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Mr. Abbot was invited to testify before the panel today but was scheduled to
be out of town. Without objection, so ordered.
At this time, I recognize the Honorable Tom Allen from Maine for
any statement he might wish to make.
I thank the Chairman for scheduling this next installment in our series of hearings on reauthorization of the Maritime Security Program.
When I talk to people back in Maine about what we do in Congress, this is the kind of event they think we do all the time: a substantive, thorough airing of an issue, with views from all sides. It is good to have this opportunity to dig into this issue, and hear from the wide variety of entities with interests in the Maritime Security Program.
I especially thank the Chairman for setting up this hearing on shipbuilding issues early in the series. Like the Chairman, I have one of the “big six” shipyards in my district. The shipbuilders have an interesting proposal for the re-authorization, and I look forward hearing the testimony of San Diego's own Mr. Voortman, as well as our other witnesses.
AVONDALE INDUSTRIES, INC BATH IRON WORKS CORPORATION ELECTRIC BOAT CORPORATION INGALLS SHIPBUILDING
GROTON, CONNECTICUT PASCALOULA MISSISSIPPI
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Panel, for this
opportunity in my capacity as Chairman of the American Shipbuilding
Association (ASA) to present our industry's recommendation to
strengthen America's national security, our merchant marine, and the
ASA represents the six largest shipbuilders in the United States.
We build large oceangoing commercial ships, as well as all of the capital
ships for the U.S. Navy. ASA also represents 22 major companies
engaged in the manufacture of ship systems and components.
Unfortunately, as you heard last week, the United States is at
serious risk of not having a merchant marine engaged in international
commerce in the future. Our merchant marine, and the maritime
industry in the United States is dying. This death is analogous to a
patient afflicted with cancer where each segment of the industry grows
weaker over time, until gradually, we are no more. It is past the time for
all segments of the maritime industry to come together to rebuild our
merchant marine and the industry that supports our merchant marine.
This cannot be accomplished, however, without the help of the United
While I strongly believe that it is in the national security interest of
our Government to have a strong merchant marine and maritime
industry, it is not what I believe that matters. It is what you in Congress,
and what the Administration think and believe that matters.
Should you determine that it is in our national security interest to
have a commercial fleet of militarily useful ships -- owned, built,
crewed, and controlled by Americans -- to serve as a military auxiliary
in times of war and national emergency, a financial investment will be
required. A simple band-aid, like the extension of the existing Maritime
Security Program or the changes MSP shipowners recommend, will
neither save nor foster an American merchant marine to meet our
nation's sovereign military requirements in time of war and national
As this chart demonstrates, in 1980, the U.S. merchant marine fleet
engaged in international commerce numbered 165 American owned,
American built, and American controlled ships, employing 13,313