Maritime training-for domestic waterway and oceangoing operations-isavailable through many public and private entities. These entities include theU.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA), state maritime academies,community colleges, union-affiliated schools, and about 230 private sectorschools. Private companies also provide training to their mariner employees,including training to operate the vessels in their domestic and oceangoing fleets.
A broad array of federal and non- federal financial assistance programs are available to help pay for maritime training. MARAD provides financial aid to academy students, GI Bill assistance is available to veterans and the Department of Education provides loands and grants to cllege students. Maritime unions also provide assistance to their employees. Several industry stakeholders GAO interviewed stated that some prospective and current mariners could lack access to financial assistance. However, MARAD’s responsibility towards paying for training mainly extends to students at the USMMA and at the state maritime academies who receive student incentive- payment- program funds.
MARAD primarily supports the oceangoing maritime industry and its trainingneeds. MARAD directly supports the oceangoing industry through subsidies forships available for defense purposes and provides funding to the federal andstate maritime academies. MARAD officials stated that they have not focused asmuch on the domestic commercial sector because they consider efforts tosupport military sealift requirements a higher priority for available budgetaryresources. MARAD officials stated that they intend to conduct analyses of thedomestic commercial maritime industry; however, the officials have not yetdevoted the staff resources necessary to complete this effort and did notestablish a time frame for completing this effort
The Coast Guard and MaritimeTransportation Act of 2012 mandatedthat GAO review mariner training.
(1) the availability ofmaritime training,
(2) the availability offinancial assistance for maritimetraining, and
(3) MARAD’s actions toensure mariners meet commerce anddefense needs and industrystakeholder views on those actions.
GAO analyzed documents andinterviewed officials from MARAD, theCoast Guard, the Department ofDefense, maritime-training providers,unions, and companies.
Read GAO report –Maritime Administration Should Assess Potential Mariner- Training Needs
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