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…
Read More
Americans pay for cruise industry’s flags of convenience

Americans pay for cruise industry’s flags of convenience

There is some great news this summer for the American travel and leisure industry: cruise ships are back! Travelers who have endured a global pandemic and waited 18 months can now pack their bags and book that cruise, maybe even to Alaska. The bad news? Cruising now comes at even higher cost for the U.S. Merchant Marine and the broader…
Read More
Restoring Coast Guard search and rescue proficiency

Restoring Coast Guard search and rescue proficiency

The U.S. Coast Guard is experiencing a gradual erosion of proficiency at all levels of the search and rescue (SAR) chain of command, including core leadership positions at district and sector commands. The service must re-dedicate itself toward ensuring key personnel have the training and experience to lead this critical life-saving mission.  As a signatory to the International Search and…
Read More
By oar and by sail, Coastal interns get a summer of seasoning

By oar and by sail, Coastal interns get a summer of seasoning

You learn to ride a bike by falling. You learn to swim by not drowning. A sailor learns to sail by sailing. And it helps if they sweat at it. This is the idea behind the Summer Mariner Program at Coastal Transportation Inc. (CTI). As the last U.S. fleet operating “stick ships,” Coastal’s refrigerated freighters travel the Inside Passage of…
Read More
Taking on climate change: Carbon capture for marine applications

Taking on climate change: Carbon capture for marine applications

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015 with the intent to peak and then sharply reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in order to keep the average global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius and preferably limited to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. In response to the U.N. initiative, the International Maritime Organization (IMO)…
Read More
Transition in the wind as shipping warms to alternative propulsion

Transition in the wind as shipping warms to alternative propulsion

In the light of the current scramble for alternative, low-carbon fuels that will take until the 2030s to substantially penetrate the maritime fuel mix, wind propulsion is gaining more attention from vessel owners and operators. Gavin Allwright, the secretary-general of the International Windship Association (IWSA), discusses the uptake of this technology and what is behind a spate of recent public…
Read More
Ship autonomy points toward savings, but be wary of higher cost

Ship autonomy points toward savings, but be wary of higher cost

The order is given and it’s full speed ahead for robot vessels called maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS).  The technologies being researched and developed are showing no signs of stopping. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has defined four categories of MASS with differing degrees of autonomy: • Degree one: Seafarers are on board to operate and control shipboard systems and…
Read More
E-learning can boost understanding of nav rules, reduce accidents

E-learning can boost understanding of nav rules, reduce accidents

Despite time-tested collision avoidance regulations, sophisticated navigation systems and frequent amendments to STCW requirements, marine accidents continue to occur, with human error still the leading cause. “Safer Seas Digest,” a compendium of lessons learned from marine accident reports issued or adopted by the National Transportation Safety Board, shows some form of human error was the probable cause in 81 percent…
Read More