Why Would a Tugboat Need to STOP Motion?

Yet again, I’m preparing to drive that arduous forty minutes to our airport to pick up an arriving tugboat man.

This is the life of a tugboat captain’s wife. They’re always going or coming.

Here’s a snippet of our conversation last night:

Me: “I had to put gas in the car.” (Imagine that I said it in a reproachful manner, kinda whiny, cos it’s a chore I HATE and tugboat man usually does it for me.)

Him: “Well, I hope you at least filled it, ‘cos I’m sure the only reason why you fueled up is because you were on empty.” (In a slightly know-it-all voice.)

Me: ” You are so funny. NOT. I did NOT fill it up. I only put in about twenty dollars, ‘cos I got bored standing there and plus it’s not my job. It’s stinky and dirty. And yes, Mr. Smarty Pants, it was on empty and I would’ve run out on the way to the airport to pick you up so you can see it’s all your fault.”

Him: “I just don’t get you. If you’re there with the pump in the tank, would it kill you to stand there for an extra couple of minutes? It’s only logical, right? Makes sense, right?”

Me: “Logical? Me? Who do you think you’re talking to?”

Although he was gone the entire week, continually bemoaning the fact that he missed the giant surf, this time he wasn’t out to sea.

Did you know that professional mariners need to attend lots of continuing education classes?

That involves everything from keeping up with USCG (United States Coast Guard) licensing requirements, enhanced security procedures, managing a crew, practicing medical lifesaving techniques (because captains are the medical officers onboard tugboats), fire safety and prevention, and radar.

There’s lots more but I can’t remember it all right now.

This time he was learning and being certified in something called Dynamic Positioning

US Navy 110603-N-EC642-170 The New Breed offsh...

US Navy 110603-N-EC642-170 The New Breed offshore supply vessel HOS Shooting Star uses dynamic positioning to maintain its position while performin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He often trains with simulators; probably this time, too. I forgot to ask, ‘cos our conversations mainly consisted of his whining and moaning about missing out on surfing epic waves.

Here’s a bunch of random words strung together in sentences that makes absolutely NO SENSE to me whatsoever, but is a detailed explanation that I hope y’all comprehend. (‘Cos I surely do not.)

Dynamic positioning (DP) is a computer-controlled system to automatically maintain a vessel’s position and heading by using its own propellers and thrusters.

Position reference sensors, combined with wind sensors, motion sensors and gyro compasses, provide information to the computer pertaining to the vessel’s position and the magnitude and direction of environmental forces affecting its position. 

The computer program contains a mathematical model of the vessel that includes information pertaining to the wind and current drag of the vessel and the location of the thrusters.

This knowledge, combined with the sensor information, allows the computer to calculate the required steering angle and thruster output for each thruster.

This allows operations at sea where mooring or anchoring is not feasible due to deep water, congestion on the sea bottom (pipelines, templates) or other problems.

Dynamic positioning may either be absolute in that the position is locked to a fixed point over the bottom, or relative to a moving object like another ship or an underwater vehicle.

One may also position the ship at a favorable angle towards wind, waves and current, called weathervaning. [Source: Wikipedia]

Confused? So am I…
This is a simpler explanation that even I can understand:
Sometimes when a tug is working on a project rather than simply being underway from point A to point B, it needs to stay in one specific location and not float around. DP is an advanced method to hold a tug stationary.

That was your lesson for today. There will be a quiz at the end of the day. :)

Have a lovely Friday!

 

 

 

My Husband Suffers From Performance Anxiety

A CONFESSION.

But it’s not EXACTLY what you think.

It’s not THAT kind of performance anxiety.

I tricked you and I know it’s not nice to do, but, well, I have no excuse.

I felt like it.

:)

Surf’s been up here in Southern California. A few tropical storms brought a high surf advisory —  thus creating a happy tugboat man.

He’s always in a great mood when he can surf or ride his stand-up paddle boards.

