Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Where can I find information on ship disposal?
  2. What does the Maritime Administration do?
  3. Where do I find information on maritime training and education?
  4. Where can I find information on NS Savannah?
  5. What are America's Marine Highways? Where can I find information on the America's Marine Highways program?
  6. How can I become a merchant mariner?
  7. What does it mean to say a ship is "U.S. flag"?
  8. What is the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF)?
  9. Where do I find data and statistics on marine transportation markets?
  10. Where can I find information on Deepwater Ports/LNG?
  11. What is the Ready Reserve Force?
  12. Where do I find information on shipbuilding, ship repair, owner/operators and marine suppliers in improving their international competitiveness?
  13. Where do I find information on maritime training and education?
  14. Where can I find information on NS Savannah?
  15. Who is eligible for mariner veteran's benefits?
  16. Where do I find information on Port Security?
  17. What does the Maritime Administration do?
  18. Where can I find information on ship disposal?
  19. What are America's Marine Highways? Where can I find information on the America's Marine Highways program?
  20. Where do I find maritime industry statistical information?
  21. Where do I find information on the Adopt-A-Ship program?
  22. Where do I obtain information on merchant mariner records?
  23. How can I become a merchant mariner?
  24. Where can I find information on Deepwater Ports/LNG?
  25. Where do I find information on my local port authority?
  26. Where do I find information on Cargo Preference?
  27. Where do I find information on Title XI financing?
  28. Where can I file a cruise line complaint?
  29. How do I obtain information on boating safety?

  1. Where can I find information on ship disposal?

    Pursuant to the Federal Property and Administrative Service Act of 1949 the Maritime Administration serves as the U.S. Government’s disposal agent for merchant type vessels of 1,500 gross tons or more. Until 2001 the primary method of disposal for obsolete NDRF vessels was vessel sales through competitive sealed bidding. In 2001 Congress passed the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act (the DOD Authorization Act, FY 2001), which authorized the Maritime Administration to use appropriated funds for the procurement of ship dismantling and recycling services. Since then the Maritime Administration’s Ship Disposal Program has utilized vessel sales and ship recycling services as the primary means to dispose of obsolete NDRF vessels. The Program has included artificial reefing, ship donation and SINKEX (sink at-sea live-fire training exercise) as additional vessel disposal options.

  2. What does the Maritime Administration do?

    Programs of the Maritime Administration promote the development and maintenance of an adequate, well-balanced United States merchant marine, sufficient to carry the Nation's domestic waterborne commerce and a substantial portion of its waterborne foreign commerce, and capable of service as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency. The Maritime Administration also seeks to ensure that the United States maintains adequate shipbuilding and repair services, efficient ports, effective inter-modal water and land transportation systems, and reserve shipping capacity for use in time of national emergency.

  3. Where do I find information on maritime training and education?

    The Maritime Administration vigorously supports maritime training and education through the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, support of six State maritime academies, and several outreach and continuing education programs. More information can be found in the Education portion of our web site.

  4. Where can I find information on NS Savannah?

    The web site for the Nuclear Ship Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship, can be found here. In the coming weeks and months additional pages and links will be added, as well as an extensive photo gallery of historic and contemporary images, including many photographs of recent shipyard work.

  5. What are America's Marine Highways? Where can I find information on the America's Marine Highways program?

    America’s Marine Highways are the nation’s 25,000-plus miles of underutilized coastal, intracoastal and inland waterways that can help mitigate the landside congestion that is creating gridlock on our highways and railroads. It offers great opportunities to improve the environment, reduce our dependence on oil, and offset soaring infrastructure maintenance and construction costs. In December, 2007, Congress recognized the benefits that expanding the Marine Highways offers and mandated a federal program to do just that. Please visit the America’s Marine Highway Program website for more information on the new program, research, breaking news, Marine Highway services, and more.

  6. How can I become a merchant mariner?

    The term merchant marine refers to the commercial ships or fleet of a nation, and to the people who operate them. The United States Merchant Marine also serves as an auxiliary in time of war or national emergency, transporting goods or materiel needed by the Armed Forces. The United States Merchant Marine has played a vital role in every national conflict since 1775, and played a particularly large and vital part in World War II.

    The Merchant Marine Act of 1936 set up the predecessor agencies to the Maritime Administration, and its provisions govern many of the activities of the Maritime Administration today.  The act reads, in part: "It is necessary for the national defense... that the United States shall have a merchant marine of the best equipped and most suitable types of vessels sufficient to carry the greater portion of its commerce and serve as a naval or military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency..."  During World War II the fleet was in effect nationalized; that is, the federal government controlled the cargo and the destinations, contracted with private companies to operate the ships, and put guns and Navy personnel, the Navy Armed Guard, on board. The government trained the men to operate the ships through the U.S. Maritime Service.  The U.S. Maritime Service only exists now through maritime academies.  

    Individuals who serve in the merchant marine are referred to as mariners, sailors, commercial sailors, or seafarers.  More information on the U.S. Merchant Marine may be found at www.usmm.org.

  7. What does it mean to say a ship is "U.S. flag"?

    U.S. flag means a ship is registered in the United States. Ships registered in the United States must meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements for safety. The company operating the ship must also meet citizenship requirements, and abide by the laws of the United States.

  8. What is the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF)?

    The National Defense Reserve Fleet is comprised of ships owned and maintained by the Maritime Administration.  The fleet serves as a reserve of vessels which can be activated to help meet U. S. shipping requirements during a national emergency. More information can be found on the NDRF portion of this web site.

    Part of the responsibility for maintaining the fleet is disposing of obsolete ships. More information can be found on the Ship Disposal portion of this web site.

