FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 7, 2009

IN THE WAKE OF A STRING OF DANGEROUS PIRATE ATTACKS ON AMERICAN VESSELS, SCHUMER ANNOUNCES $74 MILLION INCLUDED IN OBAMA BUDGET FOR MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY IN KINGS POINT


U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Is Major Part of Nation's Commerce, Helping to Guarantee Access to Foreign Markets for Sale of Manufactured Goods

In Times of War, U.S. Merchant Marine Becomes 'Fourth Arm of Defense,' Delivering Military Supplies Overseas to Troops

Schumer: Funding is a Real Shot in the Arm for Merchant Marines, Who Are at the Vanguard of the Effort to Thwar

Today, United States Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the United States Merchant Marine Academy has received $74 million in President Obama’s budget. The funding comes in the wake of a series of dangerous pirate attacks against American and foreign vessels.  The academy, located in Kings Point, is made up of vessels owned by U.S. companies, registered and operated under the American flag. This fleet of highly productive ships is a major part of America’s system of commerce, helping guarantee our access to foreign markets for sale of our manufactured goods. In times of war or national emergency, the U.S. merchant marine becomes vital to national security as a fourth arm of defense, when the merchant ships do most of the of delivering military supplies overseas to forces and allies.

 

“This funding is real shot in the arm for merchant marines, who are at the vanguard of the ongoing struggle to bring pirate attacks to an end,” Schumer said. “Not only is the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy an exceptional institution, its role in protecting our nation’s vessels from potential harm is irreplaceable. I am thrilled that this outstanding academy is receiving this funding.”

The purpose of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy is to ensure that such people are available to the nation as shipboard officers and as leaders in the transportation field who will meet the challenges of the present and the future.

 

Around the clock, ships travel the waters in and around The United States. These kinds of vessels, owned by U.S. companies, registered and operated under the American flag, comprise the U.S. merchant marine. This fleet of highly productive ships is a major part of the American system of commerce, helping guarantee our access to foreign markets for sale of our manufactured goods. In times of war or national emergency, the U.S. merchant marine becomes vital to national security as a "fourth arm of defense." Their merchant ships bear the brunt of delivering military supplies overseas to forces and allies.

 

The nation's economic and security needs met by the U.S. merchant marine are undeniable. Today, the United States imports approximately 85 percent of some 77 strategic commodities critical to America's industry and defense. Although the U.S. only accounts for only six percent of the world population, it purchases nearly a third of the world's output of raw materials. Ninety-nine percent of these materials are transported by merchant vessels.

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