Maritime Industry Converges on Capitol Hill

At the annual focused lobbying effort called the "Sail In," maritime industry representatives blitzed Congress for support for the U.S. merchant marine. A bipartisan group of pro-maritime lawmakers put out a far reaching maritime strategic plan and the Union mourned recent losses on the Workers Memorial Day. The UAW won in Tennessee, TRANSCOM recognized American mariners at a meeting of the MTD, AFL-CIO, and the SUP celebrated Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians on this Maritime Day. 

Baltimore Bridge Collapse Kills Workers

A foreign-flagged ship hit the Key Bridge in Baltimore, and the collapse killed workers and closed the port. At the same time, Congress passed key maritime legislation, a new great powers brinkmanship re-surfaced in Asia. A Watson wage increase, attacks by billionaires on the NLRB, and ancient maritime history were all noted along with SUP sadness at the passing of long-time member Duane Nash.

First Merchant Sailors Killed in Houthi Attacks

Houthi missiles hit unarmed merchant ships off Yemen and the first fatalities were reported. The action drew another swift response from the coalition naval forces, and American and international labor unions expressed outrage. Chinese-built container cranes were found with deep security flaws putting the U.S. maritime system at risk. The Coast Guard issued a new MMC document and the SUP celebrated Women's History Month and the 138th anniversary of its founding. 

Members of Congress Call for Action on U.S. Maritime Policy

Spurred by the attacks on merchant shipping, a bi-partisan group of lawmakers demanded new focus on long-neglected U.S. maritime policy. Supply-chain security and U.S.-flag ship operations in contested waters and the reserve vessel capacity and workforce readiness were called out for review and support. In Congress, U.S. seagoing Unions testified that American sailors would deliver the goods come what may, as they have done since 1775.

APL Begins U.S.-Flag Fleet Renewal

APL formally announced a U.S.-flag fleet replacement program begining in February. At the same time forces hostile to shipping launched many attacks, mostly in the Red Sea. Container rates rose in response as ships were diverted and delayed. The importance of tonnage critical to the U.S sealift logistics of tanker operation and fuel - and the SUP's role in it - became increasingly clear. SUP activations accelerated as mariner recruitment and retention was again in the news. Steady as she goes and full ahead for 2024!

Merchant Ships Attacked in Red Sea

Unarmed merchant ships were attacked this month in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Ships were shot at and sometimes hit with drones and missiles, and a car carrier was boarded and hijacked. Much of the violence came from Houthi rebels in Yemen and related to the Gaza War, but another ship was seized in the area, apparently by Somali pirates. The attacks have slowed commerce as calls for US and allied naval protection grew louder. At another chokepoint, the Panama Canal reduced transits, just as holiday container volumes turned positive. That and much much more in this holiday issue. 

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