Another subtle attack on Jones Act?


#1

As it is, existing deep sea sailors are fighting for ships to go work on for ridiculous pay and they say this …

[B]U.S. Facing Looming Shortage of Merchant Mariners[/B]

                                              By: [John Grady](http://news.usni.org/author/jgrady)
                        
                          March 22, 2016 6:06 PM             
                                                 [IMG]http://i1.wp.com/news.usni.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Cape-Ray-High-Resolution-e1435774564158.jpg?resize=625%2C192[/IMG]
                                                           M/V Cape Ray (T-AKR-9679). MARAD Photo

By 2022, the United States will need “70,000 new people” for the nation’s maritime fleet, but the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y., and the six state maritime academies only graduate 900 per year and are at capacity, Paul Jaenichen Sr., the head of the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), told the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee on Tuesday.

He added that even with a new military-to-mariner program for separating service members—and other programs like it—the real issue is now those individuals would get credit for the necessary licenses required. He told the panel American mariners are “also a very aging work force” that could aggravate the shortfall in the future.

Addressing existing requirements for mariners in support of global power projection, Jaenichen said that while the administration can meet the requirement for immediate deployment, “the first crew rotation is critical.” After four to six months, he said, there were “not enough [mariners] for sustained operations.”

He predicted “a perfect storm” after 1 January 2017, when licensing requirements change. For MARAD that means that drawing on a pool of recently retired mariners likely would not be possible. The retired mariners to remain current under the regulations would have to pay for required training out of their own pockets.

At the same time as that shortage of merchant mariners, the ships in the National Defense Reserve Fleet and its subset, the Ready Reserve Fleet, also are aging—averaging almost 40 years old. Some are steam-powered, needing parts that are no longer made. In the commercial vessels in Maritime Security Program, owners see government cargo contracts—including food-aid shipment and movement of military equipment from Afghanistan and Iraq—declining, and an overcapacity of shipping globally driving prices lower.

Like the American-flagged and government-owned fleet, questions surface about the viability of service-life extension spending on training ships. For example, the training ship [I]Empire State[/I] is 55-years-old and could cost $104 million in a service-life extension program. “I cannot guarantee spending that amount of money will” give 10 years, three years or even no more service.

Jaenichen said, “The stipend [to American ship owners] is the only place to go” to keep the U.S.-flagged fleet in operation. The administration has asked for $3.1 million per ship as a stipend. He said industry estimates that it cost $4.6 million more to operate an American ship over an international competitor last year, and the stipend this year would be $5 million.

“Industry has told us that is the right number. he entire global industry is losing money.” He added later in answer to a question that this loss of business is the prime reason American shippers either scrap vessels or reflag them. “If they are losing money, they are not going to stay” in the Maritime Security Program, which provides the stipends for up to 60 “commercially viable, military useful, privately-owned U.S.-flag vessels and crews operating in international trade.”

Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Lyons, the No. 2 officer in Transportation Command, said, “We’re right at the margin of moderate [to] high risk” in terms of aging ships in the Ready Reserve Fleet and the nation’s ability to crew mariners. The Ready Reserve Fleet is made up of government-owned vessels and was created in 1976 “to rapidly deploy equipment and materiel” in times of crisis on combat to humanitarian aid operations.

Jaenichen said the nation needs 40 more ships under its flag to have sufficient mariners to meet military surge capacity.
Lyons added there are questions, based on experiences in earlier conflicts, about the willingness of foreign owners with foreign crews to go into harm’s way to deliver necessary supplies and equipment to American forces operating in combat.

Both argued against repealing the 1920 Jones Act, designed to keep American maritime industry competitive. U.S. shipyards now have 32 vessels on their books, including two roll-on, roll-off cargo ships, Jaenichen said. “If you take away the building [in American shipyards] requirement,” the effect “would be traumatic” on the maritime industrial base and “not something that can be recovered quickly.”

The Maritime Administration is hoping to release for public comment a strategic maritime assessment document in a few months. It will be the first such document in decades.

The comments at the end are are worth reading.

The entire article goes from sailor shortage to corporate benefits & blaming the Jones Act, but nothing mentioned on how to alleviate the manpower shortage & make this industry remunerative to attract talented people.


#2

I don’t know that I see this article as an attack on the Jones Act. It says how they argued against repealing the Jones Act. The US Navy has always been fiercely in favor of the Jones Act and I would think the USNI would follow suit. All this article does is show how dire things really are, it’s not a commentary on the fault of the Jones Act.


#3

So there is a shortage or soon to be shortage of mariners? Just like there is/will be a shortage of airline pilots(which has been claimed for the last 15 years)? Who writes this stuff?


#4

Money will fix the shortage, if one exists. That, mandatory equal time, and improved living conditions.


