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United States Merchant Marine

United States Merchant Marine emblem
Ships: 465 (>1000 GRT)
Deck Officers: 29,000
Marine Engineers: 12,000
Unlicensed: 28,000
The United States Merchant Marine refers to the fleet of U.S.marker civilian-owned merchant ships, operated by either the government or the private sector, that are engaged in commerce or transportation of goods and services in and out of the navigable waters of the United States. The Merchant Marine is responsible for transporting cargo and passengers during peace time. In time of war, the Merchant Marine is an auxiliary to the Navy, and can be called upon to deliver troops and supplies for the military.


The merchant marine is a civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Navy, but not a uniformed service, except in times of war when, in accordance with the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, mariners are considered military personnel. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill into law granting veteran status to merchant mariners who served in war. Prior to such legislation, they were considered civilians and did not receive any of the veteran's benefits given to members of the U.S. armed forces.

As of 2006, the United States merchant fleet numbered 465 ships and approximately 69,000 members. Seven hundred ships owned by American interests but registered, or flagged, in other countries are not included in this number.

The federal government maintains fleets of merchant ships via organizations such as Military Sealift Command and the National Defense Reserve Fleetmarker. In 2004, the federal government employed approximately 5% of all American water transportation workers.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, a number of laws were enacted that fundamentally changed the course of American merchant shipping. These laws put an end to practices such as flogging and shanghaiing, and increased shipboard safety and the standard of living. The United States Merchant Marine is also governed by several international conventions to promote safety and prevent pollution.


Merchant mariners move cargo and passengers between nations and within the United States, operate and maintain deep-sea merchant ships, tugboats, towboats, ferries, dredges, excursion vessels, and other waterborne craft on the oceans, the Great Lakesmarker, rivers, canals, harbors, and other waterways.

Captains, mates, and pilots supervise ship operations on domestic waterways and the high seas. A captain is in overall command of a vessel, and supervises the work of all other officers and crew. The captain orders the ship's course and speed, maneuvers to avoid hazards, and continuously monitors the ship's position. Captains oversee crew members who steer the vessel, determine its location, operate engines, communicate with other vessels, perform maintenance, handle lines, and operate the ship's equipment. Captains and their department heads ensure that proper procedures and safety practices are followed, ensure that machinery is in good working order, and oversee the loading and discharging of cargo and passengers. They also maintain logs and other records tracking the ships' movements, efforts at controlling pollution, and cargo and passengers carried.

The mates direct a ship's routine operation for the captain during the shifts, which are called watches. Mates stand watch for specified periods, usually 4 hours on and 8 hours off. When more than one mate is necessary aboard a ship, they typically are designated chief mate or first mate, second mate, third mate, and so forth. Mates also supervise the ship's crew. They monitor cargo loading and unloading to ensure proper stowage, and supervise crew members engaged in maintenance and the vessel's upkeep.

Pilots guide ships in and out of confined waterways, such as harbors, where a familiarity with local conditions is of prime importance. Harbor pilots are generally independent contractors who accompany vessels while they enter or leave port, and may pilot many ships in a single day.

Ship's engineers operate, maintain, and repair propulsion engines, boilers, generators, pumps, and other machinery. Merchant marine vessels usually have four engineering officers: A chief engineer and a first, second, and third assistant engineer. On many ships, Assistant Engineers stand periodic watches, overseeing the safe operation of engines and machinery. However, most modern ships sailing today utilize Unmanned Machinery Space (UMS) automation technology, and Assistant Engineers are Dayworkers. At night and during meals and breaks the engine room is unmanned and machinery alarms are answered by the Duty Engineer.

Deck officers and ship's engineers are usually trained at maritime academies. However, women were barred from entry to U.S. maritime academies until 1974, when the California Maritime Academy admitted women as cadets. It is becoming increasingly difficult for unlicensed mariners to earn a merchant marine license due to increased requirements for formal training. To do so, a mariner must have sufficient sea time in a qualified rating and complete specified testing and training, such as that required by the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).

Able seamen and ordinary seamen operate the vessel and its deck equipment under the officers' supervision and keep their assigned areas in good condition. They stand watch, looking out for other vessels and obstructions in the ship's path, as well as for navigational aids such as buoys and lighthouses. They also steer the ship, measure water depth in shallow water, and maintain and operate deck equipment such as lifeboats, anchors, and cargo-handling gear. On tankers, mariners designated as pumpmen hook up hoses, operate pumps, and clean tanks. When arriving at or leaving a dock, they handle the mooring lines. Seamen also perform routine maintenance chores, such as repairing lines, chipping rust, and painting and cleaning decks. On larger vessels, a boatswain, or head seaman will supervise the work.

