ANDREW M. PALLAS
ANDREW M. PALLAS
A group of Pacific Merchant Marine Council charter members is surrounded by
Navy League officials, maritime industry representatives and community affiliate members aboard Jeremiah O’Brien.
The Pacific Merchant Marine Council’s chartering was held aboard the
National Liberty Ship Memorial SS
Jeremiah O’Brienat San Francisco’s
Pier 45. Jeremiah O’Brien was an
apt setting for the event as the
council will embody support for the
U.S.-flag Merchant Marine, the
nation’s maritime industry and maritime trade organizations.
tion system. They are owned by
U.S. companies, and registered and
operated under the American flag.
In time of war or national emergency, the Merchant Marine becomes
a “fourth arm of defense,” bearing the
brunt of delivering military supplies
overseas to U.S. forces and allies.
In his remarks during the Pacific
Merchant Marine Council’s chartering ceremony, Panneton recognized
that one of the most challenging
mission areas for the Navy League
is “increasing public awareness,
understanding and support for our
Merchant Marine force and the
maritime industry in general.
“Our economy, and the defense
of our nation, is dependent upon
ensuring an efficient, safe and
secure domestic and international
marine transportation system.
Every citizen is affected by this
structure, yet the critical importance of addressing the key challenges facing our maritime industry and infrastructure are completely lost on most Americans.
When new Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton spoke
at the Navy League Winter Meeting
in December, he expressed his gratitude to the organization for reinvigorating its education efforts
with regard to the Merchant Marine
and the maritime industry.
“The establishment of this Merchant Marine Council is another
great step in that effort but there is
still a lot of work to be done,”
Panneton said at the chartering.
“Our National Maritime Policy
statement clearly outlines the Navy
League position on the importance
of the U.S.-flag Merchant Marine
and the maritime industry. Now we
also have you, the Pacific Merchant
Marine Council, to help push this
agenda forward. I applaud you for
your interest and willingness to
take on this challenge.”
The Pacific Central Region,
which encompasses Northern and
Central California and northwest
Nevada, has been particularly
active in its efforts to marshal support for the Merchant Marine during the past several years. Under
past-Region President Jeanne
Sharkey, a Region Merchant Marine Committee was formed in
2005 to explore opportunities for
assisting Merchant Marine assets
and programs and promote participation in the maritime trades.
Region representatives also have
lobbied for the formation of a
Merchant Marine Congressional
Caucus, similar to the Navy/Marine
Corps Caucus and Coast Guard
Caucus, sponsored and supported at
the national Navy League level to
educate Congress on the importance
of the Merchant Marine and the maritime industry to national security.
The seeds of the Pacific Merchant
Marine Council have been blowing
about for a number of years, but the
chartering effort really began to get
off the ground last summer. The
council held its stand-up meeting in
September and had grown to 44
members by the time it was chartered. It added another half-dozen
new members during the chartering
event, O’Brien said, largely through
the efforts of Phelps Hobart, the new
vice president for membership.
Among the Pacific Merchant
Marine Council’s first orders of
business will be to adopt Jeremiah
O’Brien, according to O’Brien.
The council will host its quarterly
luncheon meetings aboard Jeremiah
O’Brien, at Pier 45 in San Francisco,
on the second Mondays of March,
June, September and December. ■
Information about the Pacific Merchant
Marine Council can be found online at: