MarEx Mailbag

This week’s mailbag contains a couple of letters addressing last week’s lead editorial. Last week, our lead editorial referenced the state of affairs at the U.S. Maritime Administration, the maritime modal arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation. In general terms, we bemoaned the loss of momentum and traction achieved by the previous administrator and his staff – as well as the lack of a new one, some 300 days after the last one departed with the change of White House administration. The article netted decent reader “click-through” traffic, but the subject is clearly less important to our readers than the matters of state pilotage and/or the environmental considerations related to ship disposal / recycling. If so, that’s a mistake. The piece, entitled, “MARAD: Just a DOT on this Administration’s RADAR?” can be read again by clicking HERE. Or, you can simply read what our readers had to say about it below:

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Dear Mr. Keefe, I imagine many MarEx readers will greet the candor and simple honesty of your editorial concerning MarAd with surprise and appreciation, it being perhaps a risky observation to point out this obvious case of the emperor wearing no clothes. I am glad you dared. With no MarAd leader and LaHood in no rush to find one, how enthusiastic would the search be for a new academy superintendent? It seems to me it would be a patriotic task to get an interview with Worley and learn why the resignation...another interesting question might be, in what direction Kumar plans to take King's Point- I've become somewhat apprehensive about the current Administration's intentions, not only for the US merchant marine industry, but for the country entirely; it seems the character elements of independence and self-reliance, hallmarks of merchant mariners particularly are to be discouraged – or ignored at best. With Respect and Appreciation, Yours Truly, Name Withheld

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Mr. Keefe: Well Said in regards to your article about MARAD's apparent insignificance to the Obama administration and DOT in the most recent issue of Maritime Executive. It is truly a shame that a great maritime nation like the United States would allow its Merchant Marine to fall into decay. I unfortunately see it all the time, as my specialty is maritime homeland security, and have to contend with a "don't care" and an "out of sight - out of mind" attitude. Fair Winds and Following Seas, Captain Green

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MarEx Editor’s Remarks: Both of these letters echo my sentiments exactly. I can only say that, as of the end of 2008, it was clear that we had achieved some sort of real inertia or momentum with regard to a number of maritime initiatives, many of them emanating directly from the Administrator’s office. Without a doubt, most of that rhythm has been lost. And, that’s both a shame and a real cause for concern for the collective, domestic waterfront.