Coast Guard Commandant unveils marine safety performance plan

BALTIMORE – U.S. Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Thad Allen, unveiled the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Performance Plan during a speech to members of Baltimore’s maritime industry today, National Maritime Day, where Elaine L. Chao, the secretary of labor, was also a featured speaker.

The Coast Guard is making its five-year plan available for public comment via its “Homeport” Internet site following today’s event for a period of 60 days and welcomes input from the maritime industry, stakeholders, communities and others interested in the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Program.

This action plan is designed to improve upon the service’s marine safety program with the ultimate goal of a program that will be considerate and responsive to mariners and the maritime community. There are six areas of focus that include adding more than 230 marine inspectors and investigators, creating six “Centers of Expertise” to train marine safety officers and improvements designed to make the Coast Guard’s marine safety program the model of effectiveness and efficiency that other maritime nations will seek to emulate.

Members of the Port of Baltimore community that attended today’s event heard Allen discuss the state of the nation’s maritime transportation system and the value it adds to the economy, how the Coast Guard works with the maritime industry to support the maritime transportation system and details about the Coast Guard Marine Safety Performance Plan. Maritime Transportation System notes of fact include:

* Maritime trade is expected to double by the year 2020 and the current fleet of 10,500 U.S. flagged vessels subject to Coast Guard inspection and certification is expected to expand by two thirds as nearly 7,000 towing or assistance vessels migrate from the un-inspected fleet under requirements for the Marine Transportation Act of 2004.
* More than $958 billion of international commerce — 1.4 billion tons of cargo, including 51 million containers — are carried upon the maritime transportation system. Nearly 90 percent of U.S. war-fighters’ equipment and supplies travel by sea.
* America’s maritime transportation system consists of:
o 25,000 miles of inland, intra-coastal and coastal waterways
o 240 locks and 18,000 bridges
o 355 ports
o 97,000 aids to navigation and 1,000 harbor channels
o 1,941 cargo terminals

“As a maritime nation, we rely upon our maritime transportation system and its professional mariners for the safety, security, and prosperity of all Americans,” said Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. “The Coast Guard provides centuries of marine safety experience and expertise to the maritime community to help ensure our citizens remain safe, our ports are secure and our waters are protected.”

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