When he was around eight years old, he lived in Kauai and was friendly with Elizabeth Taylor‘s nephew — always disappointed that he never caught of glimpse of her. He also went to elementary school with Laird Hamilton — that very famous surfer.

My tugboat man has saltwater in his blood.

On Saturday, he told me to get ready to go to the beach and bring my camera so I could shoot vid of him shredding and getting barreled and tubed and mastering the wild surf.

This was definitely too big for me to make another attempt at reinventing myself as Gidget. (Click HERE to read all about ME.)

It was a beautiful, perfectly perfect beach day.carlsbadbeach1

Even a few seashells, but nothing like Florida.carlsbadbeach4 Cute shorebirds.carlsbadbeach6

A a proud and loyal wife, I planted myself on the sand with my Canon Rebel T3i zooming in on my tugboat man.

I didn’t want to miss a single wave.

Off he goes!

carlsbadbeach2

Nice boat – there’s my tugboat man, ready to shred!

carlsbadbeach7

Still waiting…watching…sitting…sitting…sitting…carlsbadbeach5

Is he here? Did he catch this one?carlsbadbeach8 Or this one?carlsbadbeach9 How about this wave? Do you see my tugboat man?carlsbadbeach10Nope, neither do I.

I don’t have a tripod (note to self to get one) and my arms were soo tired.

I gave up, sat down, and read a book.

When my tugboat man finally came out of the water, he just couldn’t understand what happened.

He’s a really good surfer and had been catching TONS of waves — UNTIL I got there.

Not a single wave. Not ONE.

See, performance anxiety, right?

Just not the kind you were thinking of.

Tee hee.

Update: To prove he wasn’t suffering from any long term surfing decline, he went back out without me for an “evening glass off session” (surfing terminology) and returned having caught at least a dozen waves.

I think I jinxed him. Oops.


P.S. In case you were wondering, I got hub’s permission before writing a post about this delicate subject matter. I would never want to embarrass him in a public forum.  Privately? Well, that’s a different matter entirely! LOL

 

Celebrate Day of the Seafarer

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Today is International Maritime Organization’s Day of The Seafarer

“Think of something you own and which came by sea. Whether it’s the car you drive, the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the gadgets you use or the furniture you sit on, write it down and post it, adding the hash tag “#thankyouseafarer.” If you can also post a photo or video, even better,” said IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu.

Who doesn’t love bananas? Did you know that your daily dose of potassium was brought to you by a mariner? My own tugboat captain has docked hundreds of Dole banana boats over the years.

How about cars and trucks, marine construction equipment, coal, grain, oil, chemicals, trash, recyclable materials, sand, gravel, and timber?

All brought to you by ships and barges — and tugboats.

Right now my own tugboat man is pulling into a dock. It’s not nearly as easy as parallel parking a car…

His 150 ft. tugboat has a 1000 feet of tow wire pulling a 700 foot barge. Sorta like this, but this is NOT hub’s tug; I just wanted you to have a visual.

What has a the sea brought me?
She brings my tugboat man home safely.

I’m so excited!! It’s been a long six weeks.

Yes, even after twenty years, my heart beats a little quicker, the sun is a little shinier, my heart sings a happier tune — when my tugboat man is home, exactly like the lyrics of my favorite Christina Perri song, “A Thousand Years”

“I have died everyday waiting for you, darling don’t be afraid. I have loved you for a thousand years. I will love you for a thousand years more..”

While I’m baking and cleaning and perfuming and figuring out what to wear for the long drive to the airport, I’ll listen to my favorite songs by Christina Perri:

1. Don’t Count The Miles, Count The I Love Yous”

http://youtu.be/vl-2OHvBYX0

2.  “A Thousand Years”

http://youtu.be/q9ayN39xmsI

 

 

#dayoftheseafarer

Princess Rosebud and Her Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

I will speak in third person, not sure why, but that’s how I’m feeling at this exact moment so that’s how I’ll roll.

Princess Rosebud had a terrible, horrible, no good, VERY BAD DAY.

