Page 25: of Marine News Magazine (October 2013)

Manning: Recruitment & Retention

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rapidly decline in price. The equity built into a vessel built for coastwise trade would ß ounder as the market would ß ood with for- eign competition. The value of a U.S Coast Guard inspected passenger vessel or soon to be inspected Subchapter M tug, towboat or OSV would plummet due to cheaply built, non-inspected, possibly unsafe or unsecure vessels from foreign nations. Our licensed mariners would join the rolls of the unemployed; whether hawse piper or ring knocker. Arguably Ð and in an era of reduced government spending (NOAA / U.S. Navy / U.S. Coast Guard / USACE) due to sequestration Ð our ship- yards and their labor forces, repair facilities, marine engine manufacturers and repairers would go away for good. Once those skills are lost, they will be gone forever. Moreover, those entities that do survive might, due to markedly less domestic competition, pro- duce goods that are even more expensive. The revenues and value of our largest and most successful commercial marine entities would be in a virtual deep dive overnight. Financial Statements would show huge loss- es in tangible net worth and cash ß ow to the point where borrowing might be impos- sible. Ratings, real or implied would cause the stock value of our public marine-related companies to drop like a lead balloon. Our national security would be compro- mised as foreign vessels with potentially malevolent intent could ply our coasts and invade our ports. If our safety were to be se- cured, the cost of policing our coastal waters and harbors would escalate to tax-busting levels. Beyond this, there is no real guaran- tee that foreign registered tonnage, in the absence of U.S. ß ag assets, would continue to do the job at todayÕs market rates. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920 was voted into law for a reason: It exists for the good and protection of the American peo- ple through logical cabotage provisions. If the voices of repeal ever do get loud enough and it is no longer the law of the land (or in this case, the sea), then hold on for a very bumpy and expensive ride. MN 25MN October2013 Layout 18-31.indd 25MN October2013 Layout 18-31.indd 259/30/2013 11:24:28 AM9/30/2013 11:24:28 AM

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