Chapter Installment Chapter 1B
Naval/ Merchant Marine Interest:
BLOOD ON BROWN WATER, Chapter 1 continued:
Coastwise American tankers and tug / tank barge unit tows carry chemical stocks between Houston , the New Orleans -Baton Rouge "Chemical Corridor", and East Coast Ports like Baltimore.
Grain for export from the Mid West heartland is transported down to New Orleans by towboat and barge; but along with the export grain a great deal of the grain slated for domestic consumption is also distributed by barge. Giant bulk carriers called "Lakers" ply the Great Lakes shifting the area's grain and iron cargoes both between and among the regional users and export points. There are even barge movements carrying potatoes out of parts of Idaho to the West Coast via the Snake and Columbia rivers for domestic consumption and export.
Off of the Gulf Coast, the coasts of Southern California, and Alaska small nimble ships called Offshore Supply Vessels (OSVs) deliver supplies and personnel to America's offshore oil and gas rigs on our Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and elsewhere in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In more than 33 American States with navigable waters, large and small ferries shuttle people to work and to resorts. Day excursion vessels of all sizes crewed by "limited tonnage" mariners carry day-trippers and sightseeing tours. Around all four coasts and in our "inland seas"like Chesapeake Bay, Long Island and Puget Sounds powerful harbor tugs see to the general towage needs of the marine transportation and construction industries. In all navigable waters and even in places not normally navigable, available tugs and towboats provide services to America's bridge builders, pier builders, bulkhead builders, and the maritime civil engineering industry generally. The officers and most of the seamen aboard this vast domestic fleet of sturdy "work boats" are licensed and certified members of the United States Merchant Marine and serve under the general superintendence of the U.S.Coast Guard.The various domestic fleets they serve feature vessels ranging from 26 feet in length to in excess of 400 feet. These vessels in turn are serviced by dozens of "second tier"shipyards.
It is from this vast domestic shipping industry that we have drawn the seamen and ship builders in the past to rapidly expand our international fleet when the "beans and bullets"had to reach foreign countries and to deploy american troops while the usual foreign -flag marine transport suppliers were nowhere to be found.
Make no mistake about it, this domestic fleet only survived competition from Third World and "flag-of convenience" vessels built at a fraction of the cost of American -built vessels, and third world seamen willing to work for a bowl of rice because it was protected. Most successful commercial nations provide legal protection for their "cabotage trades" (From the French term meaning between the capes or "coast wise'). Allowing foreign flag vessels to carry domestic waterborne trade is both a security risk and commercial suicide. To get a really visceral feel for what it is like to allow foreign mariners to carry your domestic commerce, rent the old Steve McQueen movie "THE SAND PEBBLES". "
You can order a copy of the movie by clicking on the icon below which will also lead you to several lower cost rental opportunities. We didn't write this suggestion, but we are familiar with the movie. It depicts China on the eve of the Boxer Rebellion, perhaps the worse blood letting in history sparked by failure by China to enforce its cabotage laws. BLOOD ON BROWN WATER WILL CONTINUE and in our next installment the author explains why he wants you to view the movie.
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