by Bob Vinik –
Not long after the rebellion from England that our country was founded on we started constructing our own ships. Whalers that roamed the seas came first. Not long after that our shipyards began copying the European sailing ships. We were not satisfied to compete on an even keel, so to speak. Our shipyards developed the Clipper ship design. The rest is history. Before long American Clippers flying the Stars and Stripes high and proud were seen in most of the ports on this globe. Our fleet roamed the seas and did business in almost every country.
When a threat was encountered we sent in the Marines. Their battle song recalls , “. . .From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Triply. . .” The Triply pirates were dispatched forthwith. No one was allowed to push us around. We would not permit it.
Now United States flags are no longer seen in the ports of the world. Most of the world commerce is carried on “Flag of Convince” ships.
How could the most powerful nation in the world’s shipping be conquered?
No country was able to compete with our commercial fleet. Even during WW 2 our fleet lost many merchant ships but kept going. America’s merchant fleet was instrumental in our victory. The American merchant fleet’s demise came from the enemy within. We did it to ourselves.
They came in a Trojan boat called the Coast Guard.
Their expressed agenda was we will make American shipping safer. Instead they made it much more unsafe. The Coast Guard excessive regulation made it so expensive to maintain a American fleet of international blue water ships that all the American carriers resorted to foreign flag registry. Many of the foreign flag ships that call at our ports are less safe now than the American ships they replaced. Rust buckets with rag tag crews. Except for the several ships trading from American ports to other American ports. California to Alaska and the American Islands, etc.
Now that Coast Guard has few American ships left to inspect and regulate out of business, they are attacking the brown water fleet with the notion that they can’t be replaced with foreign flag vessels. Wrong again.
More freight is now moving by rail and trucks that traditionally was on board barges and coastal freighters. Soon all they will have to do is repair their buoys and inspect the ferry boats.