The Jones Act Makes Shipping More Expensive

John Stossel, a well known Libertarian, posted a video on youtube with the same title as this thread. If permissible, I will post a link to it. Please let me know what you think.

Here is my post to this video:
"I sailed on a ship, the MV President Buchanan, that was on it’s regular scheduled voyage to Fujairah, UAE during Desert Shield/Storm carrying important military cargo when it had to be redirected up into the Persian Gulf. The reason was the foreign-flag feeder vessel refused to go on its regular scheduled voyage into the Persian Gulf because fighting had broken out and there were mines in the water.

Of course we went. We were a US flag ship with American crew. The foreign-flag ship ran away to hide.

Question for all you brilliant scholars. How is giving up the ability to send supplies on US flag ships to our troops a good thing?

Another question. How is getting rid of the higher training, inspection and safety standards of US ships and crews a good thing? American waterways will definitely suffer from increased accidents. Some of them very serious. Just ask the people that worked in the New Orleans River Walk when the Chinese ship plowed deep into it, causing millions of dollars of damage.

This is what will happen if we were to get rid of the Jones Act. There will be no reserve of US Merchant Seamen to crew ships in times of conflict. There will be a lowering of safety standards. We need jobs and training to maintain any sort of sealift capability in the future."


The same old hack job sponsored by Cato and the media lapdogs soak it up. The subject has been discussed on this forum before. I think the Act should be preserved but the US build requirement needs to go.


Go ask Sal


While I agree with you for the most part, I do not think this is our best argument. There are a lot of profesionals on non-US flagged vessels who do it a lot better than us. I had a vetting inspector actualy laugh at our paper charts, and that the Americans of all people would still be clinging to paper. A lot of folks not very good with the ECDIS as well.

Where do we go above and beyond STCW in the US Merchant marine? How many vessels do we have operating with less than STCW? Terminals regulate a lot of the inspections, not the coast guard. COI is the easy one.


If we wanted to save consumers money on marine transportation, the only logical place to start would be to replace the $200,000 a year American longshoremen with automation and $12,000 a year foreign workers.

If we really wanted to save money, we could replace all the federal employees with smarter, better educated, and more productive, low cost foreign workers.


Of course I agree - sadly and rapidly becoming a non - issue as we continue to lose significant commercial large ship building capabilities.


I disagree, US vessels are old and barely cling to updated standards. Training - many non-US would disagree on the though of US training being higher than other countries

US Pilot. So this goes against what you think


That ship drifted after losing propulsion so there’s nothing the US pilot could do anyway. The poster was probably suggesting that it wouldn’t have happened with better maintenance standards.

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You mean; it wouldn’t happen with a US-flag ship?

PS> You forgot to mention that it was a Liberian registered ship

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We could use better maintance standards too given half the ROS fleet probably cant make it to the sea buoy.


Yes, I’m guessing that’s what he meant based on the context.

I’d love to be able to say that ships with US mariners would have less accidents, but where is the data on this? Look at the NTSB report database; anecdotally it might seem the opposite. Who is compiling accidents and grouping them on severity and flag?

If we knew US mariners were less prone to accidents, why don’t we hear it as an argument from the AMP?

I’ve worked with many people US & foreign, and it seems to me that US officers seem on average more competent, but that doesn’t mean its true across the board.

The Checklists on the NMC website are broken down into “National” and “STCW” for a reason. The US National requirements are significantly higher than the international equivalents.

Actualy the STCW endorsements are the one you need to jump though hoops for, not national. STCW II/1 for example has a much more comprehensive checklist than 3rd Mate Unlimited. Way more training required. In fact for the STCW equivalent of the national 1600 Master, you need all the managment level courses that a US cheif mate unlimited would need. 1600 Master national only requires sea time and a few tests depending on what route you take.


Yes…On Top of STCW. Its an additional requirement. the “few tests” are what many take so much time prepping for and stressing about.

Every mariner is STCW. The US requires More on top of that, ie National. You can’t get an STCW endorsement on your MMC if you don’t have, or are concurrently applying for, the National equivalent.

In addition, look at our mariners that go through academies. They are much better trained than say in the Philippines (25% of seafarers globally).

Btw I know inland mariners don’t need STCW but inland isn’t the target of JA opponents.

You can definitely have 1600 master without the STCW equivalent. If youre doing the 2/M > 1600 Master crossover you do not get the STCW. If you do 360 day MOT > 1600 Master you do not get the STCW. When I ran into this problem, I came to the conclusion that a lot of 1600 masters are just running around without STCW. I was confused when that part of my application was kicked back, apparently none of them my buddies took the classes.

If you get the STCW endorsement, the National endorsement comes free. If you hold 1600 master and take the months of classes, you get the STCW with no additional tests. I will agree that the TOAR is above and beyond the STCW requirement, but given people are getting them signed off on ATBs or a 1930’s tug boat with a paint float, I’m not sure it has the desired effect.

I know. For INLAND ONLY though. If you are on a vessel sailing the routes the guy in the video talks about (Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Alaska), you need STCW. You need it in most of GOM work too (Deepwater)

Yes. So in summary, the national endorsement are less rigorous than the international standards.

Or as I said before:

But Filipinos are cheap and hired to work on US owned ships all the time. The Jones Act does not address the fact that US corporations can own foreign flagged ships. The Jones Act needs to be modified to allow partial build in other countries, at least.