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1/19/2018: Summary of Congressional testimony on the state of U.S. flag maritime industry

Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy Rear Adm. John Nadeau testified Jan. 17, 2018, before the House Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, during a hearing on the state of the U.S. flag maritime industry. Testifying alongside Nadeau was Maritime Administrator (MARAD) Rear Adm. Mark “Buz” Busby, U.S. Navy (Ret.).

Nadeau’s verbal remarks focused on the Coast Guard’s responsibility to protect the 25,000 mile marine transportation system that supports 250,000 American jobs and $4.5 trillion of economic activity every year.

“This system connects American’s consumers, producers, manufacturers, and farmers to domestic and global markets, and provides access to our nation’s vast natural resources,” Nadeau said. “The Coast Guard ensures this system remains safe, secure, and resilient.”

Nadeau added that a strong maritime industry also enables the U.S. to protect its interests and project power overseas; 90 percent of the military equipment used by the nation’s warfighters is loaded in U.S. ports and delivered to theater on Coast Guard inspected U.S. vessels that are operated by Coast Guard licensed and credentialed U.S. mariners.

“Our support to the maritime industry is critical to our Nation’s military readiness and national security,” he said.

Nadeau also discussed efforts to work with Dept. of Defense and MARAD to implement the “Military to Mariner” training program, which is designed to make it easier for military members to receive credit for experience, training and qualifications received in the military. He highlighted the contributions of the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) and Coast Guard’s partnership with the U.S. Navy to establish a credentialing program to improve military member awareness of civilian mariner opportunities.

The Coast Guard must also keep pace as industry integrates new technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness, increase capacity, and reduce the environmental footprint, Nadeau said.

Nadeau spoke of the importance of 3rd party organizations, such as classification societies, and their role in helping the Coast Guard keep pace with changes within the industry.

“Today, like other flag states around the globe, the U.S. relies far more on 3rd parties than ever before,” he said, also citing a 2016 study that concluded 3rd party programs provide additional technical expertise, promote innovation, and reduce cost for the U.S. fleet.

“Third party programs have gone from an option to a necessity,” he added.

However, Nadeau acknowledged the fallibility of 3rd party programs but said the Coast Guard has the authority and competency it needs to establish more effective oversight and provide clear accountability.

“We will instill better governance, we will improve our policy and training, and we will provide increased accountability while also supporting a safe, secure, and competitive U.S. flag fleet.”

Nadeau closed his remarks by emphasizing that a healthy U.S. maritime industry and a robust pool of civilian mariners are vital to U.S. economic prosperity and national security, and the Coast Guard’s commitment to keeping pace as industry continues to evolve.

“We are focused on ensuring every one of our actions sustains the safe, secure, environmentally sound and productive operation of the marine transportation system, without imposing unnecessary costs on industry.”

To watch the video of the entire hearing, including Rear Adm. Nadeau’s testimony, visit the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee website.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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