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Fw: Merchant Marine Affairs Committee meeting follow-up

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  • Pacific Merchant Marine Council, NLUS
    Members and Friends, As a national director this is one of the NLUS national committees of which I am a member. We are fortunate to have Admiral Al Herberger,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 23, 2008
      Members and Friends,
      As a national director this is one of the NLUS national committees of which I am a member.
      We are fortunate to have Admiral Al Herberger, former Chairman of the Maritime Administration, as the committee chairman. Also involved in maritime matters is Admiral Dick Macke, National Vice President Sea Services Liaison. Both are on the Advisory Board of this council. Essentially when they speak, all I can say is "Amen." They know the status of our merchant marine and the marine transportation system. They are instrumental in the preparation of the Navy League's maritime policy statement (see page 5 of Captain's Call, April - June 2008).
      At the bottom of committee minutes you can see that I and our council are mentioned. As far as I can tell the members of both our council's board of directors and our advisory board (see page 2 of Captain's Call, April - June 2008) like the course we have set for this council.
      You see the committee's next meeting is 29 October. It will be held during the 2008 Navy League National Convention in Kansas City , Missouri at the Westin Crown Center .  Registration and convention information will soon be available online at the Navy League website www.navyleague.org and in Sea Power.  I would be delighted to have council company at the committee meeting and at the convention. It is all very memorable though a bit pricey. My wife Teddy and I will be going early and staying on.
      Please consider this an invitation to attend the 2008 NLUS National Convention.
      Anchors Aweigh,

      From: Mescus, Janet
      Sent: Monday, June 23, 2008 12:05 PM
      To: NLUS Merchant Marine Affairs Committee Members and Guests
      Subject: Merchant Marine Affairs Committee meeting follow-up


      Dear Merchant Marine Affairs Committee Members and Guests who attended the meeting on May 23:


      On behalf of Chairman Al Herberger, thank you very much to those of you who were able to attend the last meeting and to those were unable to join us, we truly do appreciate your support and interest. 


      For your records, attached are the minutes of the meeting as well as a complete roster of committee members and guests who joined us at that meeting.  Should you have any questions or comments regarding the material, please let me know.  


      Looking ahead, please mark your calendar with the date for our next meeting, Oct. 29, which will be held during the 2008 Navy League National Convention in Kansas City , Missouri at the Westin Crown Center .  Registration and convention information will soon be available online at the Navy League website www.navyleague.org


      Again, thank you very much for your support and we look forward to seeing you in Kansas City . 



      Janet Mescus

      Committee Staff Rep.


      Janet Mescus

      Sr. Dir. of Communications

      Navy League of the United States


      Merchant Marine Affairs

      Committee Minutes

      BOD Meeting - 23 May 2008

      The Merchant Marine Affairs Committee meeting was called to order at 10:35 am by Chairman, VADM Al Herberger (USN, Ret.)

      Committee members were provided copies of the Navy League’s 2008-09 Maritime Policy Statement, a meeting agenda (see Attachment A), a DVD of CSPAN’s coverage of the 2008 Sea-Air-Space Exposition Sea Power Readiness Seminar, and a computer jump drive containing the new national Maritime Strategy overview presentation and promotional video as well as the Navy League’s new information video.

      Chairman Herberger announced that regrettably committee member Michele Lockwood is stepping down from the committee. She has been a key player in public education outreach efforts, particularly on the West Coast. Chairman Herberger thanked her for tremendous contributions.

      The Chairman provided briefings on the following issues:

      1) The Jones Act: it continues to have general bi-partisan support in Congress. Both Democratic presidential candidates, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, support the Act. However, Republican candidate Senator John McCain does not apparently because it is not a constituent supported issue in Arizona. The Chairman continued by stating that such sentiment is indicative of the fact that the general population at large does not understand the importance of the Merchant Marines and hysteria set in when issues arise like the near sale of the management of U.S. ports to Dubai Ports World.

      2) Shipbuilding: Chairman Herberger reiterated that "we’re in trouble." By letting the worker skill level drop, the talent is not available. Hurricane Katrina impacted the work-force. When the homes of ship yard workers were destroyed and they relocated, many workers did not return to the shipyards. In the 1990’s, 90% of the students were foreign citizens at the four major U.S. colleges for marine engineering and naval architecture. The Chairman pointed out that although many of those students stay in the U.S. initially, many are now returning to their homes where the marine industries are on the upswing – unlike that of the U.S.

      3) The new Maritime Strategy: it places a stronger focus on humanitarian missions, Global Fleet Stationing- formerly called Sea Basing and global partnerships which involves a quite a bit of Coast Guard littoral operations. According to the Chairman, non-traditional missions are becoming more prevalent; operations that involve missions ranging from providing school and medical supplies to community outreach goodwill operations. Also increasing are neo-evacuations that often involve the hospital ships USS Mercy and USS Comfort. The Chairman said there is even talk about building a smaller hospital ship for shallow water ports.

      4) Short Sea Shipping: renamed by the current Administrator Sean Connaughton, America’s Marine Highway. This issue mainly concerns the transport traffic congestion that is greater at the port areas and the need to use the inland waterways more to ease the congestion. Chairman Herberger provided the following comparative statistics regarding domestic cargo transport via marine highways:

      US - 2% Europe – 44% China – 61%

      An additional factor that is of concern in expanding the use of America’s Marine Highway is that as a nation we’re behind in maintaining our roads and bridges.

      Tell America Program

      : a grassroots internet TV campaign effort that aims to provide information about the vital need for a healthy US. flagged Merchant Marine fleet. The campaign which uses web casting and web postings, airs on www.maritimeTV.com. The campaign was launched on Maritime Day – May 22, 2007.

      Maritime Industry Skill manpower shortages

      : Navy Leaguers are doing their part in getting the word out about maritime training such as Jim Bonner (San Diego Council) who has been working on outreach efforts involving maritime training in the secondary schools.

      Comments from National Vice President Sea Service Liaison Admiral Dick Macke


      a. The Essex ARG is an example of Global Fleet Stationing – it was on station standing by for Burma to allow foreign assistance in response to the cyclone devastation (Apr 22). Admiral Tim Keating (Commander, U.S. Pacific Command) coordinated the humanitarian assistance and public relief. The ability to move forward and respond required Maritime Domain Awareness.

      b. On the issue of China, the Coast Guard gets more out of the relationship than the Navy as the nation moves towards a normal relationship with China.

      c. Maritime Superiority is the key to our economy. (Korea’s ship yards are busy and fortunately the Korea Navy League Council has a good relationship with the yard.

      Other issues/open discussion/comments:

      d. Phelps Hobart (Pacific Merchant Marine Council) has taken the lead on providing seminar on June 9, 2008 where local Bay Area representatives from the U.S. Maritime Services, the Coast Guard and other local civilian maritime industry representatives to discuss the applications of United States cabotage (trade or transport in coastal waters between two points within a country) laws in the 21st century.

      e. Chairman Herberger raised the issue that as foreign trade increases logically domestic port support should also but the ports need to spend more money for port dredging. In 2007 the government collected $1.4 billion for the harbor maintenance tax on imports, but, only spent $751 million for dredging projects. The port tax is intended to pay for dredging and maintenance. Part of the challenge is that the waterways have the smallest constituency.

      f. There are few LNG (liquid natural gas) ships entering U.S. ports due to the lack of facilities.

      g. Getting maritime related educational programs into U.S. secondary schools is important for future recruiting into the industry.

      The meeting was adjourned at 11:50 am.

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