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Now more than ever, the supply chain is a prominent player in everyday conversation. With more reliance on online shopping, the average consumer is much more aware of the ways of the supply chain and, in many recent cases, the delays in the supply chain.

That’s why we have the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022. The government passed this law in hopes that it would benefit business and consumers, but what does it mean for maritime employees and injured maritime workers?

Let our team at the Maritime Injury Law Firm walk you through this new law. While we are based in Louisiana, we have years of experience in maritime law and supporting maritime workers all throughout the Gulf Coast and across the country.

What is the Ocean Shipping Reform Act?

Public Law 117-146, also known as the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, was signed into law by President Biden on June 16, 2022. The bipartisan bill passed first in the Senate, then the House.

In a press release, the U.S. Senate said:

“The bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 will level the playing field for American exporters and importers by providing the FMC the tools it needs for effective oversight of international ocean carriers.”

The FMC is the Federal Maritime Commission, the government body that protects the interests of U.S. businesses that rely on ocean transportation.

The new law was intended to give the FMC the ability to “crack down on foreign-owned carriers’ unfair shipping price hikes,” ultimately supporting U.S. exports in the global shipping industry.

This should be great news for everyone in the U.S. who relies on the shipping industry for their goods, but what does it mean for maritime workers?

What does the Ocean Shipping Reform Act mean for sea workers?

Maritime employees already know they spend each day working one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S., all for their fellow Americans’ quality of life. There are many protections in place for U.S. seamen, but the Ocean Shipping Reform Act has the potential to impact your day-to-day life on the job.

The act outlines “minimum service standards that meet the public interest.” That means there are new guidelines around shipping vessels, which are meant to help improve the speed of shipping.

One of the guidelines requires a higher number of sea workers to support faster shipping. That is good news because more hands can often help work go more safely.

However, it can also be bad news because more people involved requires strong communication and synchronization, as well as more training.

If companies do not provide adequate training or communication tools for all employees, then they could put all of their employees at risk, including senior seamen.

Does the Jones Act apply if I am injured due to new conditions under the Ocean Shipping Reform Act?

There is more good news. If you – a new or seasoned maritime worker – are injured due to labor changes under the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, then there are laws in place to give you the compensation you deserve.

The Jones Act is a 1915 law that protects the rights of injured seamen and maritime employees. Under the Jones Act, injured workers are entitled to maintenance and care benefits – whether or not they can prove the role of employer negligence in their injuries.

The difference between maintenance and cure is:

  • Maintenance: Compensation for cost of living expenses, such as mortgage or rent, utilities, food, insurance and more.
  • Cure: Compensation for medical care and treatment, including transportation to and from medical appointments.

Contact Maritime Injury Law Firm Today

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act is still a new law, so questions are still being answered. However, if you have been injured, you need the help of a dedicated lawyer who will fight for your rights – one who knows the maritime field inside out. George Vourvoulias has dedicated the past 20 years to leveling the playing field for offshore and maritime workers today, and he is ready to put your needs first.

Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

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