24 September 2002


Traffic World--September 23, 2002
War Planning; If there's a mobilization, defense planners will find the U.S. merchant marine both better and worse
An army marches on its stomach, Napoleon said. Two centuries later much has changed about war, but the need for logistical support - including sealift - has not.
During the Persian Gulf war, aircraft carried soldiers to the front, but 85 to 95 percent of supplies arrived by ship. "We built a city of a half-million people over there," said John Graykowski, an attorney with Dyer and Ellis in Washington, D.C., who was assistant and acting maritime administrator from 1994 to 2000. "Everything you need from movie theaters to toilet paper, consumer goods and war-fighting stuff had to get to the Middle East. The only way you are going to get it there is the way American society gets it and that is with a ship."
With President Bush seeking congressional authorization for possible military action against Iraq, it's beginning to look as if the nation's sealift capacity may face a major mobilization. If that happens, defense planners will find an altered merchant marine - one that in some ways is in better shape than the one used in the 1990-1991 Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, but that in other ways is worse.
The U.S.-flag merchant marine continues to decline and is a shell of its former self. The number of large U.S.-flag ships has fallen from about 2,500 at the end of World War II to 239 at the beginning of the current fiscal year, according to Robert Kesteloot, a Reston, Va., consultant and former director of strategic sealift for the chief of naval operations.
Those ships include 47 vessels covered by the Maritime Security Program, which provides $2.1 million annual subsidies to U.S.-flag ships operated in international trade. Much of the rest of the U.S.-flag fleet consists of tankers or bulk carriers or container vessels in the domestic trades, which the Jones Act protects from foreign competition.
Most of the U.S.-flag ships in MSP are operated by U.S.-based intermediaries for foreign owners, including Denmark's A.P. Moller Group, Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines, Canada's CP Ships and the Anglo-Dutch combine P&O Nedlloyd. Subsidized ships must be owned by "Section 2" companies owned by U.S. citizens.
Albert J. Herberger, a former maritime administrator and deputy commander in chief of the U.S. Transportation Command, said the Section 2 arrangement provides a level of protection. "We have no reason to believe the Danes or the Singaporeans would ever break those contracts, but we had to set up these firewalls," he said, "I don't have any tinges that they would not support us and our requirements," agreed Gen. Edward Honor, the retired director of logistics for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and president of the National Defense Transportation Association for the past 13 years.
Still, the arrangement has provoked criticism that MSP subsidies eventually could go to an intermediary company working for a shipping company based in a nation whose interests aren't aligned with those of the United States.
If there is a war, the first ships to deliver cargo likely will be those in the Maritime Prepositioning Fleet - 37 ships that are preloaded with arms and other materiel for the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force. These ships are kept fully crewed and ready to sail at a moment's notice from strategic locations such as Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, in Mediterranean ports and in Guam.
After the prepositioned ships are dispatched, the next source of cargo sealift available to defense planners are the eight Fast Sealift ships and 11 so-called "large medium speed roll-on/roll-off vessels "or LMSRs. The Fast Sealift ships, which can travel at 30 knots, are roll-on/roll-off vessels that were built in the 1970s by Sea-Land Service as container ships.
Rear Adm. David L. Brewer III, commander of the Military Sealift Command, said the 20 LMSRs built after the Persian Gulf war - some are used as prepositioning ships - are among the most significant improvements to the nation's sealift capacity in the past decade. They are enormous ships, with 315,000 to 394,000 square feet of capacity.
"If you want to haul a lot of stuff from one deepwater port to another, you are in pretty good shape," Kesteloot said. "But the LMSRs are much too big. It's a lot of eggs in one basket. There is not much of a threat out there in terms of submarine warfare, but China is coming up with submarines, Iran has a few. Who knows when that picture is going to shift? And then there is the problem of what are you going to do when you go into smaller ports."
In addition, the government would have access to 76 ships in the Ready Reserve Fleet. James E. Caponiti, the Maritime Administration's associate administrator for national security, notes that during Desert Storm, Marad activated 79 vessels from the Ready Reserve Fleet. Because of problems with activating some of those ships, the government created a program to keep skeleton crews on vessels so that they could be activated quickly in the event of a national emergency - in four, five, 10 or 20 days.
The program isn't cheap - it cost $251 million in the current fiscal year. But Caponiti said spot checks have shown that RRF ships have been able to get under way on schedule nearly 100 percent of the time during small-scale deployments for military actions in Haiti, Somalia and Bosnia and humanitarian missions such as in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch.
During the Desert Storm mobilization, the Ready Reserve Fleet was concentrated at only a few locations, such as the James River in Virginia. Now the RRF's 76 ships are scattered among 20 ports. The RRF fleet also is more diverse than it was during Desert Storm when it consisted primarily of breakbulk ships. The fleet now comprises 17 breakbulk ships, 10 crane ships, 31 roll-on/roll-off vessels, four barge carriers, three heavylift ships, nine tankers and two school ships from merchant marine academies that can be used as troop carriers.
The RRF ships designed for deployment in four days have full-time port crews of 10 persons; the five-day ships have nine crew members. By keeping skeleton crews on the vessels, Aponiti also notes that Marad is helping solve one of the most intractable problems of maritime planners: the dwindling size of the pool of civilian merchant mariners.
The problem is worsened by the shrinking U.S.-flag fleet and the new international convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, which requires seamen to be certified to work on ships - a time-consuming and costly requirement that few retired seafarers are likely to want to meet. Retired merchant mariners, some from World War II, were an important part of the work force during the Persian Gulf war.
A final component of the nation's military sealift capacity is the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement program. There are 116 ships enrolled in the VISA program, in which shipowners agree to make a portion of their intermodal transportation capacity - not only ships, but containers, truck fleets, railcars and information systems - available to the military. In return, VISA participants get preference for military cargo. VISA participation also is required for the 47 ships in the U.S.-flag subsidy program. Those ships provide 70 percent of the sealift capacity of the VISA program.
Before activating the VISA program, the government first seeks to move cargo on ships or space chartered from the commercial market, with U.S.-flag ships getting first crack.
During Operation Desert Shield, the Military Sealift Command chartered space from operators of both U.S.- and foreign-flag ships. Few problems were reported, although Carl Seiberlich, former director of military programs for American President Lines, said the owner of a German feeder ship refused to let one of its vessels sail into the Persian Gulf. With no other way to get critical air control equipment to the Air Force days before the United States started shelling Iraq, APL used one of its mainline vessels to deliver the units.
Adm. James Perkins, commander of the Military Sealift Command from 1997 to 1999, said there were several other incidents where foreign crews refused to sail into dangerous waters. "They were just a bunch of guys who did not want to get shot," he said. "But today there is a different calculus. It is not difficult to postulate a situation where the crews might be sympathizers and might try to take a ship over and do something bad with it."
With the increased concern about terrorism, Brewer said the MSC is vetting crew members on both foreign-flag ships and U.S.-flag vessels.
Without knowing how much sealift is needed or whether companies will volunteer tonnage, Caponiti says it is impossible to know if the VISA program will have to be activated. Under the program, the government can demand that carriers supply up to half of their capacity and 100 percent of the capacity on their subsidized ships. It's more likely, though, that carriers would work cooperatively to help the military meet its needs.
What will those needs be? There's considerable debate. Kesteloot, who has been a leading advocate for the need for improved sealift capabilities, said the recent fighting in Afghanistan has caused him to take a second look at some of his assumptions about the need for sealift.
"Our whole philosophy of fighting has changed," he said. "We had very heavy forces (in previous wars) and the Marines, harking back to the days when they were stranded out at Guadalcanal and places like that, have always insisted on 30 days of supplies ready when they go in. I don't think we are going to put nearly as many troops on the ground. Nor are we going to go over with all the tanks that we took over the last time."
That's provocative stuff to others who follow the issue. Brewer points out that Afghanistan was a very different situation than the Persian Gulf war, because it was a landlocked country and a much smaller military force was deployed. And Perkins noted that cargo can be moved by sea for perhaps one-tenth the cost of airlift. "As a taxpayer, I'd like to see more of it," he said.

