Unions Criticize Marad’s US-Flag Report

Unions Criticize Marad’s US-Flag Report

Four maritime unions have criticized the Maritime Administration for not including their viewpoints in a study that found U.S.-flag ships cost more to operate than vessels flying other nations’ flags.

The International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, American Maritime Officers, Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association, and Seafarers International Union said Marad’s decision was “inexplicable” and that Maritime Administrator David Matsuda “should be held accountable.”

Leaving maritime unions out of the study “guaranteed that the report would not contain the information that Congress and the Administration would need to develop and implement meaningful maritime policy that strengthens, not weakens, the U.S.-flag merchant marine, provides jobs for American, not foreign, maritime workers, and bolsters, not diminishes, the economic, military and homeland security of the United States,” the unions said in a statement.

The unions said Marad “should be ashamed of itself for entertaining a study that suggests that beating down American mariners to the level of Third-World labor and lowering their standard of living are good for our industry and good for our country.”

Marad defended the study. “The first-of-its-kind ‘Comparison of U.S. and Foreign Flag Operating Cost’ study was a fact-finding analysis comparing the costs of operating open registry vessels to those under U.S.-flag so that we can better understand the challenges that U.S. carriers face in the competitive global marketplace,” Matsuda said in a statement.

“This data provides a foundation for future discussions. We have and will continue to consider all perspectives as we work to support the men and women who work on water, strengthen America’s maritime industry, create jobs and grow our economy.”

--Contact Joseph Bonney at jbonney@joc.com.