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Posted: January 19, 2018

Jones Act 'serves legitimate and lasting U.S. interests and benefits every American community'

The following letter to the editor was published in the January 18 edition of the Miami Herald.

The Jan. 16 story, "Florida politicians courting displaced Puerto Ricans," referred to the domestic shipping law known as the Jones Act as having "helped Jacksonville's shipping industry."

The Jones Act sustains domestic shipping services in varied trades nationwide. It also accounts for multiple billions in private capital investment and more than 500,000 jobs aboard diverse U.S. merchant vessels and ashore in ship service and supply industries - only Louisiana can claim more Jones Act work for its residents than Florida.

More importantly, ships in the Jones Act fleet - including those that continue to deliver relief supplies and critical equipment to Puerto Rico - are among those the Department of Defense can call upon to deliver military cargoes worldwide in national security emergencies. Indeed, DOD relies almost exclusively on privately owned and operated U.S. merchant ships and their U.S. citizen officers and crews for such strategic sealift.

Parochial points about the Jones Act may play effectively at local levels, but they obscure the greater truth - the law serves legitimate and lasting U.S. interests and benefits every American community.

Paul Doell
National President
American Maritime Officers