Sometimes in a court case, it can all come down to the definition of a single word. How the Jones Act defines the word “vessel” is one of those cases, and can easily become a major factor in many maritime law cases.
Under the Jones Act, all vessels that are manned by a crew and capable of navigation are covered; everything from the tiniest rowboats to the largest supertankers and everything in between. Maritime law defines a “vessel” as any structure designed and used for the transportation of passengers, cargo or equipment across navigable waters. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Cruise ships
- Cargo ships
- Transport ships
- River towboats
- Floating and jack-up oil rigs
- Pontoon rafts
- and many more floating contrivances
If you work or travel on any of these vessels, your illnesses and injuries may be covered by the Jones Act.
What Is A Vessel In Navigation?
In order to qualify for the Jones Act, a vessel must be “in navigation”. In order to be considered in navigation, a vessel simply has to be afloat, in operation, capable of moving, and currently in navigable waters. Even a docked vessel can be considered “in navigation” if it is staffed, equipped, and ready to set sail at any time.
Vessels not considered to be in navigation are vessels permanently affixed to shore, out of the water (including dry docking), and any vessel no longer capable of navigation.
What Should I Do If I Am Injured On A Vessel In Navigation?
In most cases, it is obvious when the Jones Act considers a vessel to be in navigation, but there are always exceptions and unusual contrivances. How a vessel involved in an injury or illness is treated can be difficult to figure out – that’s where the maritime injury lawyers of O’Bryan Law come in.
From cruise ship illnesses to oil rig worker injuries, O’Bryan Law has the skill and experience you need to handle even the toughest maritime law case. We can figure out how to approach any injury caused on a vessel, whether it’s considered in navigation, and what your rights are. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.