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American Shipper

Senate committee confirms new MarAd administrator, NTSB board chair

The two positions are among nine that fall under the jurisdictional responsibility of the Senate Commerce Committee, with the others being in the departments of Commerce and Homeland Security, as well as the FCC.

   The U.S. Senate on Commerce, Science and Transportation has confirmed retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby as the new administrator of the Maritime Administration (MarAd) and appointed Robert L. Sumwalt III to a two-year term as chair of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
   As head of the Maritime Administration, Buzby’s role will be to advise and assist Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao on commercial maritime matters, as well as the U.S. maritime industry and strategic sea-lift. He is also to act as a liaison between MarAd and public and private organizations that have a stake the U.S. maritime industry.
   The two positions are among nine that fall under the jurisdictional responsibility of the Commerce Committee, with the others being in the departments of Commerce and Homeland Security, as well as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
   “Confirming these nominees helps address unfair and largely partisan delays that have hampered the new administration’s initiatives to address critical transportation issues and support our economy,” Committee Chair Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said in a statement. “I congratulate each of the confirmed nominees and look forward to working with them as they begin their new roles.”
   Adm. Buzby, who was nominated for the post by Trump in June, had a military career that spanned 34 years, including at-sea positions primarily on Navy cruisers and destroyers, according to the White House.
   He lives about 200 miles outside Wash. DC in Norfolk, Virginia, is currently president and CEO of the National Defense Transportation Association, plus sits on the boards of several maritime industry related corporations.
   The position of MarAd administrator had been vacant since the mid-January departure of Chip Jaenichen, an Obama appointee, days before President Trump’s inauguration. Jaenichen is now COO of HMS Global Maritime.
   Sumwalt has been a member of the NTSB since August 2006, including two two-year stints as vice chair. He spent 32 years as a pilot, including 24 years as an airline pilot, before joining the NTSB. Sumwalt replaces former chair Christopher Hart, whose two-year stint as chairman expired in March. Hart remains a member of the board.