18 September 2002

MaritimeToday.com includes an ariticle on Maritime Security and the International Maritime Organization:

A politically incorrect prediction: the penalty in increased bureaucracy will outweigh the increase in safety. Hell, there may not even be an increase in safety!

05 July 2002

Roger that, Brink Lindsey!
July 4, 2002

WHY WE'LL WIN: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
posted by Brink Lindsey at 10:25 AM

WHY THEY HATE US: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
posted by Brink Lindsey at 10:25 AM

WHY WE FIGHT: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
posted by Brink Lindsey at 10:24 AM

18 June 2002

The $0.2billion adventure in Pascagoula. Note, for the record, that these ships were in trouble well before September 11th:
This article from NYTimes.com
Critics Christen Ship Project as an Off-Course U.S.S. Pork

June 18, 2002 By LESLIE WAYNE

Two years ago, with waving flags and hula dancers swaying,
the government announced an ambitious program to build two
passenger cruise ships - the first in a United States
shipyard since the 1950's - and provided more than $1
billion in loan guarantees to get the program going.

It did not hurt that the ships were to be built in the
Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard where the father of Trent Lott,
the Republican Senate minority leader, once worked. As a
result, Senator Lott became one of the strongest supporters
of the program, which was named Project America.

Today, the project is being derided as an example of
political pork gone wrong. What remains of Project America
is an unfinished hull the size of two football fields and
pieces for a second ship lying around. The hull is not
floatable; it has neither a completed bow or stern; and its
future is in doubt. The price to the government for the
failed project is $187 million - money the government is
trying to recoup by putting the half-finished hull on the

This dismal reality only confirms the worst fears of the
project's critics - and is a far cry from the high hopes of
those who backed it. Critics, who call Project America
corporate welfare, say it shows the dangers lurking behind
the tens of billions in loan guarantees the government has
extended to an array of businesses, among them airlines,
the housing industry and American exporters.

