Industry Responds to "Sometimes There's Just Not Enough Rocks" Editorial

By MarEx 2012-11-21 11:12:00

Earlier this week, Tony Munoz, Editor-in-Chief of The Maritime Executive Magazine and the MarEx Newsletter, wrote a well-received op-ed titled “Sometimes There’s Just Not Enough Rocks”.

"In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Senator John McCain described the Jones Act as a “protectionist” law serving only U.S. shipping companies and maritime unions. He said the argument that the Jones Act is needed for national security is “laughable.” He would have us believe that foreign shipping companies are as patriotic as American companies trading on U.S. coastlines and inland waterways."... Read the rest of the article HERE.

Members of the maritime community responded. See some comments below:


Dear Mr.Munoz,

I read with great interest your OP-ED and wanted to thank you for bringing this important issue to the attention of the readers of MarEx.  It is important to note that for Desert Storm in 1991, the US was forced to charter a number of foreign-flagged RO/RO vessels to carry the Army to war due to the lack of such ships under US Flag.  Some of these chartered ships were Saudi-owned.   In the after-action assessments, it was acknowledged among the military leadership that future scenarios would most likely not play out the same way and continued reliance on foreign owned vessels in time of war was ill-advised.  This led to the Navy's program to acquire a number of LMSR vessels manned by MSC and MSC-contract crews with US citizenship.  

Furthermore, It is incumbent on our leaders to explore means whereby US flag vessels in commercial trades can be obtained through VISA or similar arrangements to carry the Nation's military material in time of war. The December 2011 MOA between the Navy and MARAD (copy attached) offers an opportunity for dual-use vessels that can serve the US in peacetime and wartime.

Best regards,


Tony ---

Thanks for the cogent, heart-felt position on the Jones Act and Maritime Support.  I appreciate your dedication to US interests, and am truly saddened by that the US Government has through 9 successive administrations allowed the US Merchant Marine, MARAD and our marine interests to shrink to insufficiencies.

In all candor, the present administration is the same as all since Johnson:  lip service for elections followed by evisceration when party regulars feel that maritime has no “constituency”. 

As a very partisan supporter of US maritime capacity and heritage, I have to say privately that I regard the Jones Act as an inadequate sop to the remaining practitioners in our industry.  I am one of many children of professionals in this industry that have no chance to work for US flag concerns and serve overseas maritime interests.  With few exceptions, they are all “parastatal” and only exist with enormous subsidy regardless of what is said in press releases.  The fact that the American people do not realize this: that foreign powers have destroyed the US Merchant Marine with the passive acceptance of the American people that have been bamboozled by claims of “globalization” is horrific.  Failure of the USA to maintain a deep sea fleet under its own flag and ownership with its own masters and mates sufficient to secure20% of its needs for peace time business in liner, bulker and liquid bulk fleets and 100% of its needs for tactical military support in limited theaters is tantamount to treason in my opinion.  This is no argument for reducing the scope of the Jones Act: far from it.  Senator McCain is very shortsighted.

But the next potential Republican administration will not provide any correction to this: a massive buildup of tactical naval or multi-agency fleets will not be accomplished or even proposed despite the campaign rhetoric.  Domestic policies are not going to get any infusion of insight or revenue to make this happen, and the real need to concentrate on federal stimulus for US flag deep see MM fleet development is nowhere suggested.   Your OP-ED came closer than most to this challenge.

Just a note to say thanks: you are not alone in the basic thrust of your argument even if I will vote for Obama, not Romney.


Greetings Tony,

We have never met but have a mutual friend. I was an operator in the SFBP run and station boats.

I greatly enjoyed your article in today’s  Maritime Executive “Sometimes there are just not enough rocks”.

Please continue writing, somebody has to tell our story!

Vince O’

Hello All:

In support of the above commentary by Editor Tony Munoz, allow me to add that given the freedom of expression that our Democratic system promotes, "We the people" deserve to know who, within our Senate and Congress votes to undermine the sanctity and economic security of our nation. Negative voting by misguided representatives, of issues essential to our national well-being, such as the protectionism afforded by our maritime cabotage system, should be widely publicized by the news media, that we may identify and remember those guilty of economic sabotage. It is a sad reflection upon the concept of ultimate sacrifice suffered by so many of our brave military personnel, to ensure our freedom and well-being from the hegemonic intentions of various would-be war lords and conquerors, while simultaneously, the misguided intentions of so many of our elected representatives are allowed to undermine the hard-earned economic security that such sacrifice has earned for us.


Tony -

I don't generally comment on politically charged issues, but you make some excellent points in your Op-Ed piece.

"Protectionist" is not synonymous with "Isolationist." And "Globalization" has been cover for trans-national corporations doing business in the U.S. to seek to maximize profits, the interests of this nation's maritime workers and industry be damned, never mind the security interests of the nation as a whole.



Great analysis of current international situations...the fact that the world economic situation is an issue and that big corporations play games with resources like the oil/gas markets makes the average people have to suffer.  Rich folks and nations like Russia under Putin and China are now suffering economic problems too. They have made for some crazy situations in dangerous places like Iran.  It’s like my time in the Navy back during the Cold War. We don't need to do that again.   Maritime Executive is one of the best sources of modern shipping situations/conditions worldwide...you have a great staff.


Good afternoon Tony,

Great article, lot’s to discuss on this topic and you certainly keyed on the salient issues. Perhaps it will stir conversation on Capitol Hill.

Keep up the good work.

Tim D.

Dear Tony,

That was fabulous. The entire maritime industry owes you and the publication a huge debt of gratitude.



Read OP-ED: "Sometimes There's Just Not Enough Rocks". To voice your opinion on this topic, please send comments to tonymunoz@maritime-executive.com.