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  • Writer's pictureKalypso Offshore

Considerations of the Jones Act on Offshore Cable Installation: The Benefits of an American Vessel

Updated: Apr 12

The Jones Act, formally known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, holds significant implications for offshore cable installation within U.S. waters and between U.S. ports. This federal law mandates that goods transported between these locations must be carried on vessels that are built in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and operated by U.S. crews. While the Jones Act has been subject to ongoing debates and discussions, understanding its considerations and the benefits of employing American vessels in offshore cable installation is crucial.

Kalypso’s CLV has a custom-designed dual-lane Cable Installation System
Kalypso CLV

Jones Act Cable Lay

Compliance with the Law

The foremost consideration in offshore cable installation is compliance with the Jones Act. Utilizing American-built, flagged, and crewed vessels ensures adherence to this legislation, avoiding any legal complications, penalties, or project delays. By partnering with U.S. vessel operators, companies can ensure that their operations conform to the requirements set forth by the law.

Support for Domestic Maritime Industry

The Jones Act was enacted to protect and promote the U.S. domestic maritime industry. Employing American vessels for offshore cable installation contributes to the growth and sustenance of this industry, supporting jobs, fostering economic development, and strengthening national security. By investing in American-built vessels, the maritime sector is bolstered, leading to increased shipbuilding activities and the creation of employment opportunities for U.S. citizens.

Enhanced Control and Oversight

Utilizing American vessels provides greater control and oversight over the offshore cable installation process. By working with U.S. crews, project managers can ensure compliance with safety regulations, quality standards, and environmental requirements. This level of control enables effective risk management, adherence to industry best practices, and the ability to promptly address any issues that may arise during the installation process.

Mitigation of Project Risks

Engaging American vessels can help mitigate various risks associated with offshore cable installation. American vessels are often purpose-built or retrofitted to meet specific industry requirements, offering specialized equipment, technologies, and expertise for cable laying operations. This reduces the likelihood of operational disruptions, delays, or subpar performance that may occur when utilizing vessels that are not specifically designed for these tasks.

Collaboration with Local Stakeholders

Engaging American vessels promotes collaboration with local stakeholders, fostering stronger relationships within the U.S. maritime industry. By partnering with U.S. vessel operators, offshore cable installation projects can tap into their experience, knowledge of local waters, and established networks. This collaboration facilitates efficient project execution, access to necessary resources, and the potential for future partnerships and continued growth in the industry.


The Jones Act has notable implications for offshore cable installation, necessitating the use of American-built vessels with U.S. crews. While compliance with this law may present certain challenges, there are numerous benefits to employing American vessels. Compliance ensures adherence to legal requirements, supports the domestic maritime industry, enhances control and oversight, mitigates project risks, and fosters collaboration with local stakeholders. As offshore cable installation projects continue to grow in importance, understanding the considerations and advantages of American vessels becomes imperative for successful and compliant operations.


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