A ship, brig, sloop, or other craft used, or capable of being used, in navigation on water. In order to be a "vessel," for purposes of an action under Jones Act, the structure's purpose must to some reasonable degree be the transportation of passengers, cargo or equipment from place to place across navigable waters. Buna v. Pacific Far East Line, Inc., D.C.Cal., 441 F.Supp. 1360, 1364.
Though, the term "vessel," in admiralty law, is not limited to ships or vessels engaged in commerce. St. Hilaire Moye v. Henderson, C.A.Ark., 496 F.2d 973, 979.
Many special purpose craft, such as dredges, floating derricks and barges equipped for special purposes or operations are "vessels" within meaning of Jones Act, and persons regularly employed aboard such a vessel in aid of its purposes are "seamen." Hill v. Diamond, C.A.Va., 311 F.2d 789, 791, 792.
On the other hand, however, everything that floats is not necessarily a "vessel," in purview of Jones Act. Bennett v. Perini Corp., C.A.Mass., 510 F.2d 114, 116.
For example, a floating dry dock which was moored by chains and cables to shipyard dock at time of injury to shipyard employee and which was in use as a dry dock was not a "vessel" and therefore no warranty of seaworthiness arose. Keller v. Dravo Corp., C.A.La., 441 F.2d 1239, 1244.
@ foreign vessel
A vessel owned by residents in, or sailing under the flag of, a foreign nation.
@ public vessel
One owned and used by a nation or government for its public service, whether in its navy, its revenue service, or otherwise

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

(for holding anything) / , / , ,

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