"This has turned into a corporate welfare debacle," said
Stephen Moore, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a
Washington research group that promotes free-market
economics. "Congress likes loan guarantees because they do
not show up on the budget and appear to be free to
taxpayers. Yet there are so many instances, like this one,
where the project explodes into the taxpayers' lap."

Who wants to buy a half-finished cruise ship? Not many, it
turns out. Not the Navy, which turned down a proposal from
a Mississippi congressman to run it as a
rest-and-relaxation ship for battle-weary troops. Not
commercial cruise lines still trying to lure passengers to
existing ships after the terrorist attacks last September.

"It's very difficult," said Jean E. McKeever, associate
administrator for shipbuilding at the Maritime
Administration, which is now advertising for buyers.
"That's been shown by the lack of a satisfactory response
to our ads."

For Project America's Congressional backers, Senator Lott
among them, the ships were a way to jump-start the dormant
commercial shipbuilding industry. The ships were being
built by American Classic Voyages and fell into the
government's hands after the company filed for bankruptcy
protection last October.

As an extra dollop of support, Congress had passed
legislation giving American Classic and the two
1,900-passenger ships a monopoly on the Hawaiian cruise

In the critics' corner is Senator John McCain, the Arizona
Republican, who put Project America on his annual "pork"
list. In the meantime, the project's failure is being
investigated by the inspector general's office of the
Department of Transportation and by the General Accounting

On Senator McCain's side is the Bush administration, which
has tried to eliminate the shipbuilding loan guarantee
program - only to be thwarted by Congress. This year, for
instance, the administration is asking that the program be
given no funds, while a letter is circulating in the Senate
seeking $50 million for it. The program is run by the
Maritime Administration.

Between those two points of view lies a seven-story hull
sitting under the hot Southern sun, hardly a tantalizing
prospect for anyone.

That includes the Navy. The Mississippi Democrat whose
Congressional district includes the Pascagoula shipyard,
Representative Gene Taylor, led an all-out push this year
for the Navy to buy the hull. He even put language into the
military appropriations bill encouraging the Navy to do so.
Mr. Taylor is a senior member of the House Armed Services

Mr. Taylor's idea was to turn the hull into a floating
military barracks. A cruise ship, the argument went, would
give sailors more space and better facilities than many of
the barracks where they currently live overseas and would
provide the Navy with a quick escape route if anti-American
sentiment should build on foreign shores.

In addition, after noting that the Navy had leased the
Cunard Princess to provide a floating respite for gulf war
troops, Mr. Taylor thought a Navy-owned cruise ship could
do the same.

What tired soldier would not want to enjoy what the Project
America ship would offer - one of 950 staterooms, most with
outside balconies; a spa and swimming pool; a 590-seat
cabaret lounge; an 840-seat theater; a four-story atrium;
and, according to the ship's promotional literature, a
"uniquely Hawaiian outdoor performance stage."

"It would be similar to a college dorm," Mr. Taylor said.
"In our all-volunteer military, you would have housing with
a movie theater, health care and a swimming pool. It would
be a floating barracks. It also provides protection against
any security threat. Heck, if there are any problems, you
can take it beyond the horizon and your troops are safe."

But the Navy declined, saying it needed destroyers and
other warships instead.

While Mr. Taylor's proposal might seem lighthearted, his
intention is anything but. He wants to keep workers
employed at the Pascagoula yard, formally known as the
Ingalls Shipyard, and encourage someone - anyone - to
finish the ship.

"This is America," Mr. Taylor said. "People wait for
something to go on sale before they buy. My hunch is a
cruise ship company or third-party investor is waiting for
the price to get right before buying and finishing it.
Taxpayers would be better off if the ships were finished
and we got as good a price as possible."

Senator Lott did not respond to requests for comment.

Maritime Administration's loan program is intended to
support domestic shipyards by guaranteeing the debt issued
to finance commercial ship construction. Last year, the
agency guaranteed $362 million; in 2000, $885 million.

When a project fails - as happened after American Classic's
bankruptcy filing - the government steps in to pay off the

In this case, the $187 million went to institutional
investors who had bought Project America debt, which became
worthless after the American Classic bankruptcy. The
largest shareholder and chairman of American Classic is Sam
Zell, the Chicago financier who made a fortune as a
financial turnaround artist.

Mr. Zell cannot complete the ship and, with the Navy out of
the picture, it is hard to see who would buy the hull and
pay the millions needed to turn it into the passenger ship
it was intended to be. For more than 50 years, all cruise
ships have been made in Europe or the Far East, where
construction costs are lower and shipyards have pioneered
the latest in cruise ship technology. Moreover, the cruise
ship industry, while rebounding after Sept. 11, is still
looking more to fill existing vessels than to buy new ones.

"You can't even float the hull out at this point," said
Joseph Hovorka, a maritime analyst with Raymond James. "I
don't know what anyone would do with it at this point. You
wouldn't see a major ship company like Carnival or Royal
Caribbean coming in to buy it. There's not a roster of
companies out there wanting to build a cruise ship,
certainly to take on a project of this size."

