Unions Hail New U.S.-Flag Energy Exports Proposal

God bless Representative Garamendi! I want to shake the man’s hand and tell him to fight this good fight regardless of opposition!

[B]Unions Hail New U.S.-Flag Energy Exports Proposal
[/B]

By MarEx 2016-12-09 18:16:34

On Friday, Congressman John Garamendi of California, ranking member of the House Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, introduced a bill to require up to 30 percent of crude oil and LNG exports to travel on U.S.-flagged vessels.

“The state of the American maritime industry is in crisis-level decline,” said Garamendi. “This isn’t just an economic concern — it’s also a national security risk. Requiring even a minority of strategic energy asset exports to be carried on U.S.-flagged ships will compel us to rebuild the technical skill to man these vessels."

Leading American maritime unions and industry organizations immediately expressed support for Garamendi’s proposal, which is entitled the “Energizing American Maritime Act.”

Captain Don Marcus, president of the Masters, Mates and Pilots (MM&P), said in a statement that “the enactment of this legislation will both ensure that at least some of the jobs associated with the export of LNG will go to American maritime workers and help guarantee that we will have the civilian maritime manpower needed to support America’s national security requirements.”

Marshall Ainley, president of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (MEBA), said that "a strong commercial fleet is crucial to our national security as it maintains a base of trained mariners who are prepared to serve the U.S. military. The MEBA appreciates Rep. Garamendi’s effort to apply ‘make it in America’ standards to the maritime industry.”

Brian Schoenman, political and legislative director of the Seafarers International Union (SIU), broadly agreed. "This bill offers an excellent opportunity to create American jobs while strengthening U.S. national, economic and homeland security,” he said.

The Transportation Institute, which represents U.S. flag ship owners and operators, and the Navy League, an advocacy organization for America’s sea services, also expressed strong support.

Garamendi has also introduced separate legislation, H.R. 6454, requiring that the same percentage of strategic energy exports be carried on ships that are not only U.S.-flagged, but also built in American shipyards.

Both bills have both been referred to the House Energy and Commerce and the House Foreign Affairs committees.

[QUOTE=c.captain;193127]God bless Representative Garamendi! I want to shake the man’s hand and tell him to fight this good fight regardless of opposition![/QUOTE]

Assuming that this bill is passed, where are the US flag ships to carry LNG?
OK US Owners buy second hand foreign ships initially,until US yards are able to build up a fleet of suitable LNG ships.

But where does the crews with experience from such ships come from? How many US Mariners have served on large LNG carriers?
Will there be waivers to allow “doubling up” of key personnel for a period of time, until experienced US crews are available? If so, who pay the difference?

If 30% of LNG and Crude export from the US have to be shipped on US ships there will inevitably have to be some sort of “subsidies”.
One way is to ensure that US produced LNG and Crude is priced such that it is still competitive in the market, otherwise who will buy?
You cannot legally export 70% on foreign keel unless there is a way of carrying the remaining 30% reserved for US flag.
30% of nothing is zero.

No legal reason at all that such US flagged vessels be US built although it would be nice for US shipyards and their workers if they were which is called for in the second proposed House Bill.

Full ahead on this and Godspeed DEMOCRAT Rep. Garamendi!

[QUOTE=ombugge;193129]
But where does the crews with experience from such ships come from? How many US Mariners have served on large LNG carriers?[/QUOTE]

Don’t you believe your own propaganda? By the time these ships get built, they won’t need no stinkin’ crews, they’ll be autonomous.

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[QUOTE=c.captain;193132]No legal reason at all that such US flagged vessels be US built although it would be nice for US shipyards and their workers if they were which is called for in the second proposed House Bill.

Full ahead on this and Godspeed DEMOCRAT Rep. Garamendi![/QUOTE]

Maybe our new leader will promote a healthier merchant marine along with the expanded navy he advocates.

[QUOTE=Lee Shore;193147]Maybe our new leader will promote a healthier merchant marine along with the expanded navy he advocates.[/QUOTE]

sure and as the House Republicans acting as lapdogs for their big energy campaign donors kill this in Committee at which time I will get to tell you to eat my shorts!

Your optimism is underwhelming. I’ll pass on the shorts.

