Coast Guard Supports Maritime Commerce and Ship-Building Industry
Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Seth Johnson
Before a ship ever gets in the water ... the Coast Guard is
behind the scenes working to make it ready for sea. Coast Guard
marine inspectors work in tandem with ship builders in the United
States to ensure the vessels are both safe for the workers and for
operation in the maritime environment.
In fact, one of their
mission is in Philadelphia, where workers are constructing the
largest container ship ever built in the United States for
Honolulu-based Matson Navigation Company.
As a ship is built,
like the 850-foot Daniel K. Inouye in Philadelphia Shipyards, the
Coast Guard and the industry members work together. They review
architectural plans for the ship, monitor the laying of its keel,
and observe the installation of lifesaving and engineering systems.
These efforts ensure a safe working environment for mariners and
validate the integrity of the vessel.
October 4, 2018 - The Daniel K.
Inouye, an 850-foot container ship being constructed in
Philadelphia Shipyards, is the largest container vessel
constructed in the United States, and is one of many ships
marine inspectors from Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay work
with to ensure maritime safety and security. During ship
construction the Coast Guard works with the ship builder,
shipping company and registrar in a unified effort to make
the ship as safe as possible for operation. (U.S. Coast
Guard photograph by Petty Officer 1st Class Seth Johnson)
“For the Coast Guard, ship construction like this in the United
States gives us the opportunity to work with the maritime industry
members,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Doherty, Coast Guard Sector
Delaware Bay Chief of Inspections. “The added benefit of the Coast
Guard beyond building relations with American shipbuilders is that
it gives us an opportunity to train our inspectors during the
process of ship construction, which will benefit them throughout
their prevention career.”
Doherty, who oversees the team of
Coast Guard marine inspectors who evaluate safety and security of
ships throughout southern New Jersey, Delaware and eastern
Pennsylvania, says that involving the Coast Guard ensures the safety
of life at sea for workers but also that of the ports and waterways
of the United States by keeping them clean from pollution and
unobstructed. Doherty says the having the Daniel K. Inouye built
nearby has a local benefit as well.
“Building this ship in
Philadelphia is a huge deal for the surrounding region,” said
Doherty. “When ships are built here it gives life to the shipyard,
local area and maritime community.”
Lt. j.g. Ryan Thomas, a
marine inspector at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay, who has been
working on the project since February 2018, says that being involved
in inspections and review process during the building phase of a
ship is not only interesting but educational. Thomas says learning
about the different systems of a ship during its construction have
contributed to his growth as a marine inspector and he feels a sense
of pride in helping to make a ship safer, but also as a native
resident of Hawaii, he knows how important it is for commerce to
move safely through American ports.
October 4, 2018 - Lt. j.g. Ryan
Thomas, a marine Inspector at Coast Guard Sector Delaware
Bay, discusses the Coast Guard’s role and procedures during
electrical testing aboard the Daniel K. Inouye, an 850-foot
container ship being constructed in Philadelphia Shipyards.
The Daniel K. Inouye is the largest container ship ever
built in the United States. (U.S. Coast Guard photograph by
Petty Officer 1st Class Seth Johnson)
Thomas says that much of what Coast Guard inspectors interact
with during ship construction are the lifesaving and emergency
systems aboard a ship. Things like rescue equipment, propulsion
engines, steering systems, navigation equipment, electrical and fuel
systems are some of the aspects inspectors focus on to ensure the
ship meets the Coast Guard standard before making its way to full
On a day-to-day basis, Coast Guard inspectors
work with the ship builder, the shipping company and in the case of
the Daniel K. Inouye, the international registrar and classification
society. Through their oversight and teamwork, all parties come
together to develop a ship that meets standards for operation not
only in the U.S., but also around the world, which leads to a safer
situation for everyone, Ryan says.
One reason the
relationship between industry and regulators during ship
construction is important is that it creates the most efficient and
effective process to get the vessel ready for maritime trade.
International commerce is extremely reliant on the Maritime
Transportation System already, and estimations place that by 2025,
the demand for waterborne commerce worldwide is expected to more
The Coast Guard is preparing for the increasing
demand now. The service has published the U.S. Coast Guard Maritime
Commerce Strategic Outlook that outlines its strategy to support and
grow maritime commerce in the U.S.
The strategic outlook
established priorities through three lines of effort:
Facilitate lawful trade and travel on
Modernize aids to navigation and mariner information systems.
Transform workforce capacity and
More information about the U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Commerce
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