There’s an old saying that figures don’t lie but liars can figure. MARAD is doing a lot of figuring when it comes to calculating the restoration of sea year following the sea year
stand down cancellation. Yesterday, Acting Maritime Administrator Szabat informed Congress that
“Collectively, the companies that have been approved, or are applying [N.B.: for approval to host USMMA midshipmen on their ships], represent 84 percent of the commercial Sea Year training provided before the suspension.”
That sounds really good, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it is not remotely accurate. Notice the careful use of a ratio that has no clear definition (“percent of the commercial Sea Year training”) and no reliable means of measurement. MARAD is hiding the real data, which can be presented in real terms and is easily definable and understandable — and is readily available to MARAD.
MARAD simply releases a statistic and assumes, usually correctly, that no one is going to inquire about the manner in which the statistic was generated. (MARAD is really “good” at manipulating statistics — that is how it initially got away with reporting false information about the Academy’s SA/SH rates as compared to the other federal academies. We revealed that fraud here and related statistical manipulation here and here.)
So let’s look at the real data. The data includes large and small, domestic and international, ship operating companies which had been available to USMMA to take midshipmen for training prior to the
stand down cancellation. Vessels ranged from limited to unlimited horsepower and tonnage. NOTE: The data is now worse due to Liberty Maritime’s reported decision to suspend participation in the program. See this update.
|Comparison of companies taking USMMA midshipmen
|68 vessel operating companies were available to take USMMA midshipmen.
|12 vessel operating companies willing to participate — only 8 are approved and 4 more are pending.
|Comparison of number of ships taking USMMA midshipmen
|360 vessels available to USMMA for training (does not included 45 ROS ships welded to the dock)
|164 vessels available to USMMA for training (clarification: this includes 22 vessels operated by the 4 companies that have not received approval) (does not included 45 ROS ships welded to the dock)
The 12 vessel operating companies that are now willing to carry USMMA midshipmen operate 164 ships (not counting ROS ships). That is only 45% of the vessels that were available to carry USMMA midshipman before the
stand down cancellation. The 84% figure used by MARAD is bogus.
It is important to realize that just because 164 ships are “available,” that doesn’t mean that there are 328 (2 x 164) berths for USMMA midshipmen. Of those 164 ships, only 59 are subject to the law that requires them to carry USMMA midshipmen. And even of those 59 ships, not all are in service or otherwise available at a particular time. The remaining ships may be available to USMMA midshipmen; but, those ships may carry cadets from the state maritime schools instead. Or they may carry no cadets whatsoever.
The following dramatically illustrates that sea year is nowhere near restoration to what it was pre-
stand down cancellation:
|Companies presently approved to carry USMMA midshipmen:
|Companies seeking approval to carry USMMA midshipmen
|Partial list of the 56 companies that used to accept USMMA midshipmen for training but have not sought to participate since the
|AET (LNG tankers, Singapore flag)
Alaska Marine Highways (ferries)
Alaska Tanker Company
Polar Tankers (ConocoPhilips)
HMS Global Maritime (Chip Jaenichen’s company)
National Geographic (Linblad Expeditions)
Norwegian Cruise Lines
Ocean Shipholdings Inc
SeaRiver Maritime (ExxonMobil)
Shell Shipping (Singapore, Marshall Isl)
Staten Island Ferries
Transoceanic Cable Ships (Marshall Islands)
US Shipping Corp.
My source for this data is a very resourceful alumnus who used data from a variety of sources to compile this. This alum has provided me with accurate data in the past and I have high confidence in this data. Of course, some of the data will change with time; and, because it is compiled from a variety of sources, there may be minor errors or inconsistencies in it. I will correct it if any errors are called to my attention. Bottom line is that I am very confident that the overall picture that this data presents is far more accurate than MARAD’s data. But, I’ll invite MARAD to prove me wrong: If MARAD will provide a list of every ship presently carrying USMMA midshipman and the number of USMMA midshipman on each ship, I will gladly publish it on this blog. I can assure you that MARAD can easily put its hands on such a list.
- Added US Shipping Corp. (h/t “Defeated Parent” in the comments)
*** According to a recent survey. Survey takers were given three choices: MARAD never lies to Congress; MARAD rarely lies to Congress; or MARAD lies to Congress 84% of the time. See how easy it is to manipulate statistics?