MTD applauds Coast Guard report on Deepwater Horizon (5/18)

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The Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO has posted the following story, which includes a link to a PDF version of the letter sent to Chairman LoBiondo. To access this content on the MTD web site, click HERE


MTD Praises Coast Guard Investigative Report on Deepwater Horizon Tragedy


In letters sent to Capitol Hill, the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO lauded the U.S. Coast Guard report on last year’s Deepwater Horizon disaster.


MTD President Michael Sacco stated the 288-page report issued last month “provides all a far more accurate accounting of what took place before, during and after the Deepwater Horizon explosion than was summarized in the media weeks and months after this tragedy occurred.”


Sacco wrote, “The report casts a very critical eye specifically at the lax safety and emergency response culture aboard the Deepwater Horizon. It does not stop there. The Coast Guard notes many of these problems are found within the flag-of-convenience industry.”


Just days after the April 20, 2010 incident, some pundits on television and in newspapers pointed fingers at the Jones Act – America’s freight cabotage law – as an impediment to the clean-up efforts. Subsequent reports, including a bipartisan commission appointed by the White House, declared the Jones Act was not a hindrance in the fight to clean the Gulf of Mexico from the oil pouring out of the well after the offshore drilling rig exploded and sank, taking 11 lives.


However, the report questioned “the safety of vessels documented in open registry countries and specifically criticizes the Republic of the Marshall Islands (whose flag flew over the Deepwater Horizon),” Sacco pointed out. The MTD has long fought alongside global maritime groups like the International Transport Workers’ Federation against the spread of flag-of-convenience (or runaway flag) shipping.


The Coast Guard report also cast a critical look at itself, listing a series of recommendations to make the agency more responsive to the problems discovered during the investigation. (The January White House report was similar in its conclusions.) Some of the suggestions would require Congressional action.


The MTD sent letters to Chairman Mark Begich (D-AK) and Ranking Member Olympia Snowe (R-ME) of the Senate Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard Subcommittee; Chairman Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD) of the Senate Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security Subcommittee; and Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) and Ranking Member Rick Larsen (D-WA) of the House Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee.


To view a copy of the letter to Chairman LoBiondo, click HERE


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