DOT, MARAD Release Report on Academy
The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) on Nov. 24 released a new report titled, “Organizational Assessment of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA): A Path Forward” and an accompanying Implementation Plan prepared by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA).
“USMMA students are remarkable leaders committed to serving the nation and supporting positive change,” said Acting Maritime Administrator Lucinda Lessley. “They deserve a modern, safe, and inclusive learning environment where they have the training and resources that will prepare them to succeed in the U.S. merchant marine and in our armed forces. We acknowledge, and have been working to address, the many urgent issues raised by NAPA’s report and to put USMMA on a path to modernization.”
NAPA’s assessment affirms that USMMA faces “longstanding systemic issues” across almost all areas of its operations, including educational programs; facilities maintenance and capital management; sexual assault and sexual harassment (SASH) prevention and response, including during the Sea Year; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and internal and external governance.
The full report, including numerous recommendations for corrective and preventive actions, is available online.
Lakes Task Force Honors Sen. Peters
The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force has recognized the tremendous work done by Michigan U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D) for protecting and advancing the Great Lakes Navigation System.
“Senator Peters has moved the needle on several extremely important projects in the Great Lakes,” the organization (to which the SIU is affiliated) said in a news release. “He continues to be instrumental in efficiently funding the construction of a new large navigational lock in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. Senator Peters understands the economic benefits of Great Lakes shipping and the need to make our ports competitive and reliable even during the winter season. To that end, he cosponsored the Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act, which would make icebreaking a higher priority for the U.S. Coast Guard and ensured $350 million was included in the pending House Reconciliation Bill for another heavy Great Lakes icebreaker. In addition, he has worked tirelessly with the Port of Monroe to resolve import and export issues associated with U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s interpretation of rules that hampered further port development with containerized cargo.”
Council Thanks Rep. For Jones Act Support
Solidarity with the Jones Act was the topic of a recent discussion between the leadership of the Hawaii Ports Maritime Council (PMC, part of the Maritime Trades Department) and a newly elected member of Congress from the Aloha State.
During a November meeting, PMC President Randy Swindell and Secretary-Treasurer Hazel Galbiso (the SIU’s port agent in Honolulu) thanked U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hawaii) for his support. Elected to the Congress in 2020, Kahele serves on both the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Armed Services Committee. Kahele also is a 20-plus-year veteran of the Hawaii Air National Guard, holding the rank of lieutenant colonel.
The congressman reminded the PMC officials of his staunch support for the nation’s freight cabotage law. (The Jones Act states that cargo moved between domestic ports must be carried aboard a U.S.-flag, U.S.-crewed, U.S.- built and U.S.-owned vessel.)
He referred Swindell and Galbiso to his posted remarks on the law: “The Jones Act plays a critical role in support of U.S. national security. Eliminating the Jones Act would allow foreign-built ships to operate in our domestic trade, which only rewards countries like China at the expense of U.S. businesses and jobs. Jones Act carriers provide a reserve force of well-trained seafarers who in times of national emergency can crew reserve sealift vessels, while ensuring the United States does not need to rely on foreign carriers to move people and military assets.”