This is the place to discuss this week’s Poll Question “Poll: What is the most important issue for Mariners today?”.
Vote on the poll located in the right hand column of [our blog](http://gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/" title="Maritime Expert Blog).
Or suggest the topic of next week’s poll question below:
I wanted to kick off some discussion on this topic because I think it is VERY important- because there are a LOT of issues affecting mariners today. My greatest fear is the criminalization of the American mariner. I can understand the need for tightening up security but I think that the port security initiatives and TWIC has taken things too far, especially when our politicians were ready to give the port management contracts to Dubai - a known haven for terrorists which has many wealthy islamic extremists.
I think that in the quest to protect our ports we have damned the industry- which has quickly turned into an nightmare of over-regulation in the past 15-20 years. Things are only getting worse. What really burns me about these regulations is that I have not heard much about how TWIC will solve any international trade security problems. China sends a large number of ships to our ports - I haven’t heard about making them carry special ID cards. Actually, you hear suprisingly little about the international component. The only way that TWIC is going to help security is if it can be made an international requirement for any company that wishes to do business with the U.S. – It seems like congress and the Coast Guard views our mariners as if we were all the next Timothy McVay. There could not be anything farther from the truth- Mariners as a whole seem to be more patriotic than the general population.
Why should we be placing these requirements on our companies that are already plagued by a myriad of other regulations when we are doing very little to take care of the problems overseas? If we cannot put up a border fence between Mexico and the U.S. - how can we expect to secure our coastline and our ports? What is going to stop the next ship from the United Arab Emirates or Egypt from driving into a bridge or waterfront park or detonating a bomb from their own vessel.
If this trend keeps up it will be more difficult to get new mariners to sign up and old mariners who do not want to deal with the TWIC (among other things) will resign. I talked to many older guys that plan on retiring because of TWIC and the hassles they have had in maintaining their license. So one thing leads to another leads to another… My pessimistic crystal ball says that criminalizing mariners will result in a labor shortage which will cause a recession in the industry- and the possible loss of the Jones act to keep vessels running- only with lower wages and/or outsourced work.
Casey O’Donnell - Owner/Editor of MaritimeLinks.net
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“f this trend keeps up it will be more difficult to get new mariners to
sign up and old mariners who do not want to deal with the TWIC”
Like they didn’t have enough problems getting people to sign up for the 16 weeks of ChiefMate/MAster upgrade classes, crazy amounts of paperwork aboard ship and companies who are unwilling to provide a wage that attracts people.
Like that “Empress of the North” grounding, I think the HR manager should be arrested for hiring a green third mate and sued by every passsenger aboard for not providing a wage that would have attracted someone with more experience.
I think foreign workers may be the most viable threat to the future of the U.S. Mariner. Especially in the Oilfield where the country’s thirst for self sustained levels of go juice out weigh all obstacles. U.S. companies are already importing workers to build the U.S.flag vessels. Where will it end. If someone can convince the right people that this is the only viable solution to the quote “MARINER SHORTAGE” it could happen. The only things standing in their way is the Jones Act. Don’t believe they can not ammend it. Of all the things that really concern me about the future, this is at the top. Maybe it is just the idea that I have seen everything else go this route. Under wear, Washing Machines, Ford. I had a 2002 ford I looked under one day and saw “Hecho en Mexico” (made in Mexico). LOL.
It looks like “Excessive Training Requirements” is winning out by a sizable margin. Is this a concern for most of you?