Her arms are crossed, lower lip jutting out, brow furrowed (as much as a Botoxed brow can be) and she’s stomping her foot.

A melt-down is imminent.

The day had started out in spectacular fashion.

Her Tugboat Man was FINALLY! COMING HOME!

He had been gone for almost a month and Princess Rosebud missed him a lot especially since he had been absent during the whole retinal tear/laser surgery episode as well as the “meeting Al Gore” event.

The house was spotless; the bed freshly made with 800 thread count linens that had been ironed and perfumed (with Chanel), ‘cos even a tough tugboat captain gets tired of smelling diesel fuel all the time and he appreciates the little things.

After hitting the trifecta: Trader Joe’s, BevMo, and Sprouts, she dragged nine bags of groceries from her car to the house and up the flight of steps to reach the kitchen (they live in a Southern California tri-level).  She then walked back down to the garage to bring up a bottle of Gruet champagne and a couple bottles of wine.

Taking care of the most important chore first, Princess Rosebud placed the champagne and a bottle of chardonnay in the refrigerator and gathered together flour, cocoa, sugar, and eggs for a baking session.

The special welcome home menu would be Caesar Salad with homemade dressing, freshly baked French bread, and a (hopefully) moist and fudgey decadent chocolate cake.

Taking a brief moment to drink a glass of refreshing lemon water, she opened her computer to check for an email from her Tugboat Man with specific flight details. The airport is about forty minutes away and takes much longer if there’s traffic, and there’s usually tons of traffic.

This is what she found in her Inbox:

From MASTER XXXXXX
Bad news they’re asking me to do another trip. I’ve asked them to keep looking for someone else but it’s a possibility. Not happy, sorry. 

(She pounded out a swift reply, of course all in caps.)

To MASTER XXXXXX
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I JUST WENT GROCERY SHOPPING FOR YOU. OMG. IS THIS A JOKE?

(Storm clouds on the horizon. An upset Princess is NOT a good thing to behold.)

From MASTER XXXXXX
I am not kidding.  I will have more time off when I do get home. Just trying to look at the bright side. Now you can eat for a while. I will call you tomorrow with the final word. Love you.

To MASTER XXXXXX
I don’t know what to say. 

(She had a lot to say, but didn’t want to say anything she’d regret at a later date.)

From MASTER XXXXXX
You and me both honey.

What was Princess going to do? She had been so very excited to see her Tugboat Man and he was now delayed for two weeks because his relief captain was unable to take over for some reason. 

It’s not like this never happens in the life of a professional mariner.

It’s always a possibility.

Other mariner spouses have all experienced the “delay”. Either the assignment lasts longer than expected, or another obstacle presents itself.

Like this. Like having to work an extra two weeks because the company is in a bind.

That’s why most of the time Princess doesn’t allow herself to get too excited or plan anything until she knows he’s at the airport and on his way.

But this story has a happy ending. Sort of.

No, her Tugboat Man didn’t get a reprieve; he’s still scheduled to return around the 26th, but Princess’ friend came over and helped her drown her sorrows with a couple of bottles of wine purchased for the homecoming celebration.

A different ending than one of Angel Boy’s favorite childhood books…

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…but the message is the same.

We can learn to cope when things don’t go our way — and in my case, a few glasses of wine turned my frown upside down!

Let’s Not Forget The Merchant Marine on Memorial Day, OK?

LANE-VICTORY-approaching-Berth-46-on-February-6-2012.-Photo-by-Jim-Shuttleworth

SS Lane Victory

We honor all who served and made the ultimate sacrifice, but let’s never forget our merchant mariners.

U.S. Merchant Marine had highest casualty rate during World War II, yet received no GI benefits…

The U.S. Merchant Marine has rarely received its due recognition in helping the Allies win World War II, although mariners were the first to go, last to return and suffered the highest casualty rate of any group that served.

One in twenty-six mariners was killed in World War II; by comparison, one in 34 Marines was killed.

