The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:
(CLEVELAND) — The Coast Guard's 9th District and the Lake Carriers’ Association signed a mutual training agreement (MTA) Monday that further promotes cooperation and education opportunities between the association’s 17 member companies that operate cargo vessels on the Great Lakes and the Coast Guard as their primary regulatory agency.
This agreement was reached under the Coast Guard’s Merchant Marine Indoctrination Ship Rider Program, which provides for valuable professional exchange opportunities for the mutual benefit of both the Coast Guard and the merchant marine industry. The MTA will allow Coast Guard marine inspectors to join a vessel’s crew while underway and act as a riding observer, giving the inspectors a practical knowledge of the performance and operating characteristics of the vessels, equipment, the waterways they transit and the vessel crews. Since many Coast Guard marine inspectors come to the Great Lakes after learning their trade in coastal ports, these training opportunities serve to increase and expand their knowledge of the unique Great Lakes maritime industry.
“We’re extremely pleased with this opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the Lake Carriers’ Association and their member companies," said Rear Adm. Fred Midgette, commander of the Coast Guard's 9th District. "This agreement will enable Coast Guard marine inspectors develop a more comprehensive understanding of commercial vessel operations and enhance the level of marine safety and security across the entire Great Lakes region.”
The Coast Guard's 9th District is headquartered in Cleveland and oversees all Coast Guard operations on the U.S. portions of the Great Lakes. The Lake Carriers’ Association represents 17 member companies that operate 57 vessels on the Great Lakes that can carry more than 115 million tons of cargo in a year.