Maritime Unions Slam MARAD for “Flawed” U.S.-Flag Report

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November 9, 2011

Maritime unions have critized the U.S. Maritime Administration and David Matsuda for releasing a report last week on the cost of flying the U.S. flag. The unions have said the report, which found that, among other things, the cost of flying the U.S. flag is more than double to that of other nations, is highly contentious and was done without input from maritime labor whatsoever.  The statement adds the that U.S. Maritime Administrator, David Matsuda, should be held accountable for releasing such a damaging report.

The joint statement was released yesterday by American Maritime Officers, International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots, Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association, and Seafarers International Union.

The Maritime Administration, more than a year ago, was tasked by Congress with identifying ways to boost American-flag shipping. Instead, the agency accepted a report based on incomplete information whose main conclusion – that in the deep-sea commercial sector, it often costs more to use U.S.-flag ships – isn’t news to anyone. The fact that MarAd chose to exclude a significant segment of the maritime industry from this process, and accepted a report that includes possible cost-cutting suggestions that are completely contrary to the overall best interests of the United States, represents a gigantic failure in Matsuda’s leadership and a missed opportunity on the part of the Maritime Administration.

The Unions say the the Maritime Administration, who is tasked with advocating for the U.S.-flag fleet and promoting the U.S. merchant marine, does just the opposite.

How could the Maritime Administration sign off on a report that suggests consideration of weakening or eliminating the Jones Act, one of the bedrocks of our national and economic security? How could the agency not refuse the mere notion of turning America into a second register?

The statement goes on to praise U.S. mariners for their superior training and professionalism.

American mariners are second-to-none worldwide when it comes to being properly trained for their profession. Yet MarAd’s report points to these factors as some of the reasons why it costs more, on average, to ship American. MarAd should be ashamed of itself for entertaining a study that suggests that beating down American mariners to the level of Third-World labor and lowering their standard of living are good for our industry and good for our country.

Click HERE for the full joint statement from the Unions.

The report from the Maritime Administration can be downloaded, HERE.

Join in the ongoing discussion about this report on the Forum, HERE.

After reading the report what do you think?

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