Even before Sept. 11, Project America had run into trouble.
It had fallen behind schedule and was far over budget. As a
result, Northrop Grumman, which owns the shipyard, took a
$60 million write-off from it and American Classic lost
$100 million. The yard itself will continue to make and
repair Navy vessels.

"The project was behind schedule and millions in the hole,"
said John Graykowski, former administrator of the
government's shipbuilding program. "The terrorists' attack
masked this reality and perhaps allowed the emperor to
maintain his modesty. "

Still, the impact of Sept. 11 was stunning. David Heller, a
lawyer for American Classic, said, "You cannot imagine the
body blow that 9/11 brought to the whole viability of the

For the moment, Northrop Grumman has assigned 350 workers
to make the ship floatable while the government looks for a

At its worst, the Project America hull could be chopped up
for scrap. But, with the keel laid, much interior work
done, and a large part already built, many feel it would be
a shame to reduce it to rubble.

For that reason, Mr. Taylor, the Mississippi congressman,
remains optimistic. "It would be a mistake to drag it down
to Mexico and scrap it," he said. "That would be the worst
of all worlds. I do think that, with time, someone will see
its value and will make a cruise ship out of it."


05 June 2002

As an industry that leaves our loved ones at home often and for long periods of time, you might consider this from National Review Online. The link is: http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/2002_06_02_corner-archive.asp#85144824
NOT SO SAFE [Dave Kopel]
Mary Carpenter is the grandmother of two children who were murdered by an insane man with a pitchfork in Merced, California. In a letter to a state legislature considering a trigger-lock mandate, Mrs. Carpenter blames California's trigger-lock law for her grandchildren's death. The killer attacked while the eldest child in the family, a 14-year-old girl, was babysitting the younger three. Because the family's guns were locked in a safe, in accordance with California law, the teenager, who was trained with firearms and a very good shot, was unable to retrieve a gun to protect her siblings. As new research by John Lott details, so-called "safe storage" laws do in fact increase feelings of safety -- for violent criminals; such laws lead to more murder, rape, robbery, and assault.
Posted 11:54 AM | [Link]

08 May 2002

At the recent Mariner Recruitment & Retention (MRR) conference, there was concern about personal liability created by 'signing off' a training record for STCW purposes.

So, here's the question: What is your understanding of this issue, i.e., what is the legal liability or potential liability for an officer who signs off a mariner later involved in an accident?

I'm collecting responses: rgmcf@yahoo.com

26 April 2002

Courtesy of Slate e-magazine:
How Bob Woodward made Norman Mineta a false hero.
by Joshua Green
Posted Monday, April 1, 2002, at 4:02 PM PT

Among the public officials who gained folk-hero status on Sept. 11, only Rudolph Giuliani outshines Norman Mineta, who is credited with making the snap decision to ground all airborne planes shortly after the Pentagon attack. The transportation secretary was canonized in the opening paragraphs of Bob Woodward and Dan Balz's six-part Washington Post epic, "10 Days in September":

Mineta shouted into the phone to Monte Belger at the FAA: "Monte, bring all the planes down." It was an unprecedented order—there were 4,546 airplanes in the air at the time. Belger, the FAA's acting deputy administrator, amended Mineta's directive to take into account the authority vested in airline pilots. "We're bringing them down per pilot discretion," Belger told the secretary. "[Expletive] pilot discretion," Mineta yelled back. "Get those goddamn planes down."

Mineta's courageous performance has been widely praised, not least by Mineta himself in a Sept. 20 appearance before Congress, and again on 60 Minutes II a month later. Here's his congressional testimony:

I immediately called the FAA, told them to bring all the airplanes down right now. All that we have learned since that fateful morning leaves me convinced that this unusual command or order was the right thing to do.

For Mineta, the genuflection this tale has engendered has been a welcome distraction from less mythic performances, such as his department's problems getting the new airport security agency off the ground. Long considered a competent if unremarkable backbencher, Mineta has refashioned himself as a quick-thinking decision-maker with flawless instincts in an emergency.

He may be that, but he isn't the hero Woodward and Balz make him out to be. According to insiders, that honor belongs to Monte Belger, at the time the No. 2 official at the FAA. A precise, diligent career bureaucrat known among colleagues as "the Forrest Gump of the FAA," Belger was on a phone bridge with controllers at the David J. Hurley Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Herndon, Va., and ordered flights grounded 15 minutes before Mineta was even notified of the attacks. So, when the secretary issued his blunt order—"Monte, bring all the planes down!"—Monte had already done so.

FAA officials and beat reporters have known this for months. "Any clued-in transportation reporter knows what went on that day," says one. But Mineta apparently does not. After he gave his congressional testimony, FAA officials, including Belger, who is a consummate team player, kept quiet in deference to their boss. Though beat reporters knew the truth as long ago as November, none came forward for fear of being frozen out.