#5

[QUOTE=johnny.dollar;181765] Who writes this stuff?[/QUOTE]

John Grady, a former managing editor of Navy Times, retired as director of communications for the Association of the United States Army.

      • Updated - - -

[QUOTE=z-drive;181766]Money will fix the shortage, if one exists. That, mandatory equal time, and improved living conditions.[/QUOTE]

Don’t forget taxes. US and Canada are the only 2 countries to tax their sailors.


#6

[QUOTE=smoker;181769]Don’t forget taxes. US and Canada are the only 2 countries to tax their sailors.[/QUOTE]

That’s not true at all.


#7

I believe all EU countries tax their sefarers. Greek Captains will retire their license and collect their pensions while sailing on a Cypriot one. The caveat is they can’t work for an EU based country or flag as those companies/vessels are required to report their income to the sailors home country. That is if I hear it right.


#8

[QUOTE=z-drive;181766]Money will fix the shortage, if one exists. That, mandatory equal time, and improved living conditions.[/QUOTE]

Not treating people like shit helps too. Its funny how blinded by the bottom line so many of these companies get when it comes to attracting and keeping talent.


#9

[QUOTE=lm1883;181782]I believe all EU countries tax their sefarers. Greek Captains will retire their license and collect their pensions while sailing on a Cypriot one. The caveat is they can’t work for an EU based country or flag as those companies/vessels are required to report their income to the sailors home country. That is if I hear it right.[/QUOTE]

Cyprus is in the EU and requires valid licenses like every other IMO signatory state.


#10

[QUOTE=johnny.dollar;181765]So there is a shortage or soon to be shortage of mariners? Just like there is/will be a shortage of airline pilots(which has been claimed for the last 15 years)? Who writes this stuff?[/QUOTE]

The article isnt clear about if they are talking about the entire merchant marine fleet or just the MaRad ships, specifically the officers for the MaRad ships. I also didnt see any references.
I beleive the article might be stretching the truth a little bit, and it is really about the engineers required for these ships specifically and it seems that the numbers are way off (again, no references).

People would rather wait it out for a job that pays close to double with a rotation than to take one of these jobs typically…

All you have to do is read the comments on the page. They look a little bit more acurate than the article.


#11

[QUOTE=cajaya;181804]The article isnt clear about if they are talking about the entire merchant marine fleet or just the MARAD ships, specifically the officers for the MARAD ships. I also didnt see any references.
I beleive the article might be stretching the truth a little bit, and it is really about the engineers required for these ships specifically and it seems that the numbers are way off (again, no references).

People would rather wait it out for a job that pays close to double with a rotation than to take one of these jobs typically…

All you have to do is read the comments on the page. They look a little bit more acurate than the article.[/QUOTE]

A shortage on MarAd ships, I’d find hard to believe. MarAd ships don’t offer much sea time (I think 1 for 3), but they are very desirable for other reasons and people homestead on them for years. It’s a ship job but you go home almost every night. (to clarify, many crew live locally) Unless things have changed in the last few years, someone practically has to die for someone else to get a permanent job.

Frankly, if there is a looming overall shortage of mariners, then much of the blame can be laid at the feet of Congress and of the Coast Guard (the latter for making it tougher for hawsepipers and entry level personnel, due to initial costs and other limitations).


#12

[QUOTE=cajaya;181804]The article isnt clear about if they are talking about the entire merchant marine fleet or just the MARAD ships, specifically the officers for the MARAD ships. [/QUOTE]

I believe Jaenichen is referring to a crisis surge sealift where all assets would be mobilized in a very short timeframe which would include all the LSMRs, FSSs and other RRF ships all at the same moment. The last time such a situation was experienced was in 1990 and there was a phased mobilization of the reserve ships. In that sense, he is correct that the US doesn’t have the certified and experienced mariner pool to draw upon. It came damned close to falling on its face in 1990 when we had six full months to prepare for combat and I perish to think how such a rapid surge mobilization of all reserve ships could happen today if the balloon went up somewhere in the world again and all our ships were needed yesterday. One of the greatest reasons why the RRF ships should be kept operating carrying DoD cargoes is that they would be fully manned and operating the moment they would be needed and could shift from peacetime to wartime operations very quickly. PHUCKING STOOPID GOOBERMINT!


#13

[QUOTE=catherder;181805]A shortage on MarAd ships, I’d find hard to believe. MarAd ships don’t offer much sea time (I think 1 for 3), but they are very desirable for other reasons and people homestead on them for years. It’s a ship job but you go home almost every night. (to clarify, many crew live locally) Unless things have changed in the last few years, someone practically has to die for someone else to get a permanent job.