The first American victim of Axis aggression was not at Pearl Harbor, but a Merchant Marine ship two years earlier.

By the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, 243 mariners had already died from Axis attacks on the ships that shuttled materiel to U.S. allies already at war.

The Merchant Marine suffered its own Pearl Harbor at the Italian port of Bari, Dec. 2, 1943, when a German air attack sank 17 Allied merchant ships with a loss of more than 1,000 lives. The attack released a cargo of 100 tons of mustard gas bombs.

The conflict claimed 8,300 mariner lives at sea and wounded 12,000. At least 1,100 of those wounded succumbed to their injuries.

One in eight mariners experienced the loss of his ship, and more than 1,500 Merchant Marine ships were sunk during the war.

In 1942, on average, 33 Allied ships went down every week.

Until the middle of 1942, German submarines were sinking merchant ships faster than the Allies could build them.

Many of the crews who perished in these sinkings were blown to death or incinerated. Thirty-one ships simply vanished without a trace.

These casualties were kept secret to avoid providing the enemy with information and to keep supplies flowing to soldiers. A soldier at the front required 15 tons of supplies. Most of those supplies moved on ships.

Who were these 250,000 seamen who kept these supplies moving?

The volunteers ranged in age from 16 to 78. Many, like Tom Crosbie of Saybrook Township, dropped out of high school to serve their nation. They were often rejected from other branches of service because of a physical defect – one eye, heart disease, a missing limb.

It was the only racially integrated service during the war.

The end of the war was not the end of their service; 54 ships, including one on which Tom Crosbie was serving, hit mines after Japan and Germany surrendered.

President Roosevelt, upon signing the GI Bill in June 1944, suggested “similar opportunities” would be provided to mariners.

That hope died when Roosevelt passed the following spring.

Mariners were denied everything from unemployment to medical care for disabilities. It took years of court battles for the mariners to finally receive partial veteran status in 1988, too late for many of those who had served.

They continue to seek full, official recognition for themselves and their spouses.

For more information, including pending legislation, visit http://www.usmm.org. From http://www.starbeacon.com/

Happy Maritime Day…Better Late Than Never, Right?

In honor all of our United States Merchant Mariners, and especially my very own tugboat captain..we are so proud of you!

tugboatwife

Presidential Proclamation — National Maritime Day, 2014

 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA…A PROCLAMATION

America’s open seas have long been a source of prosperity and strength, and since before our Nation’s founding, the men and women of the United States Merchant Marine have defended them. From securing Atlantic routes during the naval battles of the Revolutionary War to supplying our Armed Forces around the world in the 21st century and delivering American goods to overseas markets in times of peace, they have always played a vital role in our Nation’s success. During National Maritime Day, we celebrate this proud history and salute the mariners who have safeguarded our way of life.

Today’s Merchant Marine upholds its generations-long role as our “fourth arm of defense.” Yet they also go beyond this mission, transporting food where there is hunger and carrying much-needed supplies to those in distress. Thanks to our dedicated mariners, people around the world continue to see the American flag as a symbol of hope.

To create middle-class jobs and maintain our leading position in an ever-changing world, we must provide new marketplaces for our businesses to compete. As we expand commerce, we do so with confidence that the United States Merchant Marine will keep our supply lines secure. Because just as America’s workers and innovators can rise to any challenge, our mariners have demonstrated time and again that they can meet any test. Today, let us reaffirm our support for their essential mission.

The Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 20, 1933, has designated May 22 of each year as “National Maritime Day,” and has authorized and requested the President to issue annually a proclamation calling for its appropriate observance.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 22, 2014, as National Maritime Day. I call upon the people of the United States to mark this observance and to display the flag of the United States at their homes and in their communities. I also request that all ships sailing under the American flag dress ship on that day.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA

 

How To Stay Healthy if You Work On a Tugboat

(Previously posted, but I continue to be questioned about what my tugboat man does on his long assignments.)

