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Mr. DOWNING. Do you dispute the 15-percent figure that I mentioned ?
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. Yes, sir. And we have, Mr. Chairman, names, addresses, and ships as well as licenses.
Mr. DoWNING. You can dispute it now because all academies have 95 percent or over at sea. I will get back to you in a minute.
a I will yield to Mr. Murphy.
Mr. MURPHY. Mr. Noucingham, we certainly appreciate your statement and also the fact that you addressed yourself in your remarks to the proliferation of academies that under one of the bills under consideration could exist.
I know you were in the Chamber when we discussed with Admiral O'Donnell the question of an indepth study that gets to the point of some of the questions you just raised such as is there a hump that exists in existing personnel in the merchant marine industry, when that will level out, what input from the academies is necessary.
I think that is basic to the consideration of this legislation.
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. Mr. Murphy, I think from the remarks that you have made and the questions that you have asked you show a depth of understanding of this subject that everyone doesn't appreciate.
We don't have consistent employment opportunities in the merchant marine. There are times when we can't beg, borrow or steal a job for our graduates and yet when there are jobs, more jobs than there are men available, everyone asks, “Where are the graduates of the Federal and State academies? Why aren't they still sailing?"
Even when you join the Navy, there comes a time when your enlistment runs out. When you join the Army, the same is true. When you come from the Merchant Marine Academy or a State academy, you should expect an opportunity to go to sea. You can also expect a reasonable amount of job security.
Would you gentlemen say we have job security today when 80 percent of our merchant fleet is antiquated and suitable for the scrap heap?
It is not a very suitable industry to suggest that a man should go in for a long period.
Mr. MURPHY. Do you think the Maritime Academies should have courses in postgraduate work geared toward the licensing examinations that the Coast Guard requires for updating?
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. Very definitely, sir. I believe refresher training to qualify a man or prepare a man for the examinations he must take for the next higher grade should be offered by these institutions. I would say, though, that the institutions should go much further than that. It doesn't take 4 years to train a junior officer for the merchant marine as a deck officer or an engineer, and these institutions should be the center of maritime education in all fields and facets; in other words, in the marine sciences, in oceanography, in deep-sea fishing, in undersea exploration; and these are the logical institutions to provide this kind of an educational opportunity for the youth of our country and to prepare for the contribution that these men in turn can make to their Nation.
Mr. MURPHY. Do you think these academies could produce 90-day wonders in time of emergency?
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. I am a wartime product of Kings Point, sir, when over 9,000 of our men were turned out in roughly 18 to 21 months.
It takes longer to train a merchant marine officer than a line officer in the Navy because there are fewer men on a merchant ship and thus the responsibilities of a merchant marine officer are greater than those of his contemporary junior officer of the Navy.
Therefore, I won't say we can do it in 90 days. I think the 18 months that we had in World War II is probably the minimum that it would take to turn out a deck or engineer officer that can take control of a watch rather than be the third or junior officer on the bridge in a naval ship.
Mr. MURPHY. Thank you.
sir. Mr. DOWNING. Mr. Watkins.
Mr. WATKINS. I have no questions. I appreciate your coming before the committee. You have certainly been most helpful.
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. Thank you.
Thank you very much for your statement, even though I disagree in part, particularly on page 3. I want to know what limitations you have in mind when you say you are opposed to 8785.
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. We are not opposed to additional support for the State academies. We are opposed to the fact that this bill as written at the moment, as I understand, does not provide any limitations on the number of students that would be the beneficiaries of Federal assistance or the number of institutions that might come into existence for purpose.
I might say that Admiral O'Donnell answered one question relative to this when he said that the number of academies should be based on the need. But there is no ceiling here and this bill can be interpreted as an invitation for those States that are considering adding to their educational institutions an approach to the Federal Government with the establishment of another State maritime academy, and I don't think this makes much sense today.
We have the unions training men for deck and engineer licenses. We have five existing State maritime academies and we have the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy which is supposed to serve the Nation.
Mr. HATIAWAY. Well, what limitation on number of students did you have in mind ?
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. I think there that if I were to propose a figure, I would say not to exceed in number those that are now being assisted. There should be some way to increase that number based on need, but there should be some rule at the determination of the Department of Commerce, the Secretary of that Department, or by some other method to determine whether there should be assistance to any increased number of young men. How many men are you going to provide this assistance for, is it to be open-ended, would be the questions that occur to me.
Mr. HATHAWAY. You are not saying that the need does not exist, but you would want to have figures to show the need?
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. Frankly, sir, I think right now we are facing a contracting situation. We are taking out of the active merchant fleet today a great percentage of the ships used in the Vietnam sealift. I don't like to prophesy, but I would say in the next 18 months we are going to have difficulty finding jobs for the men we have today.
Mr. HATHAWAY. With the President's recent announcement that he is going to build 300 more ships in the next 10 years, isn't it going to increase instead of decrease?
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. No, sir; because 80 percent of our fleet is presently antiquated, and those will be going to the boneyard and be scrapped. The new ships will not be adding to our total merchant fleet. They will be adding new vessels to the fleet replacing a larger number of ships that will be scrapped. I am afraid that overall on the basis of the total number of men that will be employed on these vessels we may find less rather than more job opportunities; the more sophisticated equipment will require a higher standard of education, but as far as total number of men, perhaps less.
Mr. HATHAWAY. There is no question, is there, that the graduates now of all the academies are finding jobs and 95 percent of them are employed in the merchant marine or related activities?
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. Yes, sir. They are finding jobs today, but that has not always been true. Between Vietnam and Korea there were many difficulties encountered by the graduates of the Federal and State academies in finding jobs, and I might say at that time the unions didn't have their officer training programs which are producing men today.