Marine oilers and more experienced qualified members of the engine department, or QMEDs, maintain the vessel in proper running order in the engine spaces below decks, under the direction of the ship's engineering officers. These workers lubricate gears, shafts, bearings, and other moving parts of engines and motors; read pressure and temperature gauges; record data; and sometimes assist with repairs and adjust machinery. Wipers are the entry-level workers in the engine room, holding a position similar to that of ordinary seamen of the deck crew. They clean and paint the engine room and its equipment and assist the others in maintenance and repair work. With more experience they become oilers and firemen.

A typical deep-sea merchant ship has a captain, three mates, a chief engineer and three assistant engineers, plus six or more unlicensed seamen, such as able seamen, oilers, QMEDs, and cooks or food handlers. Other unlicensed positions on a large ship may include electricians and machinery mechanics.


history of ships and shipping in North America goes back at least as far as when Leif Erikson established a short-lived settlement called Vinland in present day Newfoundlandmarker. An actual shipping industry gradually came into being as colonies grew and trade with Europe increased. As early as the 15th century, Europeans were shipping horses, cattle and hogs to the Americas.

Spanish colonies began to form as early as 1565 in places like St. Augustine, Floridamarker, and later in Santa Fe, New Mexicomarker, San Antoniomarker, Tucsonmarker, San Diegomarker, Los Angelesmarker and San Franciscomarker. English colonies like Jamestown began to form as early as 1607. The connection between the American colonies and Europe, with shipping as its only conduit, would continue to grow unhindered for almost two hundred years.

The first wartime role of an identifiable United States merchant marine first took place on June 12, 1775 in and around Machias, Mainemarker. A group of citizens, hearing the news from Concord and Lexington, captured the Britishmarker schooner HMS Margaretta. The citizens, in need of critical supplies, were given an ultimatum: either load the ships with lumber to build British barracks in Boston, or go hungry. They chose to fight.

Word of this revolt reached Boston, where the Continental Congress and the various colonies issued Letters of Marque to privateers. The privateers interrupted the Britishmarker supply chain all along the eastern seaboard of the United Statesmarker and across the Atlantic Ocean. These actions by the privateers predates both the United States Coast Guard and the United States Navy, which were formed in 1790 and 1775, respectively.

merchant marine was active in subsequent wars, from the Confederate commerce raiders of the American Civil War, to the First and Second Battle of the Atlantic in World War I and World War II. 3.1 million tons of merchant ships were lost in World War II, mariners dying at a rate of 1 in 24. All told, 733 American cargo ships were lost and 8,651 of the 215,000 who served perished on troubled waters and off enemy shores.

Merchant shipping also played its role in the wars in Vietnam and Korea. From just six ships under charter when the Korean war began, this total peaked at 255. In September 1950, when the U.S. Marine Corps went ashore at Inchonmarker, 13 USNS cargo ships, 26 chartered American, and 34 Japanese-manned merchant ships, under the operational control of Military Sea Transportation Service participated in the invasion.

During the Vietnam War, ships crewed by civilian seamen carried 95% of the supplies used by the American armed forces. Many of these ships sailed into combat zones under fire. In fact, the SS Mayaguez incidentmarker involved the capture of mariners from the American merchant ship SS Mayaguez.

During the first Gulf War, the merchant ships of the Military Sealift Command (MSC) delivered more than 11 million metric tons of vehicles, helicopters, ammunition, fuel and other supplies and equipment. At one point during the war, more than 230 government-owned and chartered ships were involved in the sealift.

Government-owned merchant vessels from the National Defense Reserve Fleetmarker (NDRF) have supported emergency shipping requirements in seven wars and crises. During the Korean War, 540 vessels were activated to support military forces. A worldwide tonnage shortfall from 1951 to 1953 required over 600 ship activations to lift coal to Northern Europe and grain to India. From 1955 through 1964, another 600 ships were used to store grain for the Department of Agriculture. Another tonnage shortfall following the Suez Canalmarker closing in 1956 caused 223 cargo ship and 29 tanker activations from the NDRF. During the Berlin crisis of 1961marker, 18 vessels were activated, which remained in service until 1970. The Vietnam conflict required the activation of 172 vessels.

