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The United States Congress passed the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 (also known as the Jones Act) in order to protect America's shipping industry and strengthen national security.The Jones Act requires all cargo shipped between American ports to be carried on U.S.-flagged vessels that are assembled entirely in America, and that have some of their major components manufactured in the U.S. These ships must be at least 75 percent owned and crewed by Americans. And if a U.S.-flagged ship needs to be repaired overseas, the U.S. charges a 50 percent tax on the price.Since 2000, the number of American ships of at least 1,000 tons that comply with the Jones Act has fallen from 193 to 99 .Because Jones-compliant ships are so expensive, their owners do not replace them. A ship's economically useful life is generally considered to be about 20 years, but more than 65 percent of the Jones fleet is over 30 years old, making it inefficient and even dangerous. Crewing costs on American ships are reported to be about five times greater.Having destroyed U.S. merchant shipping over the past 99 years, the Jones Act needs to be repealed.
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