SCHUBERT KEEPS FOCUS ON U.S.-FLAG VESSEL MANPOWER LEVELS
Capt. William G. Schubert, head of the U.S. Maritime Administration, pledged to the Maritime Trades Department of the AFL-CIO in New Orleans Friday to do what he can to ease the threat of a manpower shortage on U.S.-flag vessels.
“We must not accept the continued overall decline in U.S.-flag tonnage,” Schubert said. “A decline in U.S.-flag tonnage means a decline in U.S. jobs — something I will not accept.”
'He warned that a manpower shortage on U.S.-flag vessels “could potentially cripple a large-scale, sustained overseas conflict, like the Persian Gulf War.”
“Addressing this problem is of the highest priority and we hope to soon release a more comprehensive and fully accurate database of licensed and unlicensed mariners,” Schubert said.
Schubert met recently with senior officials at the Pentagon to discuss the possibility of creating a “merchant marine reserve” for unlicensed mariners. “Retaining a merchant mariner workforce is critical to our efforts and our mission as a government agency,” he said.