Matson initiates foreign-flag service from China to the Pacific Coast SUP-contracted Matson
Navigation Company has expanded its China service, but without American mariners or U.S.-flag, U.S.-built vessels.
Instead, the company has chartered five foreign-flag 3,500TEU vessels to operate between Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Long Beach. Since 2006, Matson has operated a string of five U.S.-flag,
U.S.-built and U.S.-crewed vessels (R.J. Pfeiffer, Manukai, Manulani, Maunawili, Maunalei) from Xiamen, Ningbo, and Shanghai to Long Beach. The vessels each have a capacity of 2,600 TEUs. This service has been exceptionally profitable for Matson which touts it on its website as [B][I][U]“proudly operated by American officers and crew.”[/U][/I][/B] (emphasis mine) These vessels call Hawai’i and Guam enroute to East Asia and are required to conform to the Jones Act, while the foreign-flag vessels will not as they will not trade between U.S. ports. The first foreign-flag vessel began operating this month. Renamed Kaimoku, she is the former Cypriot-flagged CSL Stepanie originally built for the Japanese carrier K Line 17 years ago as the Seto Bridge. Industry sources indicate Matson chartered her in from Cyprus Sea Line for $18,500 a day. The other vessels, named Kainalu, Kailua, Kohala and Kailani, are expected to go into service within the month and are presumably chartered from the Cyprus company.
SUP President Gunnar Lundeberg deemed Matson’s foreign-flag operation [B][I][U]“an affront and insult to American mariners who made the China run a success.”[/U][/I][/B] He also called it a dangerous precedent given the attacks on the Jones Act.
So even Matson now sells out its US Merchant seamen…yeah, really proud of its American Mariners! What or who will be next? Cheap, cheaper and cheapest…no shame whatsoever!