A letter to congress

this is an excerpt of a letter to the US Congress and Administration bringing to light the loss of jobs to Americans on the OCS by allowing foreign mariners nearly unrestricted access.


[B] [/B]

For more than ten years there has been a steady incursion of vessels from foreign nations into the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. While generally slow and limited up till 2005, the damage to the offshore energy infrastructure brought about by hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused that trend to rapidly accelerate with the requirement to make needed repairs. With the return of production in the Gulf back to pre Katrina levels, these vessels which were brought in are not leaving and in fact, more are arriving monthly. These vessels are foreign built, foreign flagged and manned by foreign nationals and as a result, a very substantial number of opportunities are being lost to American seafarers, American vessel operating companies and American shipyards. I firmly believe that this trend is contrary to the intent of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (43 USC 1331), that it is harmful to the interests of the United States of America and that action needs to taken by the U.S. Congress to curb and ultimately reverse this trend. It is this very troubling dilemma that this letter hopes to bring to light."

For the full letter please go to my blog:

American Professional Mariners

Thanks c.captain!

I added a personal intro and sent your long letter to both Maria Cantwell (WA) and John Tester (MT). Hope it helps!

I added a personal intro and sent your long letter to both Maria Cantwell (WA) and John Tester (MT). Hope it helps!

It is always a great idea for people to personalize letters like this a little. It makes a much greater impression on your senators and representatives.

I’m sending it to senators Vitter and Landrue(La.) and my congressman(Boustany)

If you don’t want to use that very long & detailed letter, I have also composed this draft two page one:


[I]The Honorable Senator [Congressman/Congresswoman]_____________________[/I]
[I]State of _______________, [___th Congressional District][/I]
[I]United States Senate [House of Representatives][/I]
[I]Washington, D.C.[/I]

[I]Dear Mr. Senator / Madam Senator [Mr./Madam] _______________[/I]

[I]In this time of severe economic recession in our Nation the importance of employment for U.S. citizens is of critical nature. The loss of employment for any Americans means reduced spending by families for goods and services which supports our economic health. Further, lost employment opportunities for Americans means reduced revenue to our Government from payroll taxes. Of no less importance, Americans with good honest work to perform are prouder citizens which makes for a stronger and better country.[/I]

[I]I mention all of this because there is a situation occurring in the U.S. today where valuable skilled jobs which by statute and regulation are reserved for U.S. citizens are in fact being filled by foreign nationals. These are high paying industrial jobs in a sector of our Nation’s economy which is critical for both energy and military security. I speak of the U.S. offshore energy maritime support industry in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico from which 25% of our domestically produced oil and 40% of our own natural gas comes.[/I]

[I]The specific situation is that in recent years at least 25 vessels from foreign countries (mostly Norway) have been brought into the Gulf of Mexico to work as specialized support ships for oil and gas exploration, development and production. Foreign built and even foreign flagged vessels are not prohibited from working in the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) waters , but within the applicable laws which govern the employment of workers on the OCS are specific restrictions that offshore workers including officers and crew of the vessels working in its waters are to be U.S. citizens just as with any employment on land in the U.S.A. However through legal loopholes and subterfuge on the part of the owners of these foreign vessels, and/or lack of enforcement by the US Coast Guard (the Federal Agency with responsibility to enforce these laws), these particular foreign vessels are operating in our sovereign waters with 100% foreign crewmembers. This is in direct contravention to the intent of the employment protections provided in the Outer Continental Shelf Act (43USC1331 & 33CFRpart141). As a result, no fewer than 1000 U.S. Merchant Mariners are denied high paying skilled employment. One means the vessel owners use to get through loopholes in the law is the use of the tired excuse that there are no American workers with the skills to man these ships. This is a falsehood and as a certified and experienced American Merchant Mariner, I am available and ready to serve given the opportunity presently denied to me.[/I]

[I]To close, I need not emphasize more the loss which occurs when U.S. citizens are left unemployed. As we see to clearly each day now, it greatly harms our economy, our families and the very fabric of our great Nation. I urge you as a member of The Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety & Security [House Subcommittee on Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation] you have oversight in this matter and can investigate the U.S. Coast Guard Foreign and Offshore Vessel Division in the Coast Guard’s Washington D.C. headquarters. Look into how it is granting foreign manning waivers to vessel owners without investigation on their own part and how both foreign and domestic vessel owners are circumventing the intention of the law which is allowing economic harm to come to American workers and our Nation.[/I]

[I]Thank you very much for taking the time to read this letter and for giving this matter your consideration.[/I]

[I]Yours sincerely, [/I]



& btw, don’t just send letters to your own members of Congress…you can sent letters to any member of the two subcommittees which have oversight over affairs maritime. I know that is a lot of letters to send but that it is very likely what it will take to get action from Washington!

Thanks to each and every one of my fellow mariners for your support and action…

Captain- thank you for taking the time to get the message out. It is time we take back our merchant fleet.

With nation wide unemployment rapidly heading towards the 10% range, I think it is time for the leadership of our industry to take advantage of the political and economic climate and figure out new ways to recruit, train, and retain American workers in our nations waters. Funds for worker retraining are available in many state unemployment offices and these funds should be made available for individuals wanting to enter the maritime field or existing mariners wanting to upgrade to a higher level.

And trust me I have been working on one of those foreign vessels as a US Captain for almost the last 10 years, the pay is really good!!!

If a letter like this was to be rewritten with group/association participation - How would this letter change for the current situation being 2018 now. Nine years later. If inclined maybe one of the more experienced forum writers could use the input from this thread and others, for a draft? The finished copy could also be included on something like change.org

I’m still not convinced that writing letters to congress does anything. But I would be ho for picketing MARAD if someone wants to make signs :wink:

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