Have you given any thought to the daily life of a mariner working aboard a tug at sea?  

wheelhouse

Wheelhouse or bridge on a tug

Imagine being stuck for a couple of months 24/7 on a tugboat approximately 120 ft. x 35 ft. with several others; Captain, Chief Mate, Engineer, other mates and deckhands, and a cook.

It’s a fairly sedentary life with bursts of physical labor, but mostly there’s a lot of sitting and standing, as in “standing watch”.

Standing watch or watchstanding refers to the division of qualified personnel necessary to operate a ship continuously.

What is Standing Watch?
On a typical sea-faring vessel like an oceangoing tugboat, specific crewmembers keep watch on the bridge (also known as the wheelhouse) and the engine room. It’s a twenty-four hour, seven days a week job. Time is divided up as “watches” so that every one is on a rotation.

Someone has to be there all time, or else it’d be like a car rolling down the road with no driver!

On a tugboat, there is usually a team of two bridge partners, a lookout and an officer or mate who is responsible for the safe navigation of the ship. Safe navigation means keeping the vessel on course and away from dangers as well as collision avoidance from other vessels. The engineer ensures that the tug will continue to operate around the clock.

A secondary function of watchkeeping is to respond to emergencies on the tug or involving other ships.

When they’re not standing watch or working, the crew sleeps and eats.

They watch videos, play video games, and read books.  Most tugboats aren’t large enough to hold exercise equipment like a treadmill or an elliptical; consequently, there are few opportunities to exercise and maintain good health habits.

My tugboat man developed his own workout routine when he’s unable to go to the gym and he’s stuck on a tug for days – weeks – sometimes even months.

Neither one of us are licensed trainers but we both share a lifelong love of being physically fit and healthy.

My tugboat man used to be a goalie on a semi-professional soccer team, and has always worked out, lifted weights, martial arts, surfs, skis, and swims.

I’ve taken ballet most of my life, taught aerobics, and work out almost every day. We hike and bike and ski as our activities together.

Not my hubs abs, sigh...

Not my hubs abs, sigh…

This is a basic but comprehensive cardio and strength training routine. Unless there are dumbbells or weights on board, he doesn’t travel with them, so this routine doesn’t use them.

Because of the steel decks, there isn’t a lot of jumping around because that surface is too stressful for knees and other joints. If he can’t do jumping jacks safely; for instance if the tug is bouncing up and down in a storm, he’ll do high knees, high steps, or kicks. He brings a jump rope but can’t always use it.

Actually, this is a good routine to follow if you need a workout while you’re in a hotel that doesn’t have a gym, or even if you’re not a member of a gym.

Add a 5 lb. or 8 lb. (or more) weight for a set of curls, triceps extensions, and shoulder presses, and that’s all you need to be on your way to good health and strong bones.

A Tugboat Captain’s Basic Guide to Exercise
Performed as a circuit; depending on fitness level: two to five times. Starting with one circuit is 100% OK. It’s important to move around and be active at any level.

Start with three to five minute stretch.

  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 25 squats
  • 25 burpees
  • 20 lunges (alternate legs after 10 lunges)
  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 50 sit-ups
  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 25 squats
  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 20 lunges (alternate legs after 10 lunges)
  • 25 burpees
  • 50 push-ups (5 sets of 10)
  • 50 sit-ups
  • 25 jumping jacks
  • 50 push-ups (5 sets of 10) Alternate regular push-ups with triceps push-ups.
  • 50 sit-ups
  • If he can use his jump rope, he’ll end the session with a three-minute jump, or a count to 500.

Don’t forget to always end with a series of stretches.

Check out this video for some great chest exercises:

Beachy December Festival of Light and Color: Photos

Even though it’s the beginning of December and was the fifth night of Hannukah, here in Southern California we enjoyed a brief summery Sunday before a massive winter storm barrels down the coast from Alaska.

A late afternoon beach walk in Carlsbad with my tugboat man…magnificent sunset, boats, seagulls flying home. Not such big waves though, or he’d be surfing and not walking!