Until last Tuesday, when, at the end of a speech before the Aero Club of Washington, D.C., the Washington Post's veteran transportation reporter Don Phillips let the cat out of the bag. Phillips told his audience he felt it necessary to make a "historical correction," although FAA officials had begged him to maintain the fiction. Phillips proposed, charitably, that Mineta's order was a simple misunderstanding; that the secretary was unaware that "[f]or at least 15 minutes before Mineta's conversation with the FAA, controllers were bringing the planes down ... at the nearest airport." Phillips continued:

I'm told by very high sources that it happened this way: First, the decision was made on a regional basis by some gutsy local FAA officials, and the FAA command center and headquarters officials agreed that it should be spread to the whole country. First, [the FAA] acted. Then they sought permission. A top FAA official ... then called Mineta, finding him in a bunker with the vice president and other officials. He explained the plan, and Mineta agreed. ...

Then there was a pause in the conversation. You know what many of us do when there is a pause in the conversation. We try to fill the dead time. The FAA official, unfortunately said something like, "Of course we could have let them go on to their destinations, or ..." Big mistake. Norm heard that throwaway line as saying the FAA was still considering letting them go on to destination. He then fired off his now-famous order.

All this raises the question of why, if every reporter on the transportation beat knew the truth about Mineta's command, Woodward and Balz got it wrong. It's plausible that Mineta really didn't know the truth about Sept. 11—that due to his deputies' protectiveness, the secretary has been unwittingly repeating an erroneous version of events.

But that doesn't excuse Woodward and Balz. Unlike so many other juicy Woodward anecdotes, this one was easily verifiable, particularly since their Post colleague, Phillips, had ferreted out the truth. "I have no reason to doubt that the more complicated version that [Phillips] explains is probably the accurate one," Balz says.

Woodward isn't nearly as ready to concede. "This is the first I've heard of it," he told me, adding that he checked his version of the story with Mineta's staff. "If I'd known of that information—and it was correct—I probably would have included [the anecdote]. But no correction is necessary. What we wrote is not inaccurate." Not inaccurate, perhaps—but not exactly accurate either.

24 April 2002

The "Environmentalists" are at least as dumb now as they were in 1970:

Cavalier Daily (University of Virginia)
Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Disputing claims of impending doom

By Anthony Dick
Cavalier Daily Associate Editor

THIRTY-TWO years and two days ago, the first Earth Day kicked off amid gloomy outlooks on the future of the planet. In the April 1970 issue of "Mademoiselle," prominent Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich fueled environmental angst with the prophecy that "Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100 to 200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years." The same year, Ehrlich made the even bolder claim that, between 1980 and 1989, 4 billion people - including 65 million Americans - would die worldwide due to rampant overpopulation, environmental pollution and starvation. That same year, "Life" magazine reported, "in a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution" (http://reason.com/0005/fe.rb.earth.shtml).

With other environmental scientists agreeing with Ehrlich, public passions ran high and people braced for the cataclysm that the experts told them inevitably was coming. But it never did.

Today, many fervent environmentalists predict the year 2030 to be as bleak for humanity as Ehrlich thought 2000 would be. While there still are numerous legitimate environmental concerns and challenges that the world must meet resolutely, the Earth's future isn't the foregone conclusion of silent springs, barren landscapes and famine that green-clad prophets of doom would like us to think.

The staggeringly false predictions of Ehrlich and other environmentalists of the 1970s teach us two important deterministic assumptions that we must avoid if we are to think clearly about our planet's future. The first assumption was based on Thomas Malthus' postulate that as population sizes rise exponentially, food production and supply only will increase arithmetically. The second assumption is built on the unpleasant imagery of billowing smokestacks and smog-spewing automobiles that many shared in the 1970s. It stated that as technology and industrialization increased, pollution of both air and water also would inevitably rise to critical levels.

Yet the world population has almost doubled since 1970, from 3.5 billion to just over 6 billion, and the world has become undeniably more saturated by both technology and industry. Contrary to Ehrlich's prophecy of doom, though, the amount of food that exists per person today is more than 25 percent larger than it was in 1970. Between 1960 and 1987, food production increased nearly 60 percent, without any significant increase in land area devoted to this production (http://reason.com/0005/fe.rb.earth.shtml). According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency's National Air Trends Report of 2000, located on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/oar/aqtrnd00, U.S. Gross Domestic Product increased 158 percent, energy consumption increased 45 percent and vehicle miles traveled have increased 143 percent since 1970.

At the same time, emissions of the six principal pollutants have been reduced 29 percent in the United States. Reason Magazine Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey points out that in 2000, levels of carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide in the air had been reduced by over 75 percent, while airborne dust and smoke had been similarly reduced by over half of what they were halfway through 20th century (http://reason.com/0005/fe.rb.earth.shtml).

So the prophets of doom were wrong - and they still are. The inherent nature of human civilization does not make it incompatible with the planet that sustains it. The human race is not the parasitic entity that it thought itself to be when it forged Earth Day out of its own self-disgust. As our technology and affluence grow, so does the positive prognosis for our planet.

