The following is the text of a press release issued by the International Association of Master, Mates & Pilots:
(WASHINGTON) — “Today’s announcement that Congressmen Cedric Richmond and Michael Grimm will form a Congressional Maritime Caucus means that every member of Congress will have an opportunity to better understand the crucial role that the U.S.-flag maritime industry and its workforce of ‘maritime Americans’ play in strengthening our nation’s economic, military and homeland security,” says Captain Don Marcus, President of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P).
Richmond, a Democrat who represents Louisiana’s 2nd District, and Grimm, a Republican who represents New York’s 11th District, say the primary purpose of the new Maritime Caucus will be to help educate members of Congress about a broad range of maritime-related topics. “The maritime industry is the unsung hero of our nation’s economy,” Richmond says.
“The operation of U.S.-flag vessels with American crews strengthens the domestic economy,” says Marcus. “It keeps thousands of Americans employed, generates tax revenues for our government and contributes to our nation’s economic recovery.”
“Without a strong peacetime U.S.-flag merchant marine, America’s troops overseas will not have the American vessels and American crews necessary to deliver the supplies they need to protect the interests of our country,” Marcus says. “The men and women of the U.S. merchant marine are on the front lines every day. The Congressional Maritime Caucus will help increase awareness of the essential job they do.”
Marcus says that to help spread the message, the Masters, Mates & Pilots Union and others in the U.S.-flag maritime industry have joined forces to create local maritime action committees throughout the country. These grassroots groups help bring home to members of Congress the fact that a strong maritime industry is good for their districts, states and constituents.
“MM&P hails the announcement that Congressmen Richmond and Grimm will establish a Congressional Maritime Caucus,” Marcus said. “We welcome the opportunity to work with the Caucus through our maritime action committees and in all other ways so that together, we can develop the U.S. maritime industry our country needs.”