Thursday, March 30, 2017

THE JONES ACT FLEET AND PEOPLE OF THE US MERCHANT MARINE

JOHNAS PRESBYTER

Profile photo  GET TO KNOW THE PEOPLE SEN. JOHN McCAIN IS ATTACKING, THE MERCHANT SEAMEN OF AMERICA'S JONES ACT FLEETS

 The "Jones Act Fleets" refer to the commercial vessels of the American Merchant Marine that carry cargo or passengers, or provide services  between American ports and destinations. These ships which typically operate within our territorial sea, or on our internal waters must, by Federal statute popularly known as the "Jones Act", be built in America, by American workers to exacting Coast Guard regulations and usually American Bureau of Shipping Classification Society standards. Once launched, tested and accepted these vessels such as Great Lakes ore and grain freighters, Mississippi  and Ohio River towboats and barges, Gulf and West Coast offshore oil industry service vessels, harbor tugs, dredges, ferries, water taxis, excursion boats, inland and coastal overnight passenger cruise vessels are required by law to be crewed and officered by American citizen sailors vetted, examined, sworn to duty, and licensed or certified by the U.S. Coast Guard.

 Virtually every nation on earth with a seacoast, navigable rivers, and a modicum of soverignity and independence requires that their "trade between their own capes" ("Cabotage Trades" in Admiralty Law") be conducted exclusively by their own vessels and citizens. There are 33 American states that are serviced in one way or another by the Jones Act fleets and their mariners. The waterborne trade between and among American ports actually exceeds in value and tonnage our seaborne foreign trade which is considerable, but largely carried by foreign registered shipping. If you want to see what a nation looks like after it abandons the protection of its cabotage trades examine China at the time of the Boxer Rebellion. British and American ships carried not only China's foreign trade but also the coastal trade between Chinese ports, and trade far up the navigable rivers of China. 
File:TowboatAngelina-NOLA.jpg
 The towboat Angelina pushes a barge on the Mississippi River in New Orleans, Louisiana. Taken on January 3, 2005 by J. Glover (AUTiger).  licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
One great way to visualize and conceptualize China on the eve of the Boxer Rebellion, the most studied example of warfare over cabotage is to simply watch the old Steve McQueen movie THE SAND PEBBLES 

 Senator McCain wants to eliminate the requirements that vessels carrying commerce between American ports and destinations be built in America and manned by American crews. At stake is the environmental integrity of our waters and the security of our ports and waterways. Also at risk and of no concern to Senator McCain are hundreds of thousands of well paying skilled crew jobs and tens of thousands of "second tier" and inland ship yard production work jobs, cargo terminal and grain elevator jobs, and management jobs. Why would an American Senator seek to harm such things? First he is from Arizona which has previously had congressional members of both parties inclined toward foreign interests intent on breaking into our cabotage trades. Sen. McCain's state has no coast, no navigation, no such jobs and thus no constituency to complain or even watch what he is up to in this regard. In short, no matter how much we "follow the money", there is little interest among his electorate in the matter. Most Americans, even in the 33 states served by Jones Act navigation know very little about the industries or their work force. We thought maybe a good place to change all that would be by introducing Americans to the people and vessels of the industry through songs , stories and images. Click below on any of the links to interesting musical videos, video documentaries, and images of the Jones Act fleet in life and death, at work, and at play. Watch for more from time to time and develop a gut felt protective attitude of this basic American transportation and manufacturing industry and naval auxiliary, its hard working American work force and its place in overall national security. And don't forget to watch  THE SAND PEBBLES 


THE WRECK OF THE EDMUND FITZGERALD  Music by Gordon Lightfoot with news footage and photos.

TIDEWATER MARINE YOUR BOATS RIDE LOW

Rescue at Water's Edge: The U.S. Merchant Marine Response to 9/11

When you've at least watched these video's ask yourself, if this fleet was made in Mexico and manned by foreign labor, would they come through for you? 

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