Since 1977, the Ready Reserve Fleet has taken over the brunt of the work previously handled by the National Defense Reserve Fleet. The RRF made a major contribution to the success of Operation Desert Shield/Operation Desert Storm from August 1990 through June 1992, when 79 vessels were activated to meet military sealift requirements by carrying 25% of the unit equipment and 45% of the ammunition needed.

Two RRF tankers, two RO/RO ships and a troop transport ship were needed in Somalia for Operation Restore Hope in 1993 and 1994. During the Haitian crisismarker in 1994, 15 ships were activated for Operation Uphold Democracy operations. In 1995 and 1996, four RO/RO ships were used to deliver military cargo as part of U.S. and U.K. support to NATO peace-keeping missions.

Four RRF ships were activated to provide humanitarian assistance for Central America following Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Three RRF ships currently support the Afloat Prepositioning Force with two specialized tankers and one dry cargo vessel capable of underway replenishment for the Navy’s Combat Logistics Force.

In 2003, 40 RRF ships were used in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. This RRF contribution was significant and included sealifting equipment and supplies into the theatre of combat operations, which included combat support equipment for the Army, Navy Combat Logistics Force, and USMC Aviation Support equipment. By the beginning of May 2005, RRF cumulative support included 85 ship activations that logged almost 12,000 ship operating days, moving almost 25% of the equipment needed to support the U.S. Armed Forces liberation of Iraq.

MSC is also involved in the current Iraq War, having delivered 61 million square feet (5.7 km²) of cargo and 1.1 billion US gallons (4,200,000 m³) of fuel by the end of the first year alone. Merchant mariners are being recognized for their contributions in Iraq. For example, in late 2003, Vice Adm. David Brewer III, commander of Military Sealift Command, awarded the officers and crewmembers of the the Merchant Marine Expeditionary Medal.

The RRF was called upon to provide humanitarian assistance to gulf coast areas following Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita landfalls in September 2006. The Federal Emergency Management Agency requested a total of eight vessels to support relief efforts. Messing and berthing was provided for refinery workers, oils spill response teams, longshoremen. One of the vessels provided electrical power.

Today's merchant fleet

The commercial fleet

As of 2006, the United States merchant fleet had 465 privately-owned ships of 1,000 gross register tons or over. Two hundred ninety-one (291) of these were dry cargo ships, 97 were tankers, and 77 passenger ships. Of those American-flagged ships, 51 were foreign owned. Seven hundred American-owned ships are flagged in other nations.

2005 statistics from the United States Maritime Administration focus on the larger segment of the fleet: ships of and over. 245 privately owned American-flagged ships are of this size, and 153 of those meet the Jones Act criteria.

U.S. sealift capability viewed over time shows a steep drop in the number of ships in the merchant marine fleet. Observers point to the World War II era as the peak for the U.S. fleet. During the post-war year of 1950, for example, U.S. carriers represented about 43 percent of the world's shipping trade. By 1995, the American market share had plunged to 4 percent, according to a 1997 report by the U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO). CBO further notes in the report that "the number of U.S.-flag vessels has dropped precipitously--from more than 2,000 in the 1940s and 850 in 1970 to about 320 in 1996."

A diminishing U.S. fleet comes in the face of surge in international sea trade. For instance, worldwide demand for natural gas and the subsequent spike in related international trade presents a job growth opportunity for today's U.S. mariners aboard liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers. A 2007 agreement signed by the United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) sets uniform LNG training standards at U.S. maritime training facilities. Uniform training standards will help U.S. mariners compete for jobs aboard LNG tankers, estimated to number more than 370 worldwide at the close of 2007, according to MARAD.

However, despite projection of an eightfold increase in U.S. imported LNG by 2025, the worldwide LNG fleet does not include a single U.S. flagged vessel. Moreover, only five U.S. deepwater LNG ports were operational in 2007, although permits have been issued for four additional ports, according to MARAD.

Further limiting potential job growth in the U.S. fleet is the fact that ranks of qualified seamen to serve on ships continue to shrink. Recruitment efforts to attract younger mariners to replace retiring crews have failed to stem the shortage. MARAD describes the gap between sealift crewing needs and available unlicensed personnel as "reaching critical proportions, and the long term outlook for sufficient personnel is also of serious concern."