[QUOTE=Lee Shore;193147]Don’t you believe your own propaganda? By the time these ships get built, they won’t need no stinkin’ crews, they’ll be autonomous.[/QUOTE]

Oh yes I do. Autonomous ferries in Scandinavia within 3 years. Short sea vessels in European trade within 5-7 years and ocean going vessels within 10-15 years. You obviously don’t have much faith in US shipyards if you believe it will take them that long to build a few LNG carriers, but you may be right.

Besides, my question was; if US Owners buy second hand tonnage, where is the US mariners with experience to run them?

[QUOTE=ombugge;193163]Besides, my question was; if US Owners buy second hand tonnage, where is the US mariners with experience to run them?[/QUOTE]

Before we were sold down the toilet by ETC we had a large LNG fleet, much of that expertise is still available and MEBA for one has the resources to produce lots of LNG officers in short order.

If you mean the machinery itself, we have been operating foreign built machinery for so long we are surprised to find anything built in America.

Besides, my question was; if US Owners buy second hand tonnage, where is the US mariners with experience to run them?[/QUOTE]

Allow me to pile on with Steamer. The U.S. has and continues to have several avenues of billets for young officers to work on foreign flagged LNG ships as well as the senior officers from the now demised MEBA LNG ships. I recently had one as second officer that got tired of the monotony of the run he was on and tried out the MM&P.

It’s not rocket surgery and it’s definitely not outside the capabilities of what I can only assume you [ombugge] consider the “knuckle dragging” U.S. Merchant Marine. Given the equipment, tools, training, and fair wage - we will happily take the jobs.

I did not know that there were American officers on any LNG carriers, although I was aware that some were US owned and operated, (at least commercially), like these: http://excelerateenergy.com/fleet/
That is also why I asked. Thanks for the info.

I have a young nephew, recent TAMUG grad that is a 3rd mate on a Shell LNG tanker.

Was gonna say, Shell offers positions for US officers aboard their foreign flagged LNG ships.

If I remember correctly, BG does as well. Well, BG may only be cadet slots. I need to check in and see what the situation is over there today.

[QUOTE=ombugge;193255][U][B]I did not know[/B][/U] that there were American officers on any LNG carriers, although I was aware that some were US owned and operated, (at least commercially), like these: http://excelerateenergy.com/fleet/
That is also why I asked. Thanks for the info.[/QUOTE]

Is such a thing even possible?

Someone suggested that the new President might be good for shipping. I beg to differ.

President-elect Trump chose Elaine Chao as Transportation Secretary.

Need I remind anyone here that her family owns a shipping company that uses FOC vessels?

Even if she declares no personal holdings- how is this good for us? I think some of you are cheering way too soon.

This family operated a ship that was caught smuggling cocaine.

I’m not suggesting that she (or her husband Mitch McConnell) knew about the drugs. I’m saying that we don’t need to have someone overseeing US Flag shipping with this sort of background. Someone with family ties to FOC shipping is not going to be a stalwart advocate of US shipping.

Her father is second from right in this photo.

Here is a new LNG carrier that will be a regular visitor in the US: http://splash247.com/nyk-teams-kepco-new-lng-carrier/
Will they offer possibilities for US mariners to fill some positions?

[QUOTE=twackineer;193276]Is such a thing even possible?[/QUOTE]

Yes I know, sounds unlikely but yet true. Like you, I do not know everything.

I’m still surprised, though. How can highly paid and well protected US mariners accept position on FOC ships?
Isn’t that reserved for 3rd world slave labourers with little knowledge of their work and no health benefits, or is that a misconception that I have picked up here on the forum??

[QUOTE=ombugge;193304]
I’m still surprised, though. How can highly paid and well protected US mariners accept position on FOC ships?
Isn’t that reserved for 3rd world slave labourers with little knowledge of their work and no health benefits, or is that a misconception that I have picked up here on the forum??[/QUOTE]

I think it is a silly game you are playing. European officers working on liner trade vessels have always had a far better standard of living (and thanks to more enlightened tax policies, an equivalent or even higher pay scale) than their American equivalents.

I’ll never forget standing on the bridge of an APL boxboat in Hong Kong and watching the view through the windows of the officer’s mess of a CGM boxboat ahead of us. The white tablecloths, the table setting, the wine service, and the multiple mess stewards serving the officers and their wives who accompanied them on that trip. If I recall correctly, we were down to cafeteria style by that time.

