marad-Lucinda-Lessley

Acting US Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley testifying to Congress.

These Might Be The Worst Maritime Videos Ever Produced

John Konrad
Total Views: 9261
May 20, 2021

UPDATE: Adding insult to injury… shortly after this article was published MARAD removed the Maritime Day video from YouTube.

by Captain John Konrad (gCaptain) In the last fifteen years of writing for gCaptain, I have not often been at a loss for words. Today I am. In the last two days, I have watched two of the most boring, inaccurate, and frustrating videos ever.

As an American ship captain and proud US Merchant Mariner I am embarrassed.

The first is the US Government’s official Maritime Day Celebration day video. We asked a few teachers to grade this video as if it was a high school project. The grades ranged from F to C minus.

Released just days after a comprehensive and complete plan for Maritime industry investment by the European Union… this video – rife with poor audio, poor lighting, poor graphics, and very poor attention to detail – makes one point vibrantly clear: the US Government and Biden Administration – which, months after a major Forbes expose, has still failed to appoint a full-time Maritime Administrator – does not give two shits about the US Merchant Marine. They don’t even care enough to produce a watchable video, much less one which fills you with pride and a sense of purpose.

In addition to poor video quality and zero attention to detail… the cuts are wrong, Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Admiral Schultz, USCG thank the wrong people, the Texas Maritime cadets are saying something that’s obviously an inside joke, and what’s with the random Australian kid from California Maritime? We were very excited to see a female veteran of our service (seriously, I was excited!) but then MARAD’s edits made her sound repetitive and strange.

“Awful is not the right word for this one,” said one maritime government employee who has “watched dozens of boring and repetitive MARAD videos” over the past few decades.

The second video is worse. It’s footage of a joint hearing between the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower and projection forces subcommittee and readiness subcommittee of Congress.

“Throughout this hearing, it appears as though the effort that has been made by MARAD, by TRANSCOM, Navy and by the committee has not been successful,” subcommittee chair Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) said.

Sir that’s a total understatement. I began to document all the factually wrong information and idiotic ideas discussed in this meeting but, after two pages of written text, I deleted it. If you insist on a recap then read USNI’s report but I don’t have the hours required to point out all it’s major problems.

What I will say is that it is clear that acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley looked like a deer in the headlights and somewhat comical next to four-star Army general Lyons. Lyons appeared weak and alone without any US Navy support or representation. The star of the show was Kevin Tokarski, Associate Administrator for Strategic Sealift, who had his facts straight but kept referring back to stale (or outright antiquated) ideas – like Title XI loans – that haven’t worked in decades.

For example, Lucinda Lessley, said she is examining the maritime transportation strategy released under the Trump administration to assess whether it’s in sync with the Biden administration’s aims. This seems at odds with the fact that that the Biden White House shut down a number of key maritime adviser positions including the EOP’s White House maritime desk. A source close to the matter tells us those EOP plans were boxed up and sent to the national archives. Lesley also failed to mention that several drafts of the maritime transportation strategy exist at MARAD and the Pentagon, and the only one that was “released” was heavily white-washed after years of delay.

A second example comes at one hour and seventeen minutes into the testimony when Lyons assured congress that, had the Colonial Pipeline shutdown lasted longer, it would have had “no implication for the Department Of Defense”. This stands in stark contrast to both common sense and gCaptain’s interviews with energy industry executives who said we don’t have enough ships to supply military bases in the event of a long-term pipeline shutdown. Maybe the military has a secret pipeline to supply gasoline to Army tanks, trucks, tugs, and boats… but, if not, rerouting needs to be done via ships. Sealift ships, like the over thirty-year old tanker USNS Walter S. Diehl which is delaying the departure of an entire carrier group because of her broken lifeboats and numerous other deficiencies.

Missing from the hearing was testimony from anyone who is an actual ship captain or shipowner or any representative of the United States Navy or US Coast Guard.

As mentioned, I had an entire article written that enumerates all the failures and false narratives of this committee… but the situation is so hopeless that I don’t want to waste more of your time.

That said, if you are looking to be depressed then go watch for yourself:

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