Differing View Given

On 'Discrepancies'In your editorial of Oct. 20, "Marad Ms. Speaks," you stated that there were "glaring discrepancies" between my speech of Oct. 1 and official Marad data. I find that the discrepancies were actually between your Oct. 6 news account of my speech and the text as it was delivered.

The news account of my Oct. 1 speech before the National Defense Transportation Association in Tampa, Fla., not Washington, reported that the ''total number of ships in the Ready Reserve Force is scheduled to reach 119 by the year 2000." My speech text stated, "The RRF component will grow to 116 ships by 1991 and further increases are under active consideration."

The news article also stated, "The United States has 230 breakbulk ships under U.S. flag in its reserve fleet." In my speech, I said, "While breakbulk ships are no longer commercially viable, we have 230 under the U.S. flag, most of which are government-owned and laid up in our Reserve Fleet." (Emphasis added.)

Following up on the news account, your editorial repeated the erroneous reference to 230 ships in the reserve fleet.

However, your editorial has prompted my review of the format used to report statistical information in our U.S. Merchant Marine Data Sheet, and I have directed a restructuring of certain sections to clarify the presentation of the data. We expect these changes to be made in our next tabulation covering the fleet size and composition as of Sept. 1.

We at the Maritime Administration have always prided ourselves on our professionalism and the high quality of the information and work we produce. I believe we deserve our reputation.

Elaine L. Chao Deputy Maritime Administrator Maritime Administration U.S. Department of Transportation Washington

It Take Two to Make

An Agreement

The JofC article, Union Hurting Philadelphia Ports, which appeared Aug. 26, correctly points out that management was a consenting party to the labor negotiations that your article says did damage to the Philadelphia ports.

Usually at the conclusion of any labor agreement both management and labor refer to the agreements as "fair," and, in fact, congratulate each other on their respective profitable venture. It's only when the ports are having problems that the labor agreement is pointed to by everyone, including management, as being at fault. It took two to make the agreement. And if the agreement turns out to be a bad one, both are at fault.

Paul Pitman Saugus, Mass.


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