Seagoing jobs of the future for U.S. mariners may not necessarily be on U.S.-flagged ships. American-trained mariners are being sought after by international companies to operate foreign-flagged vessels, according to Julie A. Nelson, deputy maritime administrator of the U.S. Department of Commerce. For example, Shell International and Shipping Company Ltd. has announced that it will be recruiting U.S. seafarers to crew its growing fleet of tankers. Further signs of the globalization of the mariner profession is evidenced by an agreement signed in 2007 between Overseas Shipholding Group and the Maritime Administration that will allow American maritime academy cadets to train aboard OSG's international flag vessels.

The federal fleet

Military Sealift Command (MSC) is an arm of the Navy that serves the entire Department of Defensemarker as the ocean carrier of materiel during peacetime and war. It transports equipment, fuel, ammunition, and other goods essential to the smooth function of United States armed forces worldwide. Up to 95% of all supplies needed to sustain the U.S. military can be moved by Military Sealift Command. MSC operates approximately 120 ships with 100 more in reserve. All ships are manned by civil service or contract merchant mariners, estimated to number more than 8,000.

MSC tankers and freighters have a long history of also serving as re-supply vessels in support of civilian research at McMurdo Stationmarker, Antarcticamarker, and at other polar operations, including Greenland.

The National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) acts as a reserve of cargo ships for national emergencies and defense. Consisting of 2,277 ships at its peak in 1950, the NDRF fleet now numbers only 251 ships.

NDRF vessels are now staged at the James River, Beaumontmarker and Suisun Bay fleet sites and other designated locations.A Ready Reserve Force component of NDRF was established in 1976 to provide rapid deployment of military equipment. This force currently has 58 vessels, down from a peak of 102 in 1994.

In 2004, the Federal government employed approximately 5% of all water transportation workers, most of whom worked on Military Sealift Command supply ships.

Important laws

A few laws have shaped the development of the U.S. merchant marine. Chief among them are the "Seamen's Act of 1915," the "Merchant Marine Act of 1920" (commonly referred to as the "Jones Act"), and the "Merchant Marine Act of 1936."

The Seamen's Act of 1915

Seaman's Act significantly improved working conditions for American seamen. The brainchild of International Seamen's Union president Andrew Furuseth, the Act was sponsored in the Senate by Robert Marion La Follette and received significant support from Secretary of Labor William B. Wilson.

Among other things, the Act:

  1. abolished the practice of imprisonment for seamen who deserted their ship
  2. reduced the penalties for disobedience
  3. regulated a seaman's working hours both at sea and in port
  4. established a minimum quality for ship's food
  5. regulated the payment of seamen's wages
  6. required specific levels of safety, particularly the provision of lifeboats
  7. required a minimum percentage of the seamen aboard a vessel to be qualified Able Seamen
  8. required a minimum of 75% of the seamen aboard a vessel to understand the language spoken by the officers

The Act's passage was attributed to union lobbying, increased tensions immediately before World War I, and raised public consciousness of safety at sea due to the sinking of the RMS Titanicmarker three years prior.

The Jones Act

"Merchant Marine Act of 1920," often called The "Jones Act," requires U.S.-flagged vessels be built in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and documented under the laws of the United States. It also requires that all officers and 75% of the crew must be U.S. citizens. Vessels satisfying these requirements comprise the "Jones Act Fleet," and only these vessels may engage in "cabotage", or carrying passengers or cargo between two U.S. ports.

Another important aspect of the Act is that it allows injured sailors to obtain damages from their employers for the negligence of the shipowner, the captain, or fellow members of the crew.

The Merchant Marine Act

The Merchant Marine Act of 1936 was enacted "to further the development and maintenance of an adequate and well-balanced American merchant marine, to promote the commerce of the United States, to aid in the national defense, to repeal certain former legislation, and for other purposes."

Specifically, the Act established the United States Maritime Commission and required a United States Merchant Marine that consists of U.S.-built, U.S.-flagged, U.S.-crewed and U.S.-owned vessels capable of carrying all domestic and a substantial portion of foreign water-borne commerce which can serve as a naval auxiliary in time of war or national emergency.

The act also established federal subsidies for the construction and operation of merchant ships. Two years after the Act was passed, the U.S. Merchant Marine Cadet Corps, the forerunner to the United States Merchant Marine Academymarker, was established.

International regulations

Federal law requires the merchant marine to adhere to a number of international conventions. The International Maritime Organization has been either the source or a conduit for a number of these regulations.

