Wednesday, May 16, 2012



FLASH! This Isn't Your Grandfather's NMA REPORT 370 Rev.4

You gotta read "BLOOD ON BROWN WATER "

 We've been following this for a while and have reported on it in these pages twice. It's worth saying again. As you read this, approximately 126,000 of America's 200,000 plus merchant seamen are working under third world conditions. On March 28, 2012 we described how the National Mariner's Association (NMA) had described these conditions in great detail in their new report to Congress Report No. 370 Rev. 4 which deals with working conditions in parts of the inland towing and off shore work boat industries where the "Two Watch  System" prevails. Crew members on such vessels work at a minimum under present rules, 12 hours per day for officers, and 15 hours per day for men. What's sad is that these excessively long work days were intended by Congress to be maximum working hours, not minimum; but lax regulatory enforcement and profit motives by shipping management have combined to make these horrific hours floors and not ceilings on long work days. NMA Report 370 rev. 4 describes the working hours and other abuses in detail, outlines the status of the existing laws and regulations, and provides graphic details on examples of particular abusive practices. This report has been circulating through the halls of Congress since late March. On April 16, 2012 we described in full the resulting "Second Request to Congress by the NMA where in the NMA proposed specific legislative actions for the relief of these seamen. Back in March we asked in our blog if it wasn't time for another Richard Henry Dana whose nineteenth century book TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST launched decades of reform of working conditions in America's deep sea fleets. We have long felt that the long suffering segments of America's Jones Act fleets needed a book that appealed to the general public and clearly described the working conditions in the unreformed fleets.

 It happened! Capt. Richard Block the Secretary of the National Mariner's Association and author / editor of NMA Report 370, Rev. 4  has made his appeal in print to the general public with the publication of his BLOOD ON BROWN WATER. The reader who wonders just how such primitive and unhealthful working conditions could survive in twenty first century America need no longer wade through the grim but dry statistics of an NMA report, or skim over legal citations.  BLOOD ON BROWN WATER is the agony, and the injustice, the courage, and the pain of the real world on the wet side of the levee and beyond the beach line without submitting the reader to the dry text of an OSHA report. We urge the general public to read this and then call your congressmen and senators. For information on how to obtain a copy of BLOOD ON BROWN WATER contact the National Mariner's Association at  or Marine Education textbooks at:

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