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Marine Log

March 2, 2008

Commandant demands USCG treat mariners with "professionalism and respect"

The Coast Guard has issued two ALCOAST (All Coast Guard) announcements that underscore just how seriously it is about restoring confidence in its ability to perform its maritime safety role.

The first, ALCOAST 108/08, sets out Commandant Thad Allen's expectations for interaction with the maritime industry.

"USCG activities involving U.S. and foreign professional mariners and maritime organizations will be conducted with utmost professionalism and respect," his message begins. "Licensed and documented mariners are professionals who share our interests in a safe, secure, and environmentally compliant industry."

The second, ALCOAST 109/08, announces immediate steps, directed by the Commandant, that are being taken in FY 08 to inject critical civilian marine safety expertise to the Sectors.

The Coast Guard has been making a major effort to get the maritime safety mission back on track since a House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Navigation hearing last July that examined "Challenges Facing the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Program."

The hearing brought into the open a widespread industry concern that the Coast Guard's growing security responsibilities post 9/11 had caused a loss of focus on its maritime safety mission and a deterioration of its relationship with the maritime industry.

Late in the summer of 2007, Admiral Allen asked Vice Admiral James Card, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired) to candidly and independently assess and report on the experiences, perceptions, concerns and recommendations of the commercial maritime industry and stakeholders on the Coast Guard's performance of the Maritime Safety Mission.

Admiral Allen has welcomed the report and has directed it be posted publicly (You can access it here) "to ensure an informed and transparent process as the Coast Guard continues to consider and respond to concerns regarding its execution of the Maritime Safety Mission."

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