Advances in human civilization account for the failure of both population explosion and pollutant technology to spark the popular environmentalists' much-anticipated post-1970s cataclysm. The genetic engineering of grains and improved agricultural methods enabled by a world of growing wealth have allowed the world's food supply to far exceed expectations and outpace population growth. As the nations of the world have become more industrialized, they have become more educated and aware of their natural environment. This increase in knowledge, coupled with awareness, has allowed for the development of cleaner, more efficient technologies that have led to the substantial reduction in both air and water pollution that we see today relative to the 1970s.

The environmental problems that face the Earth today are serious, but they are not the terminal cancer that many hype them to be. We still must work to use the intelligence and environmental awareness that our civilization allows us. Achieving even cleaner energy technologies, greater resource conservation and more efficient waste management are formidable challenges that face us in the next century. But they are challenges that we can meet, and that we will meet. Overzealous environmentalists do not give human ingenuity its due - armed with the fruits of a growing civilization, our future never has looked brighter.

(Anthony Dick is a Cavalier Daily associate editor. He can be reached at adick@cavalierdaily.com.)

22 April 2002

The Transportation Command's latest over the shore exercise --
[from TRANSCOM Newsletter]

MARAD key participant in JLOTS exercise

Transportation Command, along with
numerous agencies, participated in a Joint Logistics
Over the Shore (JLOTS)
exercise as part of exercise Native Atlas here this

More than 2500 military and civilian personnel,
representing all U.S. forces
and the U.S. Maritime Administration, were part of the
exercise that
highlighted the ability of the U.S. to project power
from the sea and
sustain forces on the ground. U.S. Central Command
sponsored the exercise.

Executing a JLOTS operation is necessary when port
facilities are
non-existent, denied or inadequate for military

In a JLOTS operation, equipment is moved from cargo
ships anchored offshore
to the shore using a variety of U.S. Navy and Army
lighterage. Some
equipment is taken to a 1261-foot, semi-permanent pier
(known as an elevated
causeway) that is constructed by Navy units. Rolling
stock was moved
directly to the beach.

During the JLOTS, 1258 pieces of equipment were moved
from the Military
Sealift Command ship USNS Seay.

USNS Seay, a large, medium-speed roll-on/roll-off (or
LMSR) ship is a
noncombatant ship operated by a private company under
contract to MSC. It
has 387,600 square feet of cargo carrying capacity.

MSC is the Navy component to USTRANSCOM and is
headquartered in Washington,

Also as part of the exercise, joint forces exercised
strategic offloads of
container systems and pumping of simulated fuel (fresh
water) from ship to
shore using the Navy's offshore petroleum discharge
system. The simulated
fuel was then moved to storage and distribution
systems using the Army's
inland petroleum distribution system.

Other MSC ships in the exercise included the tanker SS
Mount Washington;
crane ship SS Keystone State; and sea barge heavy lift
ship SS Cape Mohican
(all of which were activated from the U.S. Maritime's
Ready Reserve Force)
and MV Maersk Arizona a contracted container ship.

USTRANSCOM's air component, Air Mobility Command,
headquartered at Scott Air
Force Base, Ill., also participated in the exercise by
commercial airlift for more than 1500 military

The exercise was directed under the operational
command of the 143d
TRANSCOM, a U.S. Army Reserve unit based in Orlando,
Fla. commanded by Brig.
Gen. William S. Crupe.

19 April 2002

The retromingent meatheads of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) demonstrate, again, the irrelevancy of pedanticism:

