Captain R.J. Klein, the Immediate Past President of the Council of American Master Mariners, has an article in Forbes that offers a concise analysis of the issues and solutions regarding sea year at the Academy. The new administration could start with this analysis and be well on the way to resolving the sea year controversy without sacrificing anyone’s concerns about SA/SH.
As Captain Klein observes,
“The reality is, instances of misconduct are very isolated on the commercial fleet and there is absolutely no indication of an existing or developing trend toward improper behavior on U.S.-flagged vessels. Our unions have tracked only a handful of cases of sexual harassment, most of which occurred more than a generation ago. Each time, the perpetrator was expelled from our ranks or disciplined severely.”
And he contrasts the low risks of SA/SH with the often-overlooked risks of the
stand down cancellation:
- “By letting the Sea Year suspension stand, we let an unsubstantiated charge against U.S. mariners linger unresolved;
- We delay midshipmen’s professional development, graduations and required exams;
- We put in danger jobs on U.S.-flagged ships and jeopardize the careers of existing American seafarers;
- We may inadvertently create a barrier for women—already underrepresented—to enter the industry;
- Our military will have greater difficultly properly managing our fleet in times of war.”
And then he offers a realistic “way forward” that includes the restoration of sea year on commercial ships within 30 days. Read the whole thing:
Note that Captain Klein’s concern about how the USMMA sea year
stand down cancellation affects maritime security is concerning to other leaders in the maritime industry as well, as noted in this interview with Clay Maitland by Maritime TV.