Frankly, if there is a looming overall shortage of mariners, then much of the blame can be laid at the feet of Congress and of the Coast Guard (the latter for making it tougher for hawsepipers and entry level personnel, due to initial costs and other limitations).[/QUOTE]

Maybe it depends on the region. I have heard the more junior officer positions tend to be a revolving door. Saw the same positions on the same MaRad ships show up on the board quite often when I was doing the union hall thing. Also heard people in the hall say they didnt want those jobs, they would rather wait for something better. Me, I was quite happy to take them and people thought that was wierd. Happiest days of my career were spent working on MaRad ships making peanuts. Its a trade off I guess.


#14

[QUOTE=c.captain;181811]I believe Jaenichen is referring to a crisis surge sealift where all assets would be mobilized in a very short timeframe which would include all the LSMRs, FSSs and other RRF ships all at the same moment. The last time such a situation was experienced was in 1990 and there was a phased mobilization of the reserve ships. In that sense, he is correct that the US doesn’t have the certified and experienced mariner pool to draw upon. It came damned close to falling on its face in 1990 when we had six full months to prepare for combat and I perish to think how such a rapid surge mobilization of all reserve ships could happen today if the balloon went up somewhere in the world again and all our ships were needed yesterday. One of the greatest reasons why the RRF ships should be kept operating carrying DoD cargoes is that they would be fully manned and operating the moment they would be needed and could shift from peacetime to wartime operations very quickly. PHUCKING STOOPID GOOBERMINT![/QUOTE]

Ok, I see. They want to have full availablity of all required merchant marines to go FOS at the drop of the dime, that are hopefully also familiar and experienced on these types of vessels. Even though they dont pay well and dont normally have spots for these people. Deep sea shipping, wages are decreasing so people are opting for shoreside work instead, so they cannot depend as much on drawing the required number out of the pool from the union halls-even with all the people currently sitting around(added that in since thats sort of a given) and the retirees will not be bothering with the gap closing classes so they will not be able to call upon them. Esentially, they want an entire workforce of merchant marines to be on standby or like furlough or something encase there’s a war? Very interesting accept I dont see how its going to work.

Well, one thing they might do is beg the retirees to take the courses, offer to pay for the courses, and for the time to take them. That might alleviate the problem…slightly.


#15

The almighty gummint could issue myself and fellow tug mariners an unlimited license in a crisis like any other country would have already issued. Moving my theoretically unlimited tonnage barge through pilotage waters for a decade more than qualifies me to stand a watch as a 3rd or 2nd mate. The retirees can keep moving product domestically.


#16

[QUOTE=c.captain;181811]The last time such a situation was experienced was in 1990 and there was a phased mobilization of the reserve ships. In that sense, he is correct that the US doesn’t have the certified and experienced mariner pool to draw upon. … PHUCKING STOOPID GOOBERMINT![/QUOTE]

Much of the stuff is flown on airplanes today, right?


#17

[QUOTE=johnny.dollar;181837]Much of the stuff is flown on airplanes today, right?[/QUOTE]

There are not enough airplanes on the planet or places to land or park them to carry what we carried to Saudi in GW1, and back again.

And since you mentioned airplanes, that is why the airlines get nearly $3 billion in subsidies for signing on to the Civil Reserve Air Fleet.

http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/ss/dod_wide_business.html


#18

Would they have the good sense to do such a thing? Was there any discussion of that when the shortage came up back in GW1?


#19

Yes but if the mariner sails on a non EU flag vessel the income is not reported, as a Greek Captain explained it, so he still works while collecting a government pension but he no longer holds a Greek license as it has been retired. He was on a Marshall Islands flagged tanker.

Edit- he was working on a North American owned/operated vessel, but I’m not sure where the manning agency was based.


#20

[QUOTE=PaddyWest2012;181875]Would they have the good sense to do such a thing? Was there any discussion of that when the shortage came up back in GW1?[/QUOTE]

the problem with temporarily upgrading mariners to sail on larger tonnage vessels is the knowledge those vessels require. A man who has been on OSVs, tugs or fishing vessels does not automatically have what it takes to suitably and safely perform the duties on say a RRF ro/ro. This is especially true when it comes to engineers on steamships. You can’t take some limited tonnage motor chief and expect him to be able to even serve as a third assistant on a steamship. The problem too is never with the lowest level licenses but at the senior level. It was the shortage of suitable masters, chief engineers, chief mates and first assistants which almost brought a standstill to mobilizing more of the RRF fleet in 1990. MarAd was downright desperate to source those level mariners in GW1 and that was before STCW95 made it harder for older mariners to be current with their certificates. I know this is the reason they keep a few senior mariners aboard all the ROS4&5day RRF ships these days but the RRF10,20&30day ships would be very hard to man if there was a sudden crisis to get bodies into all positions on them tomorrow. Today, I believe that MarAd simply could never get beyond a crisis mobilization more than 30ships before the system would collapse into chaos.