The General Accountability Office recommended the transportation secretary, in consultation with the maritime industry, study and identify any potential problems in ensuring that U.S. mariners are adequately trained to meet the needs of the entire maritime industry, including domestic shipping.
In the report, U.S. Merchant Marine: Maritime Administration Should Assess Potential Mariner-Training Needs
, GAO noted in addition to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y., there are many public and private schools providing some sort of training to mariners, such as state maritime academies, community colleges, union-affiliated schools, and about 230 private-sector schools. Private companies also provide instruction to their mariner employees, including training to operate vessels in their domestic and oceangoing fleets.
(MarAd announced last week that the six state maritime academies – California Maritime Academy, Great Lakes Maritime Academy, Maine Maritime Academy, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, SUNY Maritime College, and Texas Maritime Academy, along and the federal U.S. Merchant Marine Academy - would each receive $1 million from a government program that recycles obsolete vessels.)
GAO noted some industry stakeholders that it interviewed "expressed concerns about MarAd's focus on the oceangoing sector, especially as the maritime industry has evolved to predominantly serve domestic waterways."