MSC Commander Underscores Navy Support for Merchant Marine

April 22nd 2015

America’s mariners “have answered our nation’s call time and time again,” said Rear Adm. Thomas K. Shannon, commander of Military Sealift Command, in an April 13 speech to the New York Marine Society. “America does not go to war without MARAD, MSC and our commercial industry partners,” he added. Shannon made the remarks during the society’s annual awards dinner, at which he was the honoree. “This is probably the greatest honor I have been afforded in my Navy career,” he said.

Shannon took the opportunity to underline the Navy’s support for the programs and policies that serve to maintain the American Merchant Marine. “I want to make this perfectly clear,” he said. “The U.S. Navy supports the Jones Act and full funding–even more funding–for the Maritime Security Program.”

The event was attended by numerous MM&P members and officials, including President Don Marcus, Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse, Atlantic Ports Vice President Don Josberger and National Director of Collective Bargaining J. Lars Turner.

MSC “is now the largest employer of mariners” in the United States, Shannon said. He said he wished that the situation were otherwise, and that there were more U.S.-flag shipping companies operating to carry our nation’s cargo and employ American mariners. He gave a shout out to Civil Service mariners aboard all the MSC ships, with special mention to those aboard USNS hospital ships COMFORT and MERCY, and JHSV SPEARHEAD. “It’s our mariners who are doing this work: it’s on their backs,” he said.

“MM&P Civil Service mariners take great pride in assuming responsibility for, in the words of Adm. Shannon, being the U.S. military’s ‘equipment manager’,” said MM&P President Don Marcus. “We appreciate Adm. Shannon’s support for the U.S.-Flag Merchant Marine and his acknowledgement of the load that these men and women carry on behalf of our nation. The active, personal involvement of the Admiral in resolving the myriad complex issues they face on a daily basis will go a long way towards helping to ensure their backs do not grow weary in the future.”