"Entering our third century of continuous operation, the mission remains unchanged: to maintain and develop skill in seamanship, to effect a change in maritime law towards the development of the American Merchant Marine, to assist the seamen of other countries towards the establishment of the Brotherhood of the Sea."

Ship American Part of Biden Infrastructure Plan

The Biden Administration embarked on a legislative voyage of historic proportions in the American Jobs Plan. Although it contains the roads, bridges and other traditional infrastructure components, this Plan has echoes of FDR's New Deal in its broad and potentially transformative scope. Maritime is part of it, both in terms of $17 billion of funding for ports and other marine projects, but also in the "Ship American" ideas of the Jones Act, cargo preference, and thus U.S.-flag crews on U.S.-flag ships.

Latest News


American Rescue Plan -- When Congress passed the American Rescue Plan there were many new and exisitng benefits that became available or were expanded. There is a quick summary on the benefits and how to access them on the SUP Welfare Plan page of this site at SUP Welfare Plan or here's the same file in pdf. ARP One Page Description.

Vaccine Updates:

CDC ISSUES POST-VACCINATION GUIDANCE: The good news is that the vaccines are very effective against the virus, especially against severe illness and death. Keeping in mind the definition of fully vaccinated (two weeks from second dose), the CDC has issued post-vaccination guidance for the fully vaccinated at  When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated | CDC. For a deeper discussion of the science and background of the CDC guidance see the Science Brief: Background Rationale and Evidence for Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. There is still considerable risk and uncertainty, however, especially as it concerns the variants of the coronavirus. Early evidence shows that the vaccine is effective against some but not other variants. It is clear that other prevention steps help stop the spread of COVID-19, and that these steps are still important, even as vaccines are being distributed. The vaccines also appear to slow the spread of the disease, but there is much more study necessary on that. It is not yet definitively known how long COVID-19 vaccine protection lasts. 

CALIFORNIA VACCINES AGE LIMIT ELIGIBILITY CHANGING: The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, announced on March 26 that it will have vaccines available for everyone over age 16 on April 15. All Californians over age 50 will have access on April 1, 2021.  The state also loosened guidelines to permit health care providers in lower income areas to off a vaccine to anyone they think should get one as they attempt to accelerat the inoculation of communities disproportionately impacted. The new timeline is welcome news to workers in California which lags behind other states in getting the shots to essential workers. 

CHECK OUT THE SUP VACCINE PAGE: Members are advised to register for the vaccine at their state or county vaccination websites, their health care providers, and pharmacy chains and to continuously check eligibility and availability. Go to the SUP Vaccine Page for general information and state by state updates on COVID-19 Vaccines 

Watson Update: WATSON Contract Award Under Protest. Industry sources indicate that the recent award to Patriot Contract Services for the operation and maintenance of the WATSON-class pre-positioned Large Medium Speed Roll on/Roll off ships competitive bid by the Military Sealift Command is being protested. Patriot, based in Concord California, is the incumbent bidder on the contract for the eight government-owned ships. The vessels include U.S. Naval Ship (USNS) Watson (T-AKR 310); USNS Sisler (T-AKR 311); USNS Dahl (T-AKR 312); USNS Red Cloud (T-AKR 313); USNS Charlton (T-AKR 314); USNS Watkins (T-AKR 315); USNS Pomeroy (T-AKR 316); and USNS Soderman (T-AKR 317). Work will be performed worldwide, with an expected completion date of March 31, 2026. The contract was competitively procured via the Military Sealift Command, based in Norfolk, Virginia. The timeline around the award and protest resolution is uncertain. 

Jones Act: BUY AMERICA INCLUDES THE JONES ACT: President Joe Biden expressed strong support for the Jones Act in one of his first actions as president. Coming after campaign promises that labor worked hard to secure, it was unequivocally pro-Jones Act and a bracing endorsement of the U.S. merchant marine. It will not only demand that the U.S. government adhere to the Jones Act, it will create a watchdog office to enforce the policy. The full text of the White House statement is here at the "Buy America" Excecutive Order. Perhaps the most emphatic statement for U.S. cabotage since the signing of the law over 100 years ago, there's more on the Jones Act page in the Political section. 

PRO Act: LABOR REFORM ON THE TABLE: Congress introduced the Protect the Right to Organize Act, a sweeping set of labor reforms that will make life better for workers in hundreds of ways. Among the most important, it will make it easier to join a Union. President Biden came out strongly in favor. He said "Unions put power in the hands of workers, and lift up the middle class." See the video he made on the topic here.