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Capt. Randy Swindell reminded an Aloha State audience why the Jones
Act should be defended and preserved during a September 24 forum
covered by the Honolulu Free Press.

“The Jones Act provides a ready manpower pool of mariners in case of
national emergency and keeps an a active, viable shipbuilding base in
our country,” stated the president of the Hawaii Ports Maritime
Council.

The Jones Act – the nation’s freight cabotage law – has been a
constant target of foreign-flag interests in Hawaii. Despite various
reports and studies showing the value of U.S.-flag shipping to the
citizens of the islands, some continue to try to eliminate the federal
law.

Swindell, who is the Honolulu Representative for the Masters, Mates &
Pilots, described how American forces had to leave equipment behind
after the 1898 Spanish-American War “because of a lack of sealift.”

The Jones Act became the law of the land when the Merchant Marine Act
of 1920 passed Congress. The Jones Act states that cargo moved from
one domestic port to another domestic port must be carried by a
U.S.-built, U.S.-crewed, U.S.-owned and U.S.-flagged vessel.

“To this day, the men and women of the U.S. merchant marine continue
to serve the interests of our country from supplying our troops in
far-flung places to fulfilling domestic shipping needs in the current
Covid-19 crisis,” Swindell added.

More than 90 countries implement some form of cabotage.