Whereas, since 1874, the State Maritime Academies have been educating and training cadets for licensed officer positions in the United States Merchant Marine; and
Whereas, the maritime industry is facing an increasing shortage of licensed merchant mariners; and
Whereas, the State Maritime Academies produce more than two-thirds of all new licensed officers in the United States and are, by far, the largest source of new licensed officers in the country; and
Whereas, graduates of these four-year universities help meet the manpower requirements of the commercial sealift industry and the Department of Defense and its Military Sealift Command; and
Whereas, State Maritime Academy cadets are trained to contribute to the nation’s maritime transportation needs for licensed marine officers, its homeland security efforts, and general military readiness; and
Whereas, the State Maritime Academies are being subjected to increased Federal mandates such as Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping, but are not receiving Federal funds to support such mandates; and
Whereas, the State Maritime Academy program is Federally funded at a lower level than it was fifteen years ago;
Be It Therefore Resolved that the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force calls on Congress to examine the important role the State Maritime Academies play in providing our country with qualified personnel who keep our commerce moving, our ports safe, and goods delivered to our armed forces abroad; and
Be It Further Resolved that the Task Force urges Congress to provide the State Maritime Academies with the Federal funding they need to continue their role in educating and training cadets to become licensed officers who carry out critical national and homeland security tasks.
Be It Further Resolved that the Task Force supports funding for National Security Multi-Million Vessels that will be used both as State Maritime Academy training ships and as Federal emergency, humanitarian and disaster relief vessels.