown away to save shipowners a few pennies. 90 percent of the labor cost in shipping a container is the US longshoremen.

That’s what this bill proposes, but he wants to repeal the whole thing. He’s made that plain in the past but he can’t get enough votes for that so he tries to go after it piece meal.

The Jones Act doesn’t effect the modernity of the fleet. That’s just cheap owners.

Foreign built US flag vessels can already be repaired anywhere in the world. Cheap owners are still cheap owners and run shitty equipment, just look at Transatlantic.

No, not “opening up to foreign manning agents”.
“Foreigners” doesn’t mean “uneducated villagers at $100/mth.”, but to open up to qualifies foreign crews that hold the necessary “green card”, or whatever form of “work permit” may be required.

If you had a larger fleet of ships in overseas trade there would be more jobs to fill, thus more opportunities for employment. Domestic trade would still be reserved for US citizens.

If you are worried about recruitment to Officer position that is legitimate, unless the system is changed to where there are not just military run Academies, but private or public Maritime Schools that teach full courses, leading up to sitting for exams per STCW requirements.

A system of “apprenticeships” or “cadet” time to get the necessary practical experience and seatime to obtain entry level CoC. Thereafter seatime at Officer level and additional schooling as required to upgrade to higher ranks, replacing the piecemeal method of taken one course here and another there, to obtain the right to “test” for a hundred different levels of licenses, limited in tonnage, area and trade.

All special training and certification required for individual types of vessels or whatever could still be offered by private Training institutes approved by the Maritime Authorities of the land.

Simply put, adopt STCW Convention in full for anything that move outside the baseline and thus American mariners would be able to work on ship under any flag in any waters.

If this sounds like some sort of “utopia” it isn’t. It is how most countries in the world teach, train and certify their Mariners.

I didnt mean why cant you see the importance of the Jones Act. I meant why cant you see why he’s wrong about it? He’s wrong because he’s paid to be wrong.


There’s only 1 federally run Academy.

There’s already 6 state run Maritime Schools that “teach full courses, leading up to sitting for exams per STCW requirements.”

How have we not?
How would allowing foreigners to work on US flag ships somehow allow Americans to work on foreign ships?

So all the talk about “ring knockers” and “Cadets being groomed for the Navy and shore jobs” are only in respect of KP?
Are all the 6 Maritime Schools not called Academies and strictly educating Officers for the Merchant Marine?

If you were fully compliant with STCW there wouldn’t be “hundreds” of various licenses and equal number of threads about how to obtain them with the minimum of effort. The number of grades of STCW approved licenses are limited by comparison. Most countries manage with those.
No more OSV specific, or any other special domestic licences, except for inland waters and yachts. Even then limited to a certain tonnage per STCW.

If the US fleet was made more competitive by allowing some lower ranks to be filled by qualified foreigner at somewhat lower wages (per ITF tariff), there MAY be a possibility that there would be more ships under the flag, thus more jobs for the higher ranks. (The Domestic fleet would still employ only Americans)

There is no law saying that an American cannot get a permit to work in the North Sea, or on ships and rigs under European flag. If more American mariners had unlimited licenses, they would be welcome to apply for jobs anywhere.

I believe some members here have sailed under NIS flag, even as Master?

It is improving with the newly implemented wage compensation and allowing DSVs / CSVs under NIS flag to operate within Norwegian waters.The present market situation is of course not helping the immediate situation. Many are out of work because the boats are laid up.
Being Norwegians, or residents of Norway makes it more livable though.

The easy access to dispensations to allow non-Norwegian and non-EU citizens to serve as Masters on NIS flag ships is the latest grievance, but that would only benefit Americans who apply for such jobs.

Add in a few community college systems now as well to mariner training.