Maybe that’s why I get so excited for the WordPress snow to appear.

It’s the only snow I see unless we go skiing!

These photos have not been retouched. This is exactly what it looked like. AMAZING, right?

Decsunset6

Decsunset1 Decsunset2 Decsunset3 Decsunset4 Decsunset5 Decsunset7Decbirds

Remember the Merchant Mariner on Veteran’s Day

Merchant Marine recruitingposterMy tugboat man is a proud member of the United States Merchant Marine.

He is a merchant mariner.

He also served in Desert Storm.

From the little he’s shared with me, it was a dangerous mission. I met him right after he returned, but I didn’t hear about his involvement until a couple years later when I was updating and re-typing his resume. (On a typewriter!)

Most Americans honor those who’ve served in the military, and we can name the branches of the armed services — Army, Air Force, Navy, and the Marines.

Here on the Pacific Ocean, we always remember to include the United States Coast Guard.fightingMerchant Marine

Hardly anyone would think to include the Merchant Marine, which has long been referred to as the forgotten branch of the military, according to Jack Beritzhoff, former merchant seaman and author of Sail Away: Journeys of a Merchant Seaman. 

“People don’t remember that the Merchant Marine was around before the Navy —  during the Revolutionary War, the Colonies hired merchantmen to protect our shores and cargoes.

At the height of the Second World War, when I served, there were over 250,000 merchant sailors bringing supplies to American forces and our allies, getting torpedoed by U-boats in the Atlantic and strafed by Japanese planes in the Pacific.

There are a lot of historians who say that it was our merchant fleet that won the war as much as anything.”

Please take a minute to learn a little more about the maritime industry and don’t forget the importance of our mariners.

nowfor7seasThe American Maritime Partnership has given me permission to reprint some of their excellent articles.

OVERVIEW OF THE DOMESTIC MARITIME INDUSTRY

With more than 40,000 vessels engaged in domestic waterborne commerce, it is clear that this commercial armada is as diverse as the nation it serves. These vessels represent an investment of nearly thirty billion dollars.

Here are some more facts and figures that illustrate the size and scope of the domestic maritime industry:

  • A billion-plus tons of cargo annually, with a market value of $400 billion.
  • 100 million passengers annually ride ferries and excursion boats.
  • 74,000 jobs on vessels and at shipyards.
  • 500,000 jobs in total.
  • $100 billion in annual economic output.
  • $29 billion in annual wages spent in virtually every community in the United States.
  • $11 billion in taxes per annum.
  • $46 billion added to the value of U.S. economic output each year.

MAJOR CARGOS:

  • Grain, coal, and other dry-bulk cargos and crude and petroleum via inland rivers.
  • Iron ore, limestone and coal across the Great Lakes.
  • Refined petroleum products along the East and Gulf coasts.
  • Supplies for Gulf offshore operations.
  • Merchandise and construction materials to and from Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

The domestic trades serve more than forty states and ninety percent of the population.

America’s domestic trades have been the birthplace of innovations that transformed waterborne commerce worldwide:

  • Containerships
  • Self-unloading vessels
  • Articulated tug-barges
  • Trailer barges
  • Chemical parcel tankers
  • Railroad-on-barge carfloats
  • River flotilla towing systems

Click here to see a gallery of photos of vessels in the domestic trades.

Safety is another benefit that flows from U.S. laws regulating domestic waterborne commerce. U.S.-flag vessels are built and operated to the world’s highest safety standards. And no other nation sets a higher standard for mariner credential

Why We Need the Jones Act

AMERICA IS MORE SECURE BECAUSE OF ITS STRONG DOMESTIC MARITIME INDUSTRY

Under U.S. domestic maritime laws, commonly known as the Jones Act, cargo shipped between two U.S. ports must move on American vessels. These laws are critical for American economic, national, and homeland security, which is why they have enjoyed the support of the U.S. Navy, Members of Congress of both parties, and every President in modern history.

