DANIA BEACH, Fla., April 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- This weekend's observance of the 101 st anniversary of the Titanic cruise liner disaster comes in the wake of a rising tide of deadly and serious marine mishaps, which the American Maritime Officers' organization says underscores the increasing need for navigational, emergency response and safety training on all commercial vessels – training that U.S. officers already have.
AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINERS MOST EXPERIENCED
"None of the recent, highly-publicized cargo and passenger ship collisions, oil-rig accidents, cruise line fires and serious mechanical malfunctions involved American-flagged ships or AMO-member U.S. mariners, who are trained to the world's highest standards," says Tom Bethel, President of American Maritime Officers, the largest organization of U.S. licensed seagoing professionals.
"Although U.S. merchant marine officers are amongst the best-trained, most experienced seafaring professionals in the world, all of whom are documented, licensed and vetted by the United States Coast Guard, they are being edged-out of some commands by officers from foreign nations because U.S. officers expect what every American expects – solid pension plans and other benefits."He adds, "Officers from foreign nations and crew members from undeveloped countries, not licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard but by governments abroad, are willing to accept less, so they are getting the jobs." CRUISE SHIPS: AMERICAN PASSENGERS BUT NO AMERICAN OFFICERS OR CREW MEMBERS Whilst most of the best-known luxury cruise lines are owned by publicly traded American companies, the ships are built overseas, fly foreign nation flags, and are under the command of officers from other countries. Bethel emphasizes, "The majority of cruise line passengers are Americans who express they would feel more comfortable and safer if there was a presence of American officers in command and on deck." "The best-known cruise ship lines provide advanced training for their officers and crew members," says Bethel. "Furthermore, their vessels are equipped with state-of-the-art navigational and safety equipment."