APRIL 30, 2013 — The Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A.) is trying to raise awareness of the fact that the cruise industry does employ U.S. Mariners. The union represents the U.S. Merchant Mariners on the only U.S.-flagged and U.S. crewed cruise ship, Norwegian Cruise Lines Pride of America.
M.E.B.A. says that recent media coverage concerning the cruise line industry has "highlighted the lack of qualified ship's officers in this industry. However, the coverage has not addressed the skill and professionalism of the crew of the Pride of America, a U.S- flagged cruise ship. This vessel and its mariners have an outstanding safety and environmental record. In fact, it is the best in the industry; exceeding all the requirements and regulations set in place by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the International Maritime Organization."
The media coverage that M.E.B.A. is referring to came after the appearance by an official of another maritime union on a Fox News segment that purported to be about the Titanic, but was not. (See earlier story).
M.E.B.A. today pointed out that, in addition to those aboard the Pride of America, there are M.E.B.A. members serving aboard other NCL vessels that are registered in the Bahamas. "These mariners also hold USCG licenses and, therefore, are trained and tested to the same high standards as all U.S. deep-sea mariners," says the union. "Throughout the world's oceans, they are considered to be of the highest caliber in terms of education and training."
M.E.B.A. says it welcomes all opportunities to expand current job positions for its U.S. mariners in the cruise industry.
"We have experienced members who are ready and willing to crew these highly sophisticated vessels servicing the cruise industry," it says. "An important element in maintaining this condition of readiness is the training conducted at the Calhoon M.E.B.A. Engineering School (CMES). Since its founding in 1966, CMES has assured that M.E.B.A. Deck and Engineering Officers are prepared with courses unique to the service requirements; including those of the cruise ship industry."