THE DOMESTIC MARITIME INDUSTRY IS KEY TO AMERICA’S ECONOMIC STRENGTH AND SECURITY.

From the earliest days of our nation, shipping has been the grease for America’s economic engine. Today, the maritime industry is by far the most economical form of domestic transportation, moving more than 1 billion tons of cargo annually at a fraction of the cost of other modes. Remarkably, the domestic maritime industry transports about one-quarter of America’s domestic cargo for just 2% of the national freight bill. Fundamental U.S. industries depend on the efficiencies and economies of domestic maritime transportation to move raw materials and other critical commodities.

America’s domestic shipping industry is responsible for nearly 500,000 jobs and more than one hundred billion dollars in annual economic output, according to a recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Transportation Institute. Labor compensation associated with the domestic fleet exceeds twenty-nine billion dollars annually with those wages spent in virtually every corner of the United States. The American domestic fleet, with more than 40,000 vessels, is the envy of the world. Every job in a domestic shipyard results in four additional jobs elsewhere in the U.S. economy.

A small number of individuals and organizations support repeal of the Jones Act, which would allow foreign-built, foreign-operated, foreign-manned, and foreign-owned vessels to operate on American waters. The result would be to take a core American industry like shipbuilding and transfer it overseas to nations like China and South Korea, which heavily subsidize their shipyards and play by their own set of rules. Additional losses would occur from the outsourcing of American shipping jobs to foreign nations. Particularly at a time of severe economic dislocation in the U.S., it makes little if any sense to send American jobs overseas and undermine an essential American industry.

THE U.S. NAVY SAYS THE JONES ACT IS CRITICAL TO NATIONAL SECURITY.

The U.S. Navy’s position is clear – repeal of the Jones Act would “hamper [America's] ability to meet strategic sealift requirements and Navy shipbuilding.” Over the past several decades the Navy has consistently opposed efforts to repeal or modify key U.S. maritime laws.

America’s domestic fleet is an important part of the national maritime infrastructure that helps ensure there will be ample U.S. sealift capacity to defend our nation. American ships, crews to man them, ship construction and repair yards, intermodal equipment, terminals, cargo tracking systems, and other infrastructure can be made available to the U.S. military at a moment’s notice in times of war, national emergency, or even in peacetime. In addition, during a major mobilization, American domestic vessels move defense cargoes to coastal ports for overseas shipments.

During Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (2002 – 2010), U.S.-flag commercial vessels, including ships drawn from the domestic trades, transported 90% of all military cargoes moved to Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Defense Department (“DoD”) has consistently emphasized the military importance of maintaining a strong domestic shipbuilding industry, stating “[W]e believe that the ability of the nation to build and maintain a U.S. flagged fleet is in the national interest, [and] we also believe it is in the interest of the DoD for U.S. shipbuilders to maintain a construction capability for commercial vessels.” A study by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Export Administration, reached a similar conclusion:

The U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry is a strategic asset analogous to the aerospace, computer, and electronic industries. Frontline warships and support vessels are vital for maintaining America’s national security and for protecting interests abroad. In emergency situations, America’s cargo carrying capacity is indispensable for moving troops and supplies to areas of conflict overseas. A domestic capability to produce and repair warships, support vessels, and commercial vessels is not only a strategic asset but also fundamental to national security.

AMERICA’S DOMESTIC MARITIME INDUSTRY MAKES OUR HOMELAND MORE SECURE.

As America works to secure its borders, it must also secure its waterways. Homeland security is enhanced by the requirement for American vessels that operate in full accordance with U.S. laws and with the consistent oversight of the U.S. government. In that respect, the Jones Act is as effective a homeland security measure as any federal agency could ever write and enforce.

