The U.S. Coast Guard has yet to fully address slow processing times for medical cards. Capt. Sweeney has some suggestions.

The U.S. Coast Guard has yet to fully address slow processing times for medical cards. Capt. Sweeney has some suggestions.

Imagine for a second driving your car through traffic in a strange city with missing or misleading road signs, traffic lights and lane markings. Over the last decade, that is exactly the kind of navigation western rivers mariners have increasingly been expected to perform.  Technology that would permit 100 percent virtual aids to navigation (ATONs) may become available someday, but…
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Captain in Exxon Valdez oil spill dies at 75

Captain in Exxon Valdez oil spill dies at 75

  Joseph Jeffrey Hazelwood, captain of the tanker Exxon Valdez when it ran aground in Alaska in 1989 and spilled an estimated 11 million gallons of oil, died July 21. He was 75. His family is planning a future memorial service. The tanker was carrying more than 1.2 million barrels (more than 50 million gallons) of oil when it struck…
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Coming ashore (for good) takes preparation and perseverance

Coming ashore (for good) takes preparation and perseverance

It was during my last hitch that I decided I would not be coming back to shipping.  It was not because of bad experiences, because I had plenty of good ones, too. I wanted to get married, have a family and be able to go home every day. The decision was years in the making and not one I made…
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Cruise ships are not the answer for more U.S. maritime jobs

Editor’s note: The following letter responds to Capt. Sean Tortora’s article “Americans pay for cruise industry’s flags of convenience” that ran in Professional Mariner’s Oct.-Nov. issue. Capt. Tortora wonders how many Americans planning on cruising would be appalled to know there is only one U.S.-flagged ocean cruise ship, while all others operate under flags of convenience (FOC). The answer: They wouldn’t care.  Cruising is popular because the model…
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Western Great Lakes Pilots Association debuts new pilot boats

The 2022 Great Lakes shipping season is seeing some new boats plying the St. Mary’s River, which separates the western corner of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Canada. The Western Great Lakes Pilots Association (WGLPA) of Brimley, Mich., has added two vessels to its fleet of St. Mary’s River-based pilot boats, which numbers six vessels.  Pilotage District 3 on the Great…
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Working aboard America’s steam-powered paddlewheelers

Working aboard America’s steam-powered paddlewheelers

Steam is at the heart of the sternwheeler Natchez of New Orleans, launched in 1975 and named after the historic city also located along the Mississippi River. Steam powers the 265-by-46-foot passenger vessel up and down the mighty waterway.  I decided to take a ride on Natchez as an ordinary passenger to see for myself what this modern U.S. Coast…
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