Saturday, July 21, 2012



BLOOD ON BROWN WATER:Chapter 1 final installment

 The horrors we will document in this book have been going on for over thirty years in the full view of the United States Coast Guard. In more recent years, Congress has been informed and attempted some well-meaning reform only to have the Coast Guard ignore their instructions or to have vessel owner lobbies water down the legislation. The Inspector Generals of the Transportation Department and the Department of Homeland Security were informed and have done nothing to remedy the situation. Now, to protect our mariners as well as the public at large, we (The National Mariners Association) are taking our case to the American people.

 We are not the first to describe our cabotage trade fleets as the root, the heart, and the core of the American Merchant Marine. Alex Roland, W. Jeffery Bolster, and Alexander Keyssar did an earlier and far more extensive job of it in "THE WAY OF THE SHIP" for the American History Project. We urge our readers to read this work. If you do that, you will be struck by two paradoxes. The first is the incredible contrast between the volume of U.S. trade and the minuscule size of the American international merchant marine.  In the second you will be amazed by the contrast between the importance shipping, particularly coast wise and inland waterway shipping, our domestic merchant marine ; have exerted on American history and life and its relative invisibility to historians and citizens.

 "THE WAY OF THE SHIP" is perhaps the first maritime history to tell in detail the important story of the commercial transport of cargo and passengers between American ports and the ways in which it fueled the material and economic expansion of our country. In our attempt to describe the present day plight of the crews of our domestic fleets we have neither the time nor the space to fully educate the reader to the long history and vital importance of these fleets and shipyards to our national survival. we can only refer you to "THE WAY OF THE SHIP" and proceed with our narrative.

 We intend in these pages to describe the working conditions aboard America's working domestic commercial vessels and the effects those conditions have upon the crew members, their families, and occasionally the general public. This is a twice told tale, told in a hurry against gathering darkness. Would that we had a Richard Henry Dana and a "TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST" but all we have is the truth and very little time to tell it.

To be continued

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