My prediction: faced with the futility of their efforts -- IMO are at best marginally competent -- they'll pat themselves on the back by counting the number of drunken OS' they catch stumbling up the brow. A noble effort by honorable men, I have no doubt.
Salute to U.S. sailors
Lifesize bronze statue now standing guard at Golden Gate Bridge
Jim Doyle, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, April 15, 2002
©2002 San Francisco Chronicle
URL: San Francisco -- Larger than life, the tall, bronze, lone sailor gazes intently across San Francisco Bay from the northern end of the Golden Gate Bridge, and his steely eyes betray a heartfelt look of longing for a city he may never see again.
"Here the sailor feels the first long roll of the sea, the beginning of the endless horizon that leads to the far Pacific," reads a plaque at the entrance to San Francisco's new Lone Sailor Memorial.
Because of its strategic location beside the bridge, the monument is expected to quickly become one of the most visited tourist attractions in California. It is dedicated to the men and women in the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and the Merchant Marine who have sailed through the Golden Gate in service to their nation -- and to the many who never returned.
Amid patriotic speeches, righteous celebration and the bright sounds of a Navy brass band, San Francisco's proud memorial was dedicated yesterday under crystal blue skies and a crisp breeze at Vista Point overlooking the fabled gateway to the Pacific.
"This has truly been a labor of love," Anthony Principi, the secretary of Veterans Affairs, told hundreds of VIPs, active duty sailors, bureaucrats and military veterans, including a contingent of Navy Waves. He congratulated all the federal and state agencies and volunteers who worked on the memorial project.
"We are a nation founded by seafarers, and there has not been a time in our history when we did not need the courage and skills of those who would go down to the sea in ships," said Principi, a combat-decorated Vietnam veteran who commanded a river patrol unit on the Mekong Delta.
During World War II alone, more than 1.5 million men and women shipped out through the Golden Gate.
"The world has changed dramatically over the years and even more drastically since last September," said Vice Adm. Ray Riutta, commander of the Pacific area for the U.S. Coast Guard. "It can be a confusing and frightening time, but ultimately challenging for our sailors."
"The Lone Sailor is the embodiment of honor, respect and devotion to duty," he said. "These values have been the basis of our maritime strength throughout our history, and they have contributed so much to America's security and prosperity. . . . In short, the Lone Sailor represents every sailor serving his or her country today and will continue to do so as our nation continues to require them to go in harm's way."
Riutta spoke of how "the history of the sea services has been deeply interwoven with the history of San Bay," one of the world's great harbors.
It was also a day of nostalgia for the years -- before military defense cutbacks and base decommissioning -- when San Francisco Bay teemed with Navy vessels, and the Bay Area was home to numerous active military bases, including Treasure Island, the Alameda Naval Air Station, the Presidio and shipyards at Hunters Point and Mare Island.
Sculptor Stanley Bleifeld was commissioned to reproduce the same image of a bronze sailor he created for the U.S. Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. He crafted a living image that stands about 7 feet tall, his hands tucked into the pockets of his pea coat and his collar upturned, standing next to his bronze duffel bag and a dock cleat.
The memorial has many elements.
San Francisco landscape architect Fred Warnecke designed a circular deck whose perimeter is marked by Sonoma fieldstone and four large ship's lanterns. Below the lone sailor's feet is a compass rose, its quadrants marked in different shades of granite cut by computer-guided diamond saws at an Italian quarry.
A plaque bears the words of veteran Chronicle reporter Carl Nolte: "This is one last chance to look back at the city of San Francisco, shining on its hills, one last chance to look back at the coastline of the United States, one last chance to look back at home."
The four sea services are recognized with separate bronze relief sculptures,
each containing a vivid image that seems torn from the pages of history: A plane taking off from a Naval aircraft carrier. A Coast Guard cutter and helicopter rescuing a sailboat at sea. Merchant Marine cargo and liberty ships under attack in World War II. Marines landing on a beach.
The memorial will be softly illuminated at night and visible to all who cross the bridge.
"I think it's going to be one of the great memorials of the United States," said retired Navy Capt. Jackson Schultz, who co-chaired the committee that raised money for the project and shepherded it through bureaucratic approvals. "The site is visited by 2.5 million tourists a year as well as millions of people who come across the bridge."
Memorial Committee Chairman Henry Trione, a Santa Rosa banker and vintner, is credited with coming up with the idea. "It took more than 4 1/2 years to put it together," he said. "There were crises, but there was superb cooperation from Caltrans and the National Park Service."
Yesterday, the memorial was an instant hit. Soon after it was opened to the public, scores of tourists streamed onto the monument's plaza. They pored over the words at the entrance. Others used the elevated deck to gain better views of the bridge. Children posed with the lone sailor and climbed atop his duffel bag.
Duc Long of Ottawa, Ontario, took snapshots of his mother and two children next to the statue.
The new memorial is "welcoming, but I don't know much about the history," said Matthew Saiz, who was visiting the bridge from San Luis Obispo.
The $2 million memorial was financed completely with with private donations,
led by contributions from Silicon Valley businessman Chong-Moon Lee and Trione.
"I wish I could do more than this," said Lee, who grew up in South Korea and served in the Korean War with the the U.S. Military Intelligence Corps. "This country gave me education. It taught me how to be a businessman, to be honest and to be part of the community."
Contributions also poured in from across the country. One veteran sent in a $5 bill accompanied by the message, "Don't waste this."
E-mail Jim Doyle at jdoyle@sfchronicle.com .

17 April 2002

Lord, what fools these mortals be....
The good old days when an overly inquisitive attitude would get, "yer hinquisitive nose broken for yer", seem to be gone. But sailors still tend to respond, "None of your [modifier] business." when faced with a bureaucratic busybody.
So, since there're no privacy issues with using SSNs as a national ID number, we can safely assume the bureaucrats, uniformed and not, will be asked, "Your papers pleece." ask often as, say a US congresscritter. Right?

16 April 2002

A message from Dr. Jerry Pournelle (www.jerrypournelle.com):
"Monday April 15, 2002
Congratulations. You get to pay, but you are not yet working for yourself. Everything you have earned from the beginning of the year and on another month belongs to the government. Have a nice day."

15 April 2002

From the Marine-L mailing list come the FIRST indication that all is not right with the Basilisk called STCW 95!