Nonetheless, while the principle source of personnel as deck and engineer officers for the merchant marine were these academies the men were having tremendous difficulties finding employment.
I am sure this is going to happen again unless we can find some way to stabilize our merchant marine. It is subject to peaks and valleys, Mr. Hathaway. As you know, it depends upon crises. We have right now roughly, I think, reactivated 150 ships for the Vietnam sealift. Most of those ships came from the Reserve Fleet and will return to the Reserve Fleet when that sealift is no longer required.
You multiply those ships by the number of deck and engineer officers onboard, and you realize how many men are going to be taken off their jobs.
When you think about obligations for these men for employment, you have to think about consistent employment opportunities for them. This is something that is frequently lost sight of. We don't have this. We don't have an equivalent situation to the Naval Academy midshipmen.
When the guy graduates from the Naval Academy, he knows he is going to have continued employment. He doesn't have to worry about his next ship or his next paycheck. That is certainly not true in the merchant marine.
Mr. HLATHAWAY. Would you advocate that we change the present law which says not more than $600 is to be paid to a student and limit the number of students?
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. I feel, and I know that you propose that, the State maritime academies should receive additional Federal assistance. We believe they should. The question would be the amount. With respect to, if I understood your question correctly, the number of students that would receive it, I feel then that it would be a question of having an
agency determine a need for increase beyond the present number of students that are given Federal assistance.
Whether it would be the Secretary of Commerce who would make this determination or the Maritime Administrator as his agent, I wouldn't know, but someone, it seems to me, should be able to say whether there should or should not be an increase beyond the number of students that are receiving that assistance at this time.
Mr. HATHAWAY. Well, if what you say is true, though, isn't that going to inhibit any other State from establishing an academy eren though you say here that this would encourage them?
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. Well, you gentlemen have within your purview, I suppose, to amend these bills but I feel that there should be a limitation in the provisions of the Martime Academies Act that would preclude the establishment of additional State maritime academies unless a proven need exists.
WIr. HATHAWAY. If what you say is true, if the demand for graduates is not great at the present time, no individual State is going to bother to establish an academy if there is not real need for it.
Mr. NOTTINGIAM. I am not entirely sure.
Jír. KEITH. I think it is appropriations as well as authorizations at the congressional level, and the State would have to come to the Maritime Administration and clear its plans and get appropriation and authorization, and so I don't think we have to worry about the establishment of additional academies from that point of view.
Mr. HATHAWAY. Nor do we from the States themselves if they recognize that there is no need for the graduates.
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. Going to that point, Mr. Hathaway, I don't know that they would use that criterion. After all, when a young man commences school at a State or Federal academy, he doesn't graduate for a minimum of 3 or a maximum of 4 years. Who is to say what our need is going to be in the merchant marine 4 vears from now?
We don't know. We have reactivated ships and found great difficulty in manning them several times since the end of World War II.
The Korean war was a classic example, the Lebanon crisis, Vietnam. On the other hand this is not a continuing and consistent employment opportunity that these men who are graduated from these academies are offered. It differs in that respect from the military life and differs from most private enterprise that one can think of.
Mr. HATHAWAY. What I am getting at is that we should not be deterred from adding on $175,000 and increasing the student allowance on the ground that this might induce other States to establish academies because the figures that have been given to us so far indicate that a $250,000 stipend from the Federal Government isn't going to induce a State that does not have an academy to establish one because it is not that much money.
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. That may well be true.
It seems to me that in the closing phases of your comments here you have been on both sides of this question. You say we no longer need any new academies, yet you also say, “Who is to say what the opportunities will be 3 or 4 years from now?"
I think the President has gone a long way toward answering this in his message. I agree with your eariler statement that the need is going to be somewhat less because the new ships that the President calls for are going to be five times the capacity of the existing ships and they are going to be so mechanized that there will be a smaller crew. But if we could get in this bill a proviso, and I think we can, and certainly we would have no objections to it, that the liability to repay any repayable advance shall be canceled if there is no berth available commensurate with the man's capabilities, so that that wouldn't be hanging over his head, wouldn't that to a large degree settle that particular argument ?
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. May I go back to the beginning of your comments, Mr. Keith, to say that I have no desire to be inconsistent so that I want to clarify that.
Mr. KEITH. We are all inconsistent at times.
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. I think I am trying to be consistent in saying that I feel that there should be a limitation by an established agency of the Federal Government in the determination of whether we need additional academies, and I point out that we have a cyclical industry, a peak and valley type of operation.
The large-scale employment opportunities are generally produced as a result
of a crisis. Mr. KEITH. We are very well acquainted with that, Mr. Nottingham.
Mr. NOTTINGIIAM. At this moment we are going through a recession, but it is very possible that we may need an expansion at some later time.
Mr. KEITH. I understand. It is a very fluctuating set of circumstances.
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. Now, answering your specific question as to the repayment obligation, I feel it is unnecessary. We feel our men are going to sea, our records reflect that they are.
Mr. KEITH. Doesn't your academy have some requirement that they go to sea ?
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. Yes; we do. It's a moral obligation.
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. I am not an attorney, but I think from the standpoint of trying to enforce it, it might be difficult because it is for employment in civil industry. It's for a civilian occupation, and I believe
a that the Constitution precludes involuntary servitude, so that it would be difficult to require a man legally to serve any more than you could require a man to till the soil, who is a graduate of a Federal landgrant college, and is skilled in agriculture.
On the other hand, I think that we are doing the job, and therefore we don't feel that we have the need of this compulsion.
Mr. KEITH. You point out on page 2 of your statement what seems to me to be the compulsion.
Mr. NOTTINGHAM. The Naval Reserve status?