It is the unlicensed crews on the FOC ships that give them the well earned reputation for slavery and 3rd world conditions but of course you are fully aware of that as are the readers here who have sailed in those trades.

I personally know a few US officers who have sailed on FOC vessels, mainly for the experience and sea time. You don’t do it to get wealthy.

In my position at a certain chemical company for several years, I saw all kinds of living conditions for officers and unlicensed alike. I think some of the worst conditions are on Chinese (mainland) vessels. This is from personal observation, not third hand anecdotes. Then come the others. The PRC flagged and crewed ships are often the ones you hear about that end up calling in a US port without food stores, payroll, etc.

Yet these same ships are crewed by some of the nicest people, and it breaks my heart to see how they are treated with such callous disregard. That is the FOC way. People are disposable, screw em over and replace em, there’s a million more in line.

No comments on Ms. Chao’s nomination? Anyone? How do we feel about people with FOC ties overseeing our maritime industry? And the cherry on top is John McCain, who has been re-elected. It’s a perfect storm of wrath toward the US Merchant Marine but I don’t see too many of you guys squawking over it.

That’s ok- I’ve only got another 10-12 years of full time work and I hang it up. I have a second profession under my wing that I can earn money doing if I need to.

If you are young, you might be pretty well fucked.

A few more comments. I had a job as a service engineer at a well known chemical company for several years, and my job was to go from ship to ship and analyze the technical water and make treatment recommendations. I also trained the water engineers (usually the second A/E).

In that capacity, I visited hundreds of foreign flag ships. Probably set foot on more FOC and other foreign flag ships than most of you put together and that is not meant as an insult, it was simply part of the job (I am aware of a couple of forum members who are notable exceptions).

Some of the nicest folks I have met in this business were on the poorest and shabbiest vessels, and it has always bothered me that those who work so hard and so long get the least pay and benefits.

There is nothing quite like visiting a ship with a very lean budget, and yet you are offered tea and toast, and the Chief Engineer offers you one of his own cigarettes. I quit smoking in the 90’s, but just a few years ago I smoked a Chinese cigarette with the delightful Chief Engineer of a PRC-flagged bulk carrier picking up a load of anthracite at Norfolk Southern Pier 6. He showed me photos of a family he hadn’t seen in almost a year. There were no linen tablecloths on that ship.

Things to think about when we need perspective.

Every time the subject of foreign vessels in GoM, decline in US shipping, or jobs for US Mariners on foreign ships come up, the argument about “3rd world slave labour” is brought up by somebody on this forum.

West European seafarers has the same problem of competing against lower paid foreigners.
But they do not call for a blanket ban on foreigners, which would only result on the jobs disappearing altogether.
In stead their unions press their Government to support their positions with better taxation schemes etc. Most have both a national and open register, which allow the use of foreign crews on the ships [U]provided they are qualified and paid according to ITF rates[/U]: http://www.itfseafarers.org/what_wages.cfm
This may not be up to US standard, but it is attractive jobs for those who have no possibility of getting anywhere near as well paying jobs at home.

Norway have just softened up the restrictions on NIS register vessels trading in Norwegian waters to secure work for Norwegian officers. May sound like a contradiction to you, but it works: https://www.rederi.no/aktuelt/2016/positivt-at-regjeringen-styrker-nis-og-nettolonn/

I’ll never forget standing on the bridge of an APL boxboat in Hong Kong and watching the view through the windows of the officer’s mess of a CGM boxboat ahead of us. The white tablecloths, the table setting, the wine service, and the multiple mess stewards serving the officers and their wives who accompanied them on that trip. If I recall correctly, we were down to cafeteria style by that time.

Yes the standard of living on US flag ships has always been below European standard for some reason.
I must admit it was a “cultural shock” stepping on board my first US flag “mud boat” back in 1970.
Not to mention getting on the rigs some years later. Coming from being Master of an old ex British tanker, with my own 3-room flat and a Captain’ Boy, to standard Bethlehem and LeTourneu rigs was an eye opener.

It is the unlicensed crews on the FOC ships that give them the well earned reputation for slavery and 3rd world conditions but of course you are fully aware of that as are the readers here who have sailed in those trades.

OK, as you obviously understood I was being sarcastic.