The principal International Conventions are:
  • SOLAS 74: International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea.
  • MARPOL 73/78: International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships, 1973 as modified by the Protocol of 1978.
  • ICLL 66: International Convention on Load Lines, as revised in 1966
  • 72 COLREGS: International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.
  • STCW 95: International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).
  • SAR 79: International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue.

A list of IMO conventions adopted in the United States is available at the U.S. Coast Guard's Maritime Safety Center website.

Noted U.S. Merchant Mariners

Merchant seamen have gone on to make their mark on the world in a number of interesting ways, for example, Douglass North went from seaman to navigator to winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Economics.

American merchant seamen have earned the Medal of Honor in the Korean War, George H. O'Brien, Jr. and Vietnam War, Lawrence Joel; and one went on to become the "Father of the American Navy", John Paul Jones.

Since World War II, a number of merchant seamen have become notorious criminals. William Colepaugh was convicted as a Nazi spy in World War II. George Hennardmarker was a mass murderer who claimed twenty-four victims on a rampage at Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texasmarker. Perry Smith's own murderous rampage was made famous in Truman Capote's non-fiction novel In Cold Blood.

Mariners are well represented in the visual arts. Seaman Haskell Wexler would later win two Academy Awards, the latter for a biography of his shipmate Woody Guthrie. Merchant seaman Johnny Craig was already a working comic book artist before he joined up, but Ernie Schroeder would not start drawing comics until after returning home from World War II.

Merchant sailors have also made a splash in the world of sport. In football, with the likes of Dan Devine and Heisman Trophy winner Frank Sinkwich. In track and field, seamen Cornelius Cooper Johnson and Jim Thorpe both won Olympic medals, though Thorpe did not get his until thirty years after his death. Seamen Jim Bagby, Jr. and Charlie Keller went on to Major League Baseball. Drew Bundini Brown was Muhammad Ali's assistant trainer and cornerman, and Joe Gold went on to make his fortune as the bodybuilding and fitness guru of Gold's Gym.

Writer Ralph Ellison was a merchant marineras were prominent members of the Beat movement Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Bob Kaufman, Dave Van Ronk and Herbert Huncke.Perhaps it is not surprising that the writers of Moby Dick, The American Practical Navigator, and Two Years Before the Mast were merchant mariners. It might be surprising that the writer of Cool Hand Luke and co-writer of Borat were.

A number of merchant mariners from World War II ended up playing well-known television characters. The list includes Raymond Bailey, who played Milburn Drysdale on The Beverly Hillbillies, Carroll O'Connor who played Archie Bunker on All in the Family, Peter Falk on Columbo, Jim Rockford on The Rockford Files, Steve McGarret on Hawaii Five-O, Uncle Jesse Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard, and Cheyenne Bodie on Cheyenne.

Songwriter and lyricist Jack Lawrence was a mariner during World War II, and wrote the official United States Merchant Marine song "Heave Ho! My Lads, Heave Ho!" while a young lieutenant stationed at Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, in 1943.

Robert Kiyosaki lays claim of being a mariner.Paul Teutul, Sr., the founder of Orange County Ironworks and Orange County Choppers is a Vietnam War veteran of the United States merchant marine.

Fictional accounts

The United States merchant marine has been featured in a number of movies.Action in the North Atlantic is a 1943 film featuring Humphrey Bogart, Raymond Massey, and Alan Hale Sr as merchant mariners fighting the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II. Other WWII fare includes The Long Voyage Home starring John Wayne, and the television documentary The Men Who Sailed the Liberty Ships.

Other movies set in the United States merchant marine include Lifeboat, Wake of the Red Witch, The Sea Chase, The Last Voyage, Morituri, and The Wreck of the Mary Deare.

The characters Bo Brady and Steve "Patch" Johnson were merchant mariners on the soap opera Days of our Lives.

The character Tom Wingfield leaves his family to join the merchant marine in the play The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams.

Popeye was a merchant mariner before joining first the U.S. Coast Guard, and then the U.S. Navy.

The main male character from The Cutting Edge lied to his family about joining the Merchant Marines while training to ice skate for the Olympics.

Henry P. Warnimont (George Gaynes, adoptive father of the title character on the 1980s sitcom Punky Brewster, was a merchant mariner.

Two popular 1960s television situation comedies featured Merchant Marine characters: McHale's Navy lead character Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale was referred to as a member of the Merchant Marine before World War II, and on Gilligan's Island, the Skipper, Jonas Grumby, was variously referred to as having been formerly in the Merchant Marine and in the U.S. Navy.


