Advocating for the rights and protections of our fellow Mariners is the cornerstone of the American Merchant Marine Veterans organization. For more information on the Jones Act and the huge advantages it has for our seamen today, please read on!
What is the Jones Act?
Introduced by Senator Wesley Jones, The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (also colloquially known as the Jones Act) was enacted to provide for the promotion and protection of the American Merchant Marine. This federal law aids in the regulation of maritime trade in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports. The act also contains a plethora of provisions for determining seamen’s rights and, in general, greatly benefits both our American merchants at sea and the overall security of our country.
Specifically, the Jones Act is really Section 27 of the Merchant Marine Act. It regulates cabotage (also known as coastwise trade), requiring that all goods transported by water between United States ports be carried on U.S. flag ships built in the United States, operated by Americans, and crewed by Americans and permanent residents.
It has been revised a number of times, most recently in 2006. And yet, the Jones Act remains in place and mostly intact today, providing much needed laws regarding the rights of our merchants at sea, and often rights not afforded by common international maritime law.
Why the Jones Act is Still Needed
As the collective American Merchant Marine Veterans, we maintain that rights and protections for our mariners and our country’s trade at sea should move forward—not backward. We believe that the Jones Act remains more necessary now than ever for the United States’ strategic economic and military interests.
We wish to uphold the formalized cementing of our seamen’s rights, and the rights of American Merchant Marines for generations yet to come. The Jones Act helps to sustain a viable workforce of qualified Merchant Mariners for trade and national emergencies by safeguarding our country’s sealift capability and capacity to construct commercial ships.
After so many decades of service, we are more than confident that this act is paramount to the security of our country and the lives of our Merchant Marines. In recent years, there have been wildly inaccurate assertions and claims about what happens under the Jones Act. The inaccuracies were even levied against what the act means for recent events, including our ability to aid those in Puerto Rico recovering from natural disasters. Knowing these declarations to be demonstrably false, the AMMV works hard to fight misinformation about the Jones Act nationwide and closely monitors attempted repeals without complacency.
After being postponed several times, our convention is now scheduled.
On Saturday, February 6th, a ceremony was held in Punta Gorda, FL to honor WWII Merchant Marine Veteran & AMMV member George Koch, who recently received the Ushakov Medal from the Russian Embassy, for serving on ships delivering critical supplies to Murmansk during the war.
The American Legion held its 101st National Convention from August 23rd thru 29th in Indianapolis, IN. AMMV Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Robert Lewis of MA is a long-time member of the American Legion and personally rented a booth for the American Merchant Marine Veterans organization.
The AMMV organization felt a great loss with the passing of President Emeritus Morris Harvey, who crossed the final bar shortly after his 92nd birthday in June. I would like to share a few words about this man and recap what he has done in the past for AMMV.
Hello – My name is John Pitts. On Monday, July 1, 2019, the two year term of office as President of the American Merchant Marine Veterans, Inc. became effective. First and foremost, I would like to thank most recent Past President Captain Chris Edyvean for his successful efforts in advancing the goals and mission of the AMMV during his two terms over the last four years. Fair Winds & Following Seas on you new adventures!
Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, Davis, Yuba City), announced that his bipartisan Merchant Mariners of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2019 has secured the 290 cosponsors necessary to receive a mandatory vote in the House of Representatives. The bill will move to the Consensus Calendar, which hosts legislation that’s typically passed unanimously by the House.
The 2019 “Storm the Hill” was led by WWII Merchant Marine Veteran & AMMV Government Affairs Co-Chair Charles A. Mills, with Eugene Barner and Gerard Driscoll being the other Vets on the team. Sheila M. Sova returned to serve as the Team Coordinator. The group was rounded off with Laura Johnson Riddle, Cindy Driscoll-Komlos, and AMMV D.A.R. Chapter President Dennis Ng.
Over 100 maritime or affiliated groups have signed the letter, including private companies, partnerships, unions, non-profits groups, schools, etc. AMMV recommends including a copy of the letter when contacting your Senators or Congressperson via email or “snail mail”. It is also recommended to include the letter when addressing the committees holding each version of the bill.
Here is a trailer of our 2019 AMMV National Convention.
The 33rd National Convention of the American Merchant Marine Veterans (AMMV) organization opened with early Registration on Wednesday, March 20th. The Registration team was led by Kimberly King with Lynn Kelly and Sindy Raymond assisting. The Hospitality Room was once again generously stocked with drinks and snacks. In addition, Shirley Knight provided a variety of Easter candies.