August 24, 2009
Appeals Court reverses Seabulk Trader decision
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has reversed a lower court's decision that the tanker Seabulk Trader was no longer eligible for Jones Act coastwise trading privileges after being double hulled in China. We called that decision a "victory for no more than the plain meaning of words" -- the words in question being those of the second proviso of the Jones Act:
"No vessel which has acquired the lawful right to engage in the coastwise trade, by virtue of having been built in or documented under the laws of the United States, and which has later been rebuilt shall have the right thereafter to engage in the coastwise trade, unless the entire rebuilding, including the construction of any major components of the hull or superstructure of the vessel, is effected within the United States, its territories (not including trust territories), or its possessions."
It seems that the Court of Appeals finds some meaning in those words that escapes most us. Read its decision HERE