U.S.-flag vessel operators and allied industries engaged in domestic waterborne commerce today recognized the vital role the U.S. Coast Guard plays in keeping America’s waters safe and secure. The salute comes on the 221st anniversary of the legislation that established the Revenue Cutter Service, the forerunner of today’s U.S. Coast Guard.
“The U.S. Coast Guard is the most underappreciated federal agency,” said James Henry, President of the Transportation Institute, and Chairman of the Board of American Maritime Partnership. “On any given day, these men and women conduct more than 100 search and rescue missions, save 10 lives, board more than 140 large vessels for port safety checks, and service 135 aids to navigation. And that’s just some of the Coast Guard’s missions. America’s waterways are a critical component of our transportation system because the Coast Guard is, as its motto Semper Paratus promises, ‘Always Prepared’.”
Henry noted the Coast Guard has the most authority over U.S.-flag vessels. “The Coast Guard works with American companies to keep domestic waterborne commerce safe and efficient every step of the way. The Coast Guard approves the plans for new vessels, monitors their construction in partnership with the American Bureau of Shipping, and then conducts annual inspections. The Coast Guard exams that licensed and documented American mariners must pass ensure they meet the world’s most demanding standards.”
Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the U.S. Coast Guard took on even more responsibility for the safety and security of America’s waterways, which required among other things its transfer from the U.S. Department of Transportation to the Department of Homeland Security. The Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (Pub. L. 107-295) established extensive security regulations that the Coast Guard enforces on U.S.-flag vessels.
“The Coast Guard is our regulator,” said Henry, “but these men and women are also our partner in keeping more than 1 billion tons of domestic cargo moving freely on our inland rivers, Great Lakes, and coasts each year. We salute our friends in uniform and pledge our continued cooperation to keep domestic waterborne commerce both efficient and environmentally friendly.”