Q: What actions have been taken with the industry?
A. MARAD and USMMA are in close collaboration with the industry to institute measures to ensure midshipmen can work and train in an environment that is both safe and respectful. We have stood up a Compliance Team to review the plan that the industry presented at the Call-to-Action meeting to address the working environment and climate onboard commercial vessels.
MARAD and USMMA hosted more than 90 representatives of the maritime industry at a Call-to-Action meeting on June 24th to address concerns about the shipboard working and living environment that led to the stand down of USMMA’s Sea Year training program. Held in Washington D.C. at the Department of Transportation, the meeting was convened for the maritime industry to present a proposal that improves the quality of life onboard vessels and provides a working and training environment that is both safe and respectful for the midshipmen. The discussions focused on industry culture, sexual assault and sexual harassment awareness and prevention efforts, industry-wide best practices and reporting protocols and implementable actions, including how to proactively address the issues, training programs involving the companies and mariner unions, assignment of onboard mentors, debriefing of all midshipmen upon completion of their Sea Year training, vessel visits by company operations representatives, and a 24/7 hotline with duress code available to all midshipmen.
MARAD has received submissions from some commercial shipping companies to become Sea Year eligible. Each package includes proposals for training, communications from top management, mentorship, and company policies related to harassment and other inappropriate behaviors. We appreciate the efforts of these companies and we will continue to engage with them as the independent institutional assessment is completed and the requirements to become Sea Year eligible are clarified.