Members of Congress Call for Action on U.S. Maritime Policy

Spurred by the attacks on merchant shipping, a bi-partisan group of lawmakers demanded new focus on long-neglected U.S. maritime policy. Supply-chain security and U.S.-flag ship operations in contested waters and the reserve vessel capacity and workforce readiness were called out for review and support. In Congress, U.S. seagoing Unions testified that American sailors would deliver the goods come what may, as they have done since 1775.

APL Begins U.S.-Flag Fleet Renewal

APL formally announced a U.S.-flag fleet replacement program begining in February. At the same time forces hostile to shipping launched many attacks, mostly in the Red Sea. Container rates rose in response as ships were diverted and delayed. The importance of tonnage critical to the U.S sealift logistics of tanker operation and fuel - and the SUP's role in it - became increasingly clear. SUP activations accelerated as mariner recruitment and retention was again in the news. Steady as she goes and full ahead for 2024!

Merchant Ships Attacked in Red Sea

Unarmed merchant ships were attacked this month in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Ships were shot at and sometimes hit with drones and missiles, and a car carrier was boarded and hijacked. Much of the violence came from Houthi rebels in Yemen and related to the Gaza War, but another ship was seized in the area, apparently by Somali pirates. The attacks have slowed commerce as calls for US and allied naval protection grew louder. At another chokepoint, the Panama Canal reduced transits, just as holiday container volumes turned positive. That and much much more in this holiday issue. 

Maritime Unions Denounce Second Register

The SUP and maritime labor condemned another U.S.-flag second registry scheme as a raid on the Jones Act. A government shutdown was again temporarily deferred, and election results showed the strong influence of Unions on special and off-year election outcomes. This issue looks at the earnings results and outlook in the container trade, notes uplifting results from recently settled strikes, and commends a professional rescue in the dangerous waters of the Golden Gate.  

Biden Speaks to Strikers at UAW Picket Line

President Biden walked the line with Union workers on strike and a debilitating government shutdown was delayed a few weeks. Sen. Diane Feinstein died in office, leaving a tremendous legacy. Dangerous maritime brinkmanship continued in the South China Sea, while political dysfunction in Congress degraded readiness. The outbreak of another war in the Mid-East put national maritime policy back in the spotlight and the SUP in LA crewed up the re-flagged Allied Pacific and it's all there in the West Coast Sailors.   

United Auto Workers Strike Big Three

The UAW launched an historic strike against the Big Three automakers, fighting for middle class pay raises, respecting new workers, and better job security in a time of record profits. Patriot won an important new MSC contract, and relief efforts in Hawaii gained support from members and the local maritime economy. Workers benefited from NLRB legal interpretations, COVID boosters are analyzed and wage raises at APL and Patriot are covered in full.

Email the West Coast Sailors at