Congress calls on MARAD to give GMATS to the Seaman's Institute

This article was written by an interested party. takes no official stance on the matter and has reached out to the Department of Transportation for comment.

And so it continues, the beating of the dead horse…

On 21 March 2012, Congressman Michael Grimm, representing the 13[SUP]th [/SUP]District of New York, released a statement regarding a letter that he sent to the US Maritime Administrator, David Matsuda, asking that GMATS’ intellectual property and equipment be given to Seaman’s Institute in Snug Harbor, Staten Island.

The Seamen’s Institute is a non-profit that provides training and many other services to mariner’s and while this is worthwhile organization, they are a private organization asking for special treatment.

Here’s a quote from Captain Curt Ward of the Seaman’s Institute:
"Congressman Grimm is working to preserve hundreds of existing jobs and is creating thousands of new job opportunities for New Yorkers by preserving and relocating the maritime training courses and equipment from Kings Point GMATS to Snug Harbor on Staten Island. Mr. Grimm will be keeping the cost of continuing education affordable for over 7,000 mariners working in NY Harbor, and will make training accessible and affordable for entry-level Staten Islanders so that they too can find work in their home port. The Seaman’s Institute and the maritime industry are grateful to Congressman Grimm and his staff for their efforts. We stand ready to assume the new responsibilities and pledge to make the entry-level training available as soon as possible.”
The courses offered by GMATS and Seaman’s Church are virtually identical and there is little to no value in acquiring the property, but that aside… the Congressman boasts how this will create jobs, but there is no mention of transferring any GMATS employees.

So what about the 28 New Yorkers currently employed at GMATS?

In Congressman Grimm’s statement, he says GMATS’ programs are “of paramount importance to the vitality of the maritime industry of the Northeast that these courses continue to remain available to the region.”

So why not help to save GMATS rather than dismantle its property and give it to another organization? If it is so valuable to New York in content and employment why not assist GMATS?

Further disturbing is the comment of GMATS’ fiscal improprieties, “While I understand that improprieties discovered at the program may necessitate its termination”.

Nowhere is it recorded that GMATS had any fiscal improprieties. This statement only creates and fosters issues for current GMATS employees looking for employment after the closure, as more negative attention is put on the situation.

Lastly, why should the Seaman’s Institute get anything or anyone else for that matter? Why not SUNY Maritime or any other Maritime School in the Northeast? Actually, why not the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy to use for its students and provide further information for its faculty….but that would make sense!

It’s true that GMATS will be closed July 31, 2012, however I feel asking for an unfair competitive advantage out of Congress is disturbing and inappropriate.

It is a shame that Congressman Grimm and many others just don’t get it! I have attended many GMATS programs over the years. GMATS is much more than its courses.

GMATS is successful because:
GMATS is the professional people who make it work, the experienced Instructors and the maintaining of their credentials and teaching skills, all Staff and administrative and decision makers.
The certifications classes retain are for the instructors, USCG certifications are for instructors, facilities and organization, and are not transferrable.
Reputation of success in teaching in the maritime industry, and solving industry problems.
The experience of personnel gained over years of performance, to provide success to customers.
That fact GMATS’ programs and the fact that years of vetting have made them the best in the industry.

It is sad to see it go, but the lack of concern is even sadder!

It is sad to see it go, but the lack of concern is even sadder!

Indeed sir…it’s extremely shortsighted of MarAd to pull the plug on the one program offered at the USMMA which makes sense to the maritime industry and has a successful track record just in a pathetic attempt to show that they are cleaning up their act when it comes to mismanagement of that facility. KP could be so much more of a true asset to the industry if the place were actually used as a institution for genuine training, research and development instead of just being a ridiculous tinpot mini-me Annapolis.

Thank you sir for your very astute observation.