  1. Many English-speaking countries call their fleet the Merchant Navy. Terms similar to merchant marine are used in, for example, the French Marine Marchande and the Spanish Marina Mercante.
  2. Ships of 1,000 gross register tons or over. Fleet statistics from the 2006 CIA World Factbook
  3. Typical departments include the deck department, engineering department, and steward's department.
  4. On smaller vessels, there may be only one mate (called a pilot on some inland towing vessels), who alternates watches with the captain. The mate would assume command of the ship if the captain became incapacitated.
  5. On river and canal vessels, pilots are usually are regular crew members, like mates.
  6. Maritime academies include the federal United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzard's Bay, State University of New York Maritime College in the Bronx, Texas Maritime Academy in Galveston, California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, and Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City, Michigan.
  7. Shipping Out; Maria Brooks producer. The United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point also changed its admission policy in 1974, becoming the first national academy (two years ahead of, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard) to enroll women [1]. Historically, women who wanted to ship out encountered prejudice and superstition. Their hands-on seafaring experiences were largely limited to voyages as the captain's wife or daughter. Subsequently, some women chose to ship out by disguising themselves as men.
  8. Engineers and officers who have transitioned from unlicensed to licensed status are called hawsepipers.
  9. On inland waters able seamen may simply be called "deckhands."
  10. The size and service of the ship determine the number of crewmembers for a particular voyage.
  11. Small vessels operating in harbors, on rivers, or along the coast may have a crew comprising only a captain and one deckhand. The cooking responsibilities usually fall under the deckhands' duties. On larger coastal ships, the crew may include a captain, a mate or pilot, an engineer, and seven or eight seamen. Some ships may have special unlicensed positions for entry level apprentice trainees.
  12. Privately owned, armed merchant ships known as which were outfitted as warships to prey on enemy merchant ships.
  13. In 2006, 264 American ships are registered in the Bahamas and the Marshall Islands, widely considered flag of convenience countries.
  14. World Merchant Fleet, Table N-1.
  15. More U.S. Crews for LNG Tankers; "Training Standards Agreement Goes Forward," U.S. Transportation Department Documents and Publications. June 5, 2007.
  16. "Securing Liquefied Natural Gas Tankers," CQ Congressional Testimony. Statement by H. Keith Lesnick Program Director, Deepwater Port Licensing Program U. S. Maritime Administration. Committee on House Homeland Security. March 21, 2007.
  17. "House panel hears maritime industry's recruiting woes," Shipping Digest. October 29, 2007.
  18. "Merchant Mariner Training to Meet Sealift Requirement," A Report to Congress; U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration. August 2004.
  19. "With Julie A. Nelson, Maritime Administration," Journal of Commerce. January 21, 2008.
  20. "Shell to Recruit U.S. Seafarers for International LNG Fleet for the First Time," PR Newswire. February 8, 2008.
  21. "OSG Signs First-Ever Agreement to Train U.S. Maritime Cadets on International Flag Vessels; OSG and Maritime Administration Form Landmark Partnership to Offer Cadet Sea Service Worldwide," Business Wire. October 15, 2007.
  23. The NDRF was established under Section 11 of the Merchant Ship Sales Act of 1946.
  24. The NDRF had 251 ships as of August 31, 2006. On January 1, 2003, the number was 274 vessels.
  25. NDRF anchorage sites were originally located at Stony Point in New York, Fort Eustis in the James River in Virginia, Wilmington, North Carolina, Mobile, Alabama, Beaumont, Texas, Benicia in Suisun Bay in California, Astoria, Oregon and Olympia, Washington.
  26. The Ready Reserve Force was originally known as the Ready Reserve Fleet.
  27. The full name of the "Seaman's Act" is "Act to Promote the Welfare of American Seamen in the Merchant Marine of the United States" (Act of March 4, 1915, ch. 153, 38 Stat. 1164).
  28. The Seamen's Act specifically applies to vessels in excess of 100 gross tons (GT) but excluding river craft.
  29. The Seaman's Act was initially proposed in 1913, but took two years to pass into Law, by which time the war had started.
  30. Documented means "registered, enrolled, or licensed under the laws of the United States."
  31. There are countries in which, due to lower labor standards and prevailing wages, are much cheaper to document a vessel than the United States. Critics of the act claim it unfairly restricts the lucrative domestic shipping business.


See also

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