Friday, June 3, 2016

HARDLY PRACTICAL

NAUTICAL LOG has previously addressed comments by an American Merchant Marine Officer who following the policy of his Union refers to the numerous cruise vessels operating out of U.S. Ports as FOC vessels.  Of course nothing could be further from the truth, both he and his Union wallow in this antiquated concept that anything non-American is substandard. In passing it is worth mentioning that a U.S. Flag vessel, the S.S. El Faro with a full U.S. maritime Union crew and in the most deplorable condition, was lost with all hands last year off the Bahamas. It sailed directly into the path of a hurricane in one of the most puzzling decisions by her USCG licensed and maritime Union Master. 

As the United States continues to slip towards a Third World status with a rapidly declining infrastructure, an outdated transportation system particularly the railroad system so far behind the European Union in both speeds and comfort of trains.  Then we have the armed crime ridden cities which the local governments seem to be unable to curb and control.  Many of us who became U.S. Citizens by choice watch in disgust.  Sadly instead of working to help improve the situation it is reported that now many native born citizens are leaving the country and unwisely giving up their USC.

In a comment to "Old Salt Blog" the USMM Officer asks what can be done to save the USMM from further decline.  The answer he got from that blogs owner was enlightening and well worth reading.  In addition NAUTICAL LOG decided to comment as well from the perspective of an Officer who served during three decades in passenger ships in various parts of the world including the cruise lines based in South Florida and Alaska.

We suggested that the USMM does not mann any of the cruise ships operating from U.S. Ports mainly one believes due to the overbearing maritime Unions requirements which suffocate that possibility.  Attempts to do so by the cruise lines have ended in disaster as one cruise line found out when they tried U.S. Union crews from Honolulu, HI.  Also in Hawaii a U.S. operation to provide Inter-island ferries also had to be shut down due to impractical State Regulations and maritime Union requirements.

So what has brought all this on in a NAUTICAL LOG Post.  Well the American Union Officer concerned has it seems being doing some thinking about his Merchant Marine and perhaps his Union.  In our comment we suggested that the USMM had to be rebuilt from the top down and the bottom up.  Unions had to change from the "them and us" concept and work with management by having seats on the Board to build a successful company together.  The infamous, outdated and impractical Jones Act is no longer needed and should be abolished.  In all honesty we do not believe this is possible in the United States so the decline will continue apace perhaps depending on the result of the upcoming general election.

Recently NAUTICAL LOG received a catalog of their cruises and vessels from an American cruise line which operates magnificent paddle vessels on the larger rivers running north/south and east/west of the United States.  It was interesting to learn on contacting them that their first choice for Captains and Officers where former USCG and USN personnel used to dealing with "affluent passengers of the country club set".  We thought that a classic arrogant reply - no class distinction in the United States !!  While their paddle vessels were luxurious the small vessels they operate were cramped with only one lounge forward and a dining room aft.  Yet the cost of a cruise was many times more than those offered by the Cruise Lines based in U.S. Ports.  In fact it is far better value to obtain a package offered by European river cruise lines and fly to Europe for this type of vacation.

So between attitudes like that in the maritime industry and the requirements of the maritime Unions it would seem the USMM has an uphill battle if it is to stop its continuing decline and success is not forecast !!

Good Watch.

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