Today, it takes a small army of Customs agents, Immigration Services officials, homeland security staff, and others to regulate foreign ships that enter and exit the U.S. in international trade, even within the carefully controlled structure of U.S. ports. However, there is no precedent for allowing foreign-controlled ships operated by foreign crews to move freely throughout the tens of thousands of miles of America’s navigational “bloodstream.” Inland lakes, rivers and waterways go to virtually every corner of the nation.

There is considerable uncertainty about what laws would apply to a foreign shipping company operating in U.S. domestic commerce if the Jones Act were repealed. However, it is certain that the task of monitoring, regulating, and overseeing potentially tens of thousands of foreign-controlled, foreign-crewed vessels in internal U.S. commerce would be difficult at best and fruitless at worst. Repeal or modification of the key domestic maritime laws would make America more vulnerable and less secure.

U.S. MARITIME LAWS ENSURE A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR AMERICAN BUSINESSES.

American domestic maritime laws ensure a level playing field by requiring that all shipping and shipbuilding companies that operate in U.S. domestic commerce play by the same set of rules. Allowing foreign companies to operate in the U.S. outside of our immigration, employment, safety, environmental, tax, labor, and others laws would be unfair. American laws are often stricter than the laws that govern shipping and shipbuilding in international trades. No other industry operates exclusively in American domestic commerce yet outside of our laws (e.g., paying third world wages to its employees). No country in the world would – or does – permit businesses to operate domestically without complying with its national and local laws. Companies that do business here must fully obey American laws, regulations and other rules.

CONCLUSION: IT’S ABOUT SECURITY

You don’t need to be an expert in the maritime industry to know that repeal or modification of the key domestic maritime laws would make America less secure economically and militarily. Repeal of those laws would provide little benefit while making America more vulnerable.

KRISTALLNACHT. Never Forget.

19381011_NYT_frontpage_Kristallnacht

My grandfather was a rabbi; although he had already emigrated from Hungary at the the turn of the century, my mom assured me that it most definitely COULD happen again and we should never forget

From The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

On November 9–10, 1938, the Nazis staged vicious pogroms—state sanctioned, anti-Jewish riots—against the Jewish community of Germany.

These came to be known as Kristallnacht (now commonly translated as “Night of Broken Glass”), a reference to the untold numbers of broken windows of synagogues, Jewish-owned stores, community centers, and homes plundered and destroyed during the pogroms.

Encouraged by the Nazi regime, the rioters burned or destroyed 267 synagogues, vandalized or looted 7,500 Jewish businesses, and killed at least 91 Jewish people.

They also damaged many Jewish cemeteries, hospitals, schools, and homes as police and fire brigades stood aside. Kristallnacht was a turning point in history. The pogroms marked an intensification of Nazi anti-Jewish policy that would culminate in the Holocaust—the systematic, state-sponsored murder of Jews.

My brother sent me an email and I got his permission to reprint it as a post. It’s brief but powerful and reminded me that we must always be vigilant against hatred.

This week my wife and I went to the Oregon Holocaust Memorial. We had an intense and unsettling experience.  The memorial is in a hilly wooded park near downtown. We started off in a European town square setting, a cozy stone bench. Everything was covered in leaves from the trees around it. We noticed a doll (sculpture) had been left behind on the bench. As we walked down the cobblestone path other items had been left. The cobblestones gradually turned into railroad ties. The path ends at a large curved stone structure with the story of the Holocaust. It has powerful quotes from some of Oregon‘s Holocaust survivors. The structure rests on a huge boulder that covers dirt from each of the death camps. On the back of the structure are names of some Jews who died in the Holocaust and their Oregon relatives. The names are engraved on shiny black stone. As I walked along reading the names I could see my own image reflected in the stone. We’ve been wanting to visit this memorial for years, but kept putting it off. For me, part of being a Jew is finding the courage to walk around while carrying a heavy load of vulnerability and grief inside.  State sponsored anti-Semitism “could” happen here. It probably won’t. But if it does, I won’t go passively to the camps. We all have developed ways of coping that work for us.

Laughing and crying
You know it’s the same release
-Joni Mitchell

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
-Dylan Thomas