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Working Better Together to Strengthen and Improve the U.S. Maritime Industry

Event Recap: "20 Years of Collaboration and Innovation to Improve the U.S. Maritime Industry"

By MarEx 2013-11-19 08:22:00

Video: With the sponsorship support of SWR Corporation, Maritime TV produced the SOCP’s 20th Anniversary Highlight Video detailing the many achievements of the organization, that was featured during the SOCP’s recent 20th Anniversary Meeting at the MITAGS facility in Linthicum, Md. 

By Dione Lee

The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) conducted their Annual Fall Meeting, celebrating “20 Years of Collaboration and Innovation to Improve the U.S. Maritime Industry” on November 6-7, 2013. This event was held at MITAGS-PMI-CCMIT in Linthicum, Maryland. The event was a huge success bringing over 100 maritime leaders together to discuss issues within the industry and “thought leadership” to discover solutions and pathways moving forward together.

The meeting included three panel discussions to help drive future nonpartisan maritime cooperative solutions between business, government, education and labor. In addition to the panel discussions, two separate focus groups were conducted. One with deep-draft vessel owners and operators, moderated by Rear Admiral Joseph A. Servidio and the other on security, discussing how different counter piracy operations are being run from “what’s on the books” to the actual “what the mariners are seeing”.

“We covered a lot of ground quickly and it was all very informative”, stated Ms. Susan Hayman, SOCP President and Vice President for Health, Safety, Quality & Environmental for Foss Maritime Company.  

Highlights from the meeting included the keynote address delivered by Captain Paul “Chip” Jaenichen, Acting Maritime Administrator (MARAD). During the keynote address, Captain Jaencihen said “SOCP is certainly an organization which I have the utmost appreciation for, because given my maritime roots, I certainly understand how important the activities and functions that you do support our industry, and is one of the reasons I actually cleared my entire schedule today so that I can be here”. 

In addition to Captain Jaenichen’s participation, there was a compliment of business, government, education and labor representatives to provide different perspectives from their areas of expertise. Industry experts, such as, Ms. Helen A. Brohl, Executive Secretariat of the Committee on the Marine Transportation System (CMTS), moderated the Infrastructure and Waterways Panel, which included panelists Secretary Sean Connaughton, Virginia Secretary of Transportation and past U.S. Maritime Administrator, and Mr. Dave Murk, Senior Maritime Advisor, for the Office of the Secretary of Transportation.

The Maritime Regulatory Issues Panel, moderated by Rear Admiral Servidio, ranged from Ballast Water Management, presented by Commander Allain to the Maritime Labor Convention, presented by Ms. Medina and LCDR Gagnon, appealing to different sectors of the industry from operations to education. 

A third panel on Maritime Manpower Recruitment and Retention Issues/Concerns moderated by Captain Jaenichen, included issues and solutions for our U.S. maritime workforce. In attendance, Mr. Tom Bushy, SOCP member and Vice President of Marine Operations for Massachusetts Academy, provided the following about one of the panelists, “I've known Art for over 25 years, and his insight never ceases to amaze.  When high school maritime education is fully accepted and in use, there will only be one person in the United States to thank – Dr. Art Sulzer.”

During lunch, SOCP celebrated the past 20 years, featuring a highlight reel of achievement, and awards presentation to Mr. Todd Ripley, MARAD and SOCP Program Advisor, and Mr. Royce Engler, ABS and SOCP past President for their on-going contribution, leadership and support of the SOCP.

For the SOCP business meeting on the second day, MARAD’s Associate Administrator for Environment and Compliance, Mr. John Quinn, addressed three critical operational challenges facing the maritime industry:  environmental protection, vessel security and vessel safety, specifically focusing on bio-fuels research and LNG fuel bunkering.  Within MARAD, Mr. Quinn leads active engagement with government, industry, and nongovernmental organizations to develop appropriate environmental and safety requirements and to provide technological and best management practice solutions to emergent challenges as reflected in MARAD’s ongoing support of the SOCP.

Future projects voted on by the SOCP membership during the business meeting included: a healthy mariner cookbook, maritime industry awareness video, basic math tutorial for mariners, safety data standardization, and a 9th grade maritime course curriculum.

To learn more about the SOCP and how you can effect change, visit the SOCP website

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