"On Monday 08 April 2002 05:51 am, LEMSCHOUT wrote:

Hello Pierre,

> but within a few weeks the problem is fixed, at least before some
> of us realize that they develop a new ganglion or a real cancer.

the danger may reduce as all efforts underway to prohibit these chicken
concentration camps, but not because of your health, the concern here more
with the chicken :-)

> which I doubt as I suspect that many Western training institutes are
> drastically lowering their standard in order to be 'competitive'.

Looking at both options, resume high quality training, it is not going to be
much of a future prospect for the young generation to work at salary levels
for cheaply trained staff. Doing cheap training, they are not going to have
the options taking up a position ashore. Isn't going to take much time and
shore companies will have figured out the real value of STCW95. Those
students got 40 years of work ahead of them. It is not going to be attractive
having no options. Some schools will try to survive by endless STCW95 short
term courses, but as the volume of students to decrease, you will see them
doing what most of them did already, to close down.

> respect the legal working hours and rest period, refusing eventually
> to carry out extra paperwork (not yet included in the nice forms prepared
> for the purpose to check working time).

You read the news, 16% of accidents caused by fatigue. Also a nice article
about Technology :-) Of course the PSC does control that the resthours had
been maintained by checking those duly prepared forms. If they really would
check and compare with the logbooks, alarm logs, I wouldn't be too surprised
when finding vessels where based on these sheets nobody on the bridge while
manoeuvring on the river or oil transfer operations without any engineer :-)

> Keeping in mind his watchkeeping duties, as the IMO want, he could even be
> slow to pick up the GMDSS phone when he is on duty in dense traffic as Mike
> has just suggested!

While you had double the crew, if someone failed was someone to take over. 4
eyes did saw more than 2. You had 2 persons on duty, they less likely to fall
asleep than having only 1. Automation and electronic is good in way of
additional security if something has been overlooked, also faster, but should
not substitute the man and his qualification. Any chief may tell you, if
something weird on the screen, check the sensor first.

The truth behind STCW95 the shortage of officers. These figures had been well
known and was no secret at all that it would get short. While making less
qualification acceptable you increased the pool of available officers.
Instead of doing the more reasonable thing, making the job more attractive
they all supported this white wash operation. A lot of countries should not
have entered the white list, but miraculously they did. To make things worse,
crewing agents had filters as known things not to be in the best state. Those
filters might have had some large holes to meet the demand. Now anything can
pass and nobody can blame them, all internationally accepted by STCW95.

STCW95 isn't going to reduce problems, even the ISM Code not going to be of
much help when the experience is missing. In last years they had been
promoting like hell just to fill the gap. Licenses had been upgraded already
for some time, increasing size of vessel and horsepower. STCW95 was just
another step into the same direction. They wanted it that way. Remember the
old times where a mate had to become something like 60 prior being promoted
to master? But that was when the job was still somehow attractive and you
still had a lot of young people joining the profession.

If the job more attractive, might have had enough staff, companies for sure
would select the best and absolute no need here for any STCW95 and it's white
wash operations. But same like with the eggs, better eggs do cost more. As
long as the customer isn't prepared to invest more, they for sure not going
to expect quality eggs for the price of cheap ones. Eventually they may, as
top licenses had been downgraded to STCW95. But not for a long time,
because nobody to continue producing quality eggs to sell them at the price
of cheap ones.

> this week-end it was more than true with the first suicide of a SABENA pilot
> who was still out of job several month after the bankruptcy of the company.

So far all terrorists entered the US by air. The US is however more concerned
that terrorists may take the risk of a STCW95 passage. Arabs hate the sea.
In a lot of drug cases I do suspect already involvement of the crew to
improve their salary. I am only wondering if it might not happen that one day
a suicidal master to blow up his gas tanker in response to STCW95 and
excessive administration, cheap crew. Totally weird?



29 March 2002

Senator Kerry of Massachusetts, aided & abetted by Senator Snowe of Maine welcomes the Commandant of the Coast Guard (Select) and emotes at some length. Unfortunately, from a maritime point of view, he says thing that everyone in the room knew before they were 20 years old. Here's the link: http://commerce.senate.gov/hearings/032002Kerrynom.pdf

26 March 2002

Comes today a call from an active U.S. mariner -- an endangered species if ever there was one -- listing the large and growing booklet which he, and apparently all mariners, must carry when they go to sea.

Truth in blogging: I asked for this phone call. A couple of weeks ago, there was a puff piece on the glorious things that ISO has done for the merchant marine. I forwarded the article to various sailing mariners and got an email back saying, "You're marking me sick to my stomach."

Further truth: it wasn't a puff-piece; the author stopped (I hope he stopped) just this side of donning a gap-blue dress & knee pads.

Anyone wish to comment on the added safety or business efficiency resulting from all this good stuff?

25 March 2002

And some drivil from a Journalist -- someone who, by definition, is not entitled to have an opinion:
CNN.com - Ships to lose their femininity - March 20, 2002
My first post -- SECDOT shows that lawyers & bureaucrats use statistics like a drunk uses a lamp post: not for illumination; for support.