For the tenth year in a row, representatives from the SIU and other maritime industry leaders recently ventured to Capitol Hill for the annual Maritime Congressional Sail-In.
The yearly grassroots event (the most recent one took place March 6) has become a crucial mainstay for the American maritime industry, which is heavily regulated. It consists of meetings with legislators from both sides of the aisle as well as their respective staffs. Each Sail-In group normally features representatives from different components of the industry, including labor, management and other partners.
This year, 34 groups attended more than 180 meetings to discuss pressing maritime issues. Representing the SIU were Executive Vice President Augie Tellez, Vice President Contracts George Tricker, Vice President Gulf Coast Dean Corgey, Vice President West Coast Nick Marrone, Vice President Atlantic Coast Joseph Soresi, Assistant Vice Presidents Nick Celona, Kris Hopkins, Bryan Powell, Mike Russo and Pat Vandegrift, Port Agents Todd Brdak, Amancio Crespo, John Hoskins, Nick Marrone II, Ashley Nelson, Victor Nunez, Mark von Siegel, Chris Westbrook, Joe Baselice and Jimmy White, Patrolman Ray Henderson and Political Consultant Terry Turner. This year’s Sail-In saw the most SIU participation in the event’s history, with representatives from the union in 21 of the 34 groups.
In addition to the SIU representatives, the meeting groups included leaders from every major seafaring union, various Jones Act shipping companies and organizations, the Navy League of the United States, several state maritime academies and other allies of the U.S. Merchant Marine. Topics brought to the attention of the lawmakers included proposals to extend and expand the Maritime Security Program; increase the required percentages for U.S.-flag transport of non-military, government-impelled cargoes; protect the Jones Act; and recognize World War II U.S. Merchant Mariners with a congressional gold medal.
The Sail-In concluded with a rooftop reception at the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) office. There, U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-California) addressed the guests, and reiterated his commitment to the maritime industry and U.S.-flag shipping.