MARAD US Mothball Ship Fleet

Rusting remenants of the once great US Merchant Marine fleet as seen at the Reserve Fleet moored near Fort Eustis. US Navy Photo by Robert Sitar

Why Is The US Merchant Marine So Rusted And Broken?

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February 6, 2022

After World War II the United States had the largest and newest fleet of deepwater commercial ships in the world. World trade has roughly doubled every tens years since the Allied victory in Japan yet the US Merchant Fleet has been in steady decline.

Related Article: New U.S. Virgin Islands Open Registry Officially Launched

Today the United States has one of the oldest fleets in the world and is ranked 21nd in terms of tonnage. Who is to blame for the decline? Are the US maritime unions at fault? Greedy shipowners? The largest flags of convenience? The United States Navy? MARAD?

Could a new US flag based out of the US Virgin Islands save the US Merchant Marine? If so why are the Maritime Unions so angry and so strongly aligned against this change?

In the latest episode of What’s Going on With Shipping, maritime scholar and host Dr. Sal Mercogliano answers these questions and more. Specifically, he discusses the major issues, causes, and events that have led to the decline of the U.S. merchant marine from the end of the Second World War to today.

Related Book: Abandoned Ocean: A History of United States Maritime Policy – A concise analysis of the decay of the merchant marine through the failed policies that have been imposed upon the industry by Andrew Gibson and Arthur Donovan

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