Sea History 025 - Autumn 1982

Page 16

Oh, say, can you see any U.S. flag ships? As AMERICAN SEAMEN, we join in solidarity with all working men and women on this Labor Day 1982. It is a day for parades and picnics and proud words. But there are no proud words for this country's decades-long neglect of our ports and harbors and the U.S. merchant marine. An American-flag ship manned by American seamen is scarce to be seen these days. Why? Because successive U.S. Administrations have allowed and even encouraged major American oil companies and mineral extraction industries to flee the American flag and operate their ships under the shabby legalism of "flags of convenience." This "runaway flag'' fleet now numbers 481 cheap labor, tax-dodging ships. Their combined tonnage dwarfs the legitimate U.S. flag merchant marine. Unfortunately, the American citizen on Main Street is not informed that this policy leaves us almost solely at the mercy of fore ign-flag ships to carry the strategic materials without which our factories and armed forces cannot survive in a world hovering at the flashpoint of war. And all the while, our ships and shipyards lie idle and American workers go jobless. NMU invites all Americans to join with us in the fight to reverse these policies and to keep the seafaring tradition, the skills and way of life that are so basic a part of this nation's history flourishing under our own American flag.