Student Research

The Jones Act : too big to sink?

A capstone project submitted to the faculty of the California Maritime Academy in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies and Maritime Affairs.

The American shipping industry operates under the regulation of the Jones Act, found in the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. This thesis asserts that the 97 year old legislation has outlived its intended purposes. In 1920, the United States created the Jones Act in order to regulate maritime commerce while creating a platform to build a Merchant Marine Fleet to aid during times of war or national emergencies. The current state of the U.S. Jones Act fleet is deteriorating before the nation's eyes. The government continues to aid the dying American shipping industry through an excess amount of government subsidies. The American shipping industry has fallen so far behind, the subsidies are no longer enough to support the failed interests of the United States. The repercussions of having a disastrous maritime cabotage industry now have begun costing the consumers of the United States. The current state of the Jones Act in today's maritime industry can no longer support the original claims: protecting national security, economy, safety, environmental, and global context.