For operational purposes, it is critical to know what type of employees you have on your vessel. Failure to do so could be expensive.
As vessel operators, we pay close attention the provisions of the Jones Act and how they affect the operation, crewing and administration of our marine-based operations. A determination that your vessel-based crews are seamen under maritime law creates a different employment relationship when compared to employees designated as longshoremen or land-based employees.
For example, under maritime law, seamen are entitled to maintenance and cure in the event that they sustain an injury while in the service of the vessel. They are also able to recover general damages and lost wages if they can prove that either negligence, or an unseaworthy condition aboard the vessel, caused the injury.
On the other hand, a land-based employee, or a longshoreman, will receive compensation for these injuries under the applicable workers’ compensation scheme, and the employer will be immune from any further liability for the incident.
For operational purposes, it is critical to know what type of employees you have on your vessel. Once you figure out the type of employees you have for operational purposes, you have to conduct another analysis to see what kind of employees you have for payroll purposes.