Two days ago, we revealed the true statistics about the restoration of sea year. They were bleak — and not nearly as rosy as the fudged data that MARAD presented to Congress this past Tuesday. Unfortunately, in the last 24 hours or so, the picture has become worse. Two independent sources have confirmed to me that Liberty Maritime, which was one of the 8 shipping companies approved to accept USMMA midshipmen for sea year, has suspended its participation in the program. We are down to 7 approved companies with 4 more pending. More importantly, there are presently only 136 vessels approved and willing to take midshipmen on sea year with another 22 vessels that are operated by the 4 companies awaiting approval by MARAD.
Here’s how the data looks now (strike through indicates where the data was two days ago, highlight indicates current data)
|Comparison of companies taking USMMA midshipmen|
||68 vessel operating companies were available to take USMMA midshipmen.|
|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)|
I’m sure MARAD will come up with a new statistic to sell to Congress. It will probably report that the loss of Liberty Maritime raises the “percent of the commercial Sea Year training provided before the suspension” from 84% to 90%.
I do not have information as to why Liberty Maritime suspended participation. I suspect that we will learn that the barriers created by the protocol developed by MARAD were simply too cumbersome.
Secretary Chao: We need the selections for the new Maritime Administrator and Deputy Maritime Administrator to be announced STAT!