New Study: America Too Dependent On Chinese Ships

I should forward this directly to “Captain” Max Turdburger

[B]New Study: America Too Dependent On Chinese Ships[/B]

By MarEx 2015-11-19

In future conflicts, America’s merchant fleet could find itself outnumbered and outmaneuvered on the high seas, say the authors of a new paper on U.S. maritime security.

The paper, released November 19 and entitled “Sea Strangulation: How the United States Has Become Vulnerable to Chinese Maritime Coercion,” highlights the defense risks of a reduced American merchant fleet and the need to improve its capability.

The authors – Captain Carl Schuster, former Director of Operations at the U.S. Joint Intelligence Center Pacific, and Dr. Patrick Bratton, Associate Professor of Political Science at Hawaii Pacific University – claim that “the United States has adopted an ‘abandon ship’ policy towards the crucial merchant maritime industry,” and has let it shrink to its smallest size since the Spanish-American War.

Bratton and Schuster point to the gap in fleet size between the U.S. and China. “Only about 80 of the ships engaged in international trade across the world’s oceans are U.S.-flag carriers,” compared with a Chinese deep sea merchant fleet of 3,900 ships.

“China does not need to blockade foreign ports to cut off the flow of goods . . . Chinese authorities could do this by controlling the price of goods entering or leaving United States ports through manipulation of shipping rates or ocean carrier service.” The authors describe this potential threat as “Sea Strangulation.”

In the absence of a large U.S. merchant fleet, even allied nations’ cargo ships might not be willing to fill the U.S.-China gap.

The five largest container shipowners are headquartered in nations with American mutual defense treaties, and these companies carry nearly a third of global volume by TEU. But if China or any other nation should create a naval blockade or “no-go zone” at sea, foreign-flagged vessels could choose to remain neutral and avoid danger, stranding American cargoes.

“Would foreign ship owners and crews take the risk of standing up to [another military power]?” ask the authors.

American allies have joined in military sealift efforts before; 22 percent of cargoes for the buildup to Operation Desert Storm went aboard foreign-flagged vessels of allied nations.

But foreign-flag carriage of military cargo has also created problems for American forces in the recent past.

In 1965, shipments of military supplies for Vietnam were held up for months due to neutrality issues. That year, Mexican government authorities ordered the Mexican-flagged merchant vessel El Mejicano to offload its Vietnam-bound American cargo. Mexico claimed neutrality, and it refused to let a vessel under its flag carry military supplies. But “loading the cargo on a Greek-flag ship did not solve the problem because the Greek crewmen also refused to sail the cargo to Vietnam,” the authors say. In all, a total of seven ships in three months refused American cargoes bound for Vietnam.

As an example of the type of sealift capacity America might need in the future, the authors estimate that in a conflict in the South China Sea, the deployment of two carrier strike groups would require the shipment of 100,000 tons of ordinance and 300,000 tons of fuel in the first 30 days. The plan would require large sustained deliveries every day thereafter, transported over a distance of more than 6,000 nm.

They add that outlying American territories like Guam and Hawaii would be vulnerable to a blockade if American ships were not available to carry goods to them in time of war.

Bratton and Schuster conclude that the security of the supply chain for military operations and territorial protection requires a strong government commitment to the U.S.-flagged merchant fleet. They “recommend strengthening the Maritime Security Program and maintaining the Jones Act . . . an overdependence on flag of convenience carriers and ships belonging to China or other nations that may test the U.S., [and] could lead to hardship for those who live and serve under the flag of the United States.”

Their study may be timely; Congress recently voted to increase Maritime Security Program funding for the support of militarily useful U.S. flagged vessels, and the bill awaits the President’s signature.

Recent events in Australia illustrate the effects of limited government support for a domestic fleet. Since last year, the Australian-flagged fleet has lost three of five coastal tankers and one bulker to foreign competition. Some analysts estimate that if all of the current government’s cabotage laws are enacted, the number of Australian merchant mariners will fall to less than 100 people.

where are our priorities in this country?

Foreign labor and foreign built ships so the rich get richer, by circumventing the USA’s ever expanding “regulation nation.”

[QUOTE=c.captain;173789]I should forward this directly to “Captain” Max Turdburger
[/QUOTE]

Please do. That report hits the nail on the head.

Now we need to bring it to the attention of our elected representatives.

Therefore the only logical solution is to eliminate the US build requirement from the Jones Act; that will SURELY reduce dependency upon chinese tonnage.

[QUOTE=z-drive;173925]Therefore the only logical solution is to eliminate the US build requirement from the Jones Act; that will SURELY reduce dependency upon chinese tonnage.[/QUOTE]

But increase dependence on Chinese shipyards.

Only home trade ,i.e., Jones Act , ships must be built in the US.

US ships engaged in foreign trade can be built anywhere, or purchased anywhere and reflagged US.

The US needs to bring back ODS, and provide financing for US companies to purchase modern ships from distressed foreign companies ( or buy distressed shipping debt and then foreclose on the ships) for reflagging US.

[QUOTE=c.captain;173789]I should forward this directly to “Captain” Max Turdburger

where are our priorities in this country?[/QUOTE]

Bust it out, then burn it out. The way the mafia wrings all the money out of a store or restaurant, then said store has a mysterious fire in the middle of the night.

Only on a grand scale.

It took a study for them to realize that we are over dependent on foreign flag shipping?

[QUOTE=cali deckie;173962]It took a study for them to realize that we are over dependent on foreign flag shipping?[/QUOTE]

I think it was specifically Chinese, especially with the BS going on with China right now.

[QUOTE=cali deckie;173962]It took a study for them to realize that we are over dependent on foreign flag shipping?[/QUOTE]

That are not going to believe it (it’s just a study) until the military cannot get its stuff shipped during some crisis.

[QUOTE=water;173802]Please do. That report hits the nail on the head.

Now we need to bring it to the attention of our elected representatives.[/QUOTE]

They already know about it … they were well paid to create that situation.

John McCain and his ilk continue to get fat making sure the situation does not change any time soon.

[QUOTE=tugsailor;173975]That are not going to believe it (it’s just a study) until the military cannot get its stuff shipped during some crisis.[/QUOTE]

Did the Canadians ever learn after the GTS Katie disaster in 2000? I’ve found a lot of hemming and hawing about their seaborne logistics problems, but so far as I can tell, they’re still 100% dependent on fifth-party, foreign-owned, foreign-managed, foreign-flagged, foreign-inspected, foreign-crewed vessels to carry anything bigger than a breadbox over the oceans.

Even after being publicly humiliated by four or five countries at once, Canada wasn’t motivated to fix the problem. I can’t imagine the USA diverting 9/10 of a cent to a healthy merchant fleet at the expense of corporate executives who want slightly cheaper freight rates and don’t give a damn whether we can move government cargo reliably, or whether any Americans have work. Government decision-making is ruled by people who are only in this country because their latest profit projections say it wouldn’t be profitable to emigrate yet.