Why The US Merchant Marine Is Failing


Are you now talking wages or total crew costs? In wages there are not much difference between US and European Officers. The additional cost would be mostly if crewed with US or European unlicensed crew.

A vessel crewed by European or US Officers and say a Pinoy crew would be somewhat cheaper, but not a material difference. Filipino or Indian Officers may be slightly lower paid in some cases, but many companies today does not differentiate the pay by nationality, only by ability. (Hard to believe, I know)

No the routes in question does not require US flag, US built vessels, or US mariners, therefore there are very few. There are no US flag vessel in the 10-20K TEU class of Container vessels to my knowledge)

Shipping is an international business any any attempt by this or any other US Administration to change that will meet with defeat. (Just like the trade war, if continued)

If you want your piece of the cake you have to change your ways. A second register MAY be a way to do it.


So…you’re saying higher cost is the reason…I agree.

As far as having no say in the matter, you’re wrong. When you’re the largest economy in the world and are separated by oceans on both sides, you absolutely have say in what goes on. But it requires willpower by those in charge to make it happen.

Just like there’s a bill in congress right now to require a certain percentage of energy exports to ship on US hulls with US crews, a similar bill could be passed to require a certain percentage of boxboats calling in the US to be US flagged and crewed. That way, no shipping company is disadvantaged (Maersk, CMA-CGM, MSC, COSCO, etc. all have to comply) so why would they care? The higher cost is borne by the consumer. And as we already discussed, the additional cost to the consumer is minuscule.


Maybe one of the mods can split the topic?


Ok so Admiral Buzby called me this morning. It was a fairly short conversation (he was at the USCG change of command ceremony) but he wants to talk again next week.

Time will tell but… it’s certainly a start.


another thread hijacked by the omnipresent and impossible to silence Herr Bugge…resident Buggerer

why just once don’t you try to just read and not open your gaping bazoo?..you are not an American and thus have ZERO standing in this discussion

now good night to you…SIR!


so ask him how high up the food chain he is allowed to telephone? any higher than the SecTrans? Can he call the Whitehouse Chief of Staff? Is he even allowed near the Whitehouse?

I ask because it is very unlikely that Donald Drumpf even knows there is a Maritime Administration and even less likely to know what the merchant marine is or does? I say the importance of any agency of government to any administration is now much access that agency gets to the center of power. has Buzby ever sat down with John Kelly or, God forbid, the Prezident to talk maritime policy? Is Buzby allowed to make maritime policy pronouncements without every single word being approved by the Whitehouse? Does Buzby have any authority or is he just another placeholder in charge of an agency with no meaningful purpose? We all remember the hideous reality of the importance of MarAd to the Obama administration when a Chuck E. Cheese lookalike was appointed to the job as a favor to Ray “da Hood” LaHood?


IDK if he talks with Trump directly but I do have it on good authority that he has semi-regular meetings at the white house. Who he’s talking to? IDK

I do know he was with Trump at USCG HQ when excused himself to called me today… so Trump certainly knows who he is.


that is a critical question to ask him…how high can he reach?


Trump is different. If someone can get his ear on Maritime and American jobs he might do something.


You’re forgetting the fact that two former shipowners, Ross and Chao, both have direct access to the Chief of Staff. And Chao is his direct boss so… there is no shortage of Maritime guys in the highest position. The question is what are they doing with all that access?

I did ask him directly about this:

Specifically I asked him if someone high up is readjng the submissions or if they are being filed somewhere for posterity. He assured me they are being read at the highest level and are being taken seriously.


have either of those two ever owned a US flagged ship?


like those words have never ever been uttered by someone from the government before?


I don’t have my notes with me but…

Yes Chao was a Director of Marine Transport Lines (MTL) in the 90’s

Most of his history is foreign (his last major investment was Diamond S which runs mostly under the chinese flag) but I think Ross had some US flag ships before that. I don’t remember specifics but the one and only time I met him was at the Jones Act shipowner conference in NYC two years ago.


ok, but are their investments in shipping much more in foreign flagged ships especially FOC vessels?

should that be the case it doesn’t lend much credibility of their support for the US flag


Yes, the majority of Ross’s ships where foreign.

Chao’s ships as Director of MTL where 100% US Flag. I don’t know much about her family’s company The Foremost Group but her Dad started it as a Mariner and an immigrant… and her track record on supporting the Jones Act in Washigton goes decades back.


since this is a question that you are not likely to want to ask Admiral Buzby, I will ask it here just in case he is reading this tonight…

which would you choose of these two options if your greatest priority for the Nation is the strongest position for being able to successfully man a massive surge sealift like in circa 1990?

  1. the status quo


  1. close KP and direct that funding to increasing by 50% the number of enrolled ships in the MSP?

a very simple question but one which I very much doubt you will choose to answer…


being that MTL is now Crowley, does Chao have any other US flag vessel investments?


That is correct, I do not want to ask that question because, as I’ve stated to you for years, I’d like to see KP’s budget double.

If there was a mandate to close one maritime school I’d tell the Navy to shutter SWO school and send their officers to King’s Point for training.


then ask him this one…

  1. newbuild training vessels for the State maritime academies


  1. direct that funding to increasing the MSP fleet by at least 25% for a decade (or more)


I think she sold everything when she took the job, I know for a fact Ross did.

I also know that you will be pleased to know that Buzby took my advice to produce more videos and has already contacted Dave Gardy to produce them :slight_smile: