Success in Piney Point
The successful reopening of our affiliated school in Piney Point, Maryland, is a great example of hard work, teamwork and dedication paying dividends. From a distance, it may look easy, but it took a substantial amount of planning and ongoing commitment to get the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education back up and running a few months ago. Read about it elsewhere in this edition of the LOG.
Credit goes to our school officials and staff members – and especially to the students, who’ve respected the unique circumstances. You’ve made all the difference and while everyone understands there are no guarantees with this pandemic, I know that everything reasonably possible is being done to ensure that the school stays open and safe.
It’s crucial that the Paul Hall Center remains available to offer upgrading opportunities and entry-level training to mariners who sail under the Stars-n-Stripes. Our industry is vital to U.S. national, economic and homeland security, which is why our members are deemed “essential workers.” Caution and circumstances basically demanded that the school close for a few months this summer, but with the right safety protocols having benn put in place, it was time to reopen. To everyone at the school, keep up the good work and remember that even though we’re all tired of the pandemic, it will end.
Jones Act Support
The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act, which included a key amendment emphasizing the enforcement of the Jones Act. Introduced by maritime stalwart Rep. John Garamendi (D-California), the provision helps ensure protection of America’s freight cabotage law in potential new areas of work.
There is an ongoing misinformation campaign attacking the Jones Act, but the facts are that this law has looked out for our country’s bests interests for a century. It helps maintain hundreds of thousands of American jobs. It contributes billions of dollars to our economy each year. It helps safeguard our ports and waterways. In short, it does exactly what it was meant to do, which is why it consistently enjoys bipartisan backing.
Thanksgiving in a Different Light
One of the documented (and very weird) effects of the lifestyle changes brought about because of precautions taken due to the novel coronavirus is that it sometimes causes one day or week or month to feel indistinguishable from another. However, you are not misreading the sentiment when I wish every Seafarer and SIU retiree and your families a Happy Thanksgiving. (Yes, it really is November.)
Maybe the only good offshoot of the pandemic is that it sometimes has given people more chances to spend time with their families. That’s not always the case for Seafarers, who’ve kept working throughout the year, but I hope those of you who are home for the holidays get to appreciate your loved ones. For those of you at sea, thank you for your dedication.
I also extend my sincerest wishes for a happy, safe and healthy holiday to our armed forces and their families. The entire SIU appreciates your service and we’re proud to stand (and sail) with you as part of America’s fourth arm of defense.