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I'm not an Anchorman, I'm an Anchor,Man!
Visiting the campus of The United States Merchant Marine Academy, also called  Kings Point. I ran a few laps around their track. My pace is like Clapton's Layla, just the slower, raw heart-felt  unplugged acoustic version. 

 Mission Accomplished- I 've been a 1 man National Geographic on that everywhere trip. Now cancel my subscription because I am done with that "issue".

You Get What You Pay For

Qualifying for an MMD Card
was so much fun
99.9% of every cruise ship flys under flags of convenience, to save money,  but hires grads of the USMMA, who are some of the best trained navigators. 

June, 2007, I worked on the only American flagged cruise ship, the NCLA's Pride of America, I had to go to the Seafarers Academy, in Piney Pint, MD  to qualify for  a land-based SCTW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) aka,  a Z Card-a  US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document, even though I was in the Hotel Division of a cruise ship!

Young faces about to go out to sea.
Hay guys "During an disaster,
 what would a passenger
do on an Italian ship? ---
Easy, follow the Captain.

The Jones Act

You learn geology , the day after an earthquake. You learn about the Jones Act  the moment you miss your cruise ship's all aboard time and are stuck in the port of call  like Ensanada , Mexico  and have to take a bus  back to San Diego via   TJ (Tijuana), instead of chasing the ship in Cabo  San Lucas and re-boarding.

What? You can't win an earthquake and you can't win an argument with a Port Agent or Cruise line to get back on  a ship at another port of call

Let me splane

The Jones Act designed to protect American free trade and shipping, but it might be due for an overhall when it comes to cruising, or cleaning up oil spills, like the BP one.

The act forbids foreign ships, which includes most major cruise line fleets, to transport cargo or passengers between two US  ports without first stopping at a foreign port.

Class Dsmissed

 August,2012, I was sailing in Alaska on a Princess Ship, flagged for convienece in Bermuda, but manned with a UK and US Deck Department. We had to go to Victoria, Canada before dropping off passengers  in Seattle to comply with the Jones Act. On top of that, some of the  TCN's (Third Country Nationals) like my buddies from South Africa, weren't even allowed off the ship.

 The crew don't pay for tickets so who cares about the crews wants and needs, right?  What happens when PIF Paid In Full passengers  miss, for instance,  their all aboard embarkation Day 1 of a cruise.

Your plane is late, you  arrive in FT Lauderdale, and see the ship sailing away Bon Voyage waves and all.  You being resourceful  " Think  I'll chase the ship in Key West,  the next port of call", right? The Jones Act says  "NO you can't re-board in Key West because your  Carnival, Royal, or  fill-in-the-blank ship you are on is  foreign flagged, for convenience"-They are clearly an economic benefit to a cruise line but not to you. They are also a benefit to the flag states like Panama., Malta,  Bermuda and The Bahamas in  maritime registration fees, taxes, inspectors, agents  and lawyers.

I'm not a Businessman,
 I'm a Business, Man!

Old Dog New Tricks

The US law dates  from 113 years ago, and is called the "Passenger Services Act," but Senator Wesley L. Jones, who sponsored a 1920 Merchant Marine Act amendment relating to the shipping of MERCHANDISE, not passengers, has unfairly been tagged as the author of the restrictions on what a foreign cruise ship may do or not do in US waters. 

The basic rule is that "foreign" ships may not carry passengers (whether Americans or others) between US ports, subject to certain exceptions.

It's hard to disagree with the basic purpose of the Passenger Services Act (the "PSA") which the US Marine Administration Branch describes as,

"assuring reliable domestic shipping service that is completely subject to national control in times of war or national emergency." 

The Administration also states that

 "the money earned by these vessels remains in the national economy as opposed to being exported, while public revenues benefit from both corporate and personal tax receipts."

What's A Foreign Ship? 

If you're cruising on a ship such as the Carnival Spelndor, with 85% of the passengers being American, an American captain and officers, and an entertainment and cruise staff which is largely American, it's difficult to believe that this ship is "foreign."

 But check the ship's "registration" - on the stern of the ship and on the lifeboats, it will say "Panama" or "Monrovia" (capital of Liberia), or "Bahamas" or somewhere other than the USA - meaning that the ship is registered in that "convenient" country, and therefore not subject, among other things, to American employment standards or US income taxes, despite the fact that (in the case of the Carnival Splendor), its ultimate owner is Carnival Corporation, a publicly traded company on the US stock market.


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