  9. Where do I find data and statistics on marine transportation markets?

    The data and statistics page contains market indicators for U.S. marine transportation.  Indicators include, international trade, vessel calls, North American cruise passengers, coastal tank vessel trades, and fleets as well as links to marine transportation macroeconomic indicators such as employment, GDP, prices, investment and value added. 

  10. Where can I find information on Deepwater Ports/LNG?

    The Maritime Administration is charged with meeting the country's commercial mobility needs while maintaining national security and protecting the environment. The LNG Deepwater Port Program addresses all three of these goals by reducing the need for LNG tankers to enter busy seaports, while maintaining a high level of security and providing a viable environmentally friendly fuel source.

  11. What is the Ready Reserve Force?

    The Ready Reserve Force (RRF) is a fleet of cargo ships, owned and maintained by the Maritime Administration and managed by commercial companies. The ships are used to support the deployment of U.S. military forces overseas and in national emergencies. More information can be found on the RRF portion of this web site.

  12. Where do I find information on shipbuilding, ship repair, owner/operators and marine suppliers in improving their international competitiveness?

    The Maritime Administration's National Maritime Resource and Education Center (NMREC) provides information.

  13. Where do I find information on maritime training and education?

    The Maritime Administration vigorously supports maritime training and education through the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, support of six State maritime academies, and several outreach and continuing education programs. More information can be found in the Education portion of our web site.

  14. Where can I find information on NS Savannah?

    The web site for the Nuclear Ship Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship, can be found here. In the coming weeks and months additional pages and links will be added, as well as an extensive photo gallery of historic and contemporary images, including many photographs of recent shipyard work.

  15. Who is eligible for mariner veteran's benefits?

    Qualification eligibility and application instructions can be found at the National Maritime Center.  There is a special web site for World War II Merchant Marine Veterans.

  16. Where do I find information on Port Security?

    The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) provides several web sites for information on port security.

  17. What does the Maritime Administration do?

    Programs of the Maritime Administration promote the development and maintenance of an adequate, well-balanced United States merchant marine, sufficient to carry the Nation's domestic waterborne commerce and a substantial portion of its waterborne foreign commerce, and capable of service as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency. The Maritime Administration also seeks to ensure that the United States maintains adequate shipbuilding and repair services, efficient ports, effective intermodal water and land transportation systems, and reserve shipping capacity for use in time of national emergency.

  18. Where can I find information on ship disposal?

    Pursuant to the Federal Property and Administrative Service Act of 1949 the Maritime Administration serves as the U.S. Government’s disposal agent for merchant type vessels of 1,500 gross tons or more. Until 2001 the primary method of disposal for obsolete NDRF vessels was vessel sales through competitive sealed bidding. In 2001 Congress passed the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act (the DOD Authorization Act, FY 2001), which authorized the Maritime Administration to use appropriated funds for the procurement of ship dismantling and recycling services. Since then the Maritime Administration’s Ship Disposal Program has utilized vessel sales and ship recycling services as the primary means to dispose of obsolete NDRF vessels. The Program has included artificial reefing, ship donation and SINKEX (sink at-sea live-fire training exercise) as additional vessel disposal options.

  19. What are America's Marine Highways? Where can I find information on the America's Marine Highways program?

    America’s Marine Highways are the nation’s 25,000-plus miles of underutilized coastal, intracoastal and inland waterways that can help mitigate the landside congestion that is creating gridlock on our highways and railroads. It offers great opportunities to improve the environment, reduce our dependence on oil, and offset soaring infrastructure maintenance and construction costs. In December, 2007, Congress recognized the benefits that expanding the Marine Highways offers and mandated a federal program to do just that. Please visit the America’s Marine Highway Program website for more information on the new program, research, breaking news, Marine Highway services, and more.

  20. Where do I find maritime industry statistical information?

    The Maritime Administration's Office of Policy and Plans conducts statistical and economic analyses of the shipping industry, conducts studies and evaluations of Maritime Administration programs, assists in developing the Maritime Administrations's strategic and performance plans, and supports the Administrator's negotiation of multilateral and bilateral maritime agreements. More information can be found on the Data and Statistics page of this web site, and also at the Marine Transportation System Data Inventory Portal.

  21. Where do I find information on the Adopt-A-Ship program?

    The Adopt-A-Ship program, sponsored by the Propeller Club of the United States and the Maritime Administration, is a free program that helps students grades 5-8 with geography, science, language, and much more.  Classrooms "adopt" a working ship and correspond with its officers and crew.  For more information, go to the Adopt-A-Ship web site.  

  22. Where do I obtain information on merchant mariner records?

    Mariner records information can be obtained from the Department of Homeland Security's United States Coast Guard's National Maritime Center (NMC). The NMC is located at 100 Forbes Drive, Martinsburg, WV 25404; phone 1-888-427-5662.

  23. How can I become a merchant mariner?

    The term merchant marine refers to the commercial ships or fleet of a nation, and to the people who operate them. The United States Merchant Marine also serves as an auxiliary in time of war or national emergency, transporting goods or materiel needed by the Armed Forces. The United States Merchant Marine has played a vital role in every national conflict since 1775, and played a particularly large and vital part in World War II.

    The Merchant Marine Act of 1936 set up the predecessor agencies to the Maritime Administration, and its provisions govern many of the activities of the Maritime Administration today.  The act reads, in part: "It is necessary for the national defense... that the United States shall have a merchant marine of the best equipped and most suitable types of vessels sufficient to carry the greater portion of its commerce and serve as a naval or military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency..."  During World War II the fleet was in effect nationalized; that is, the federal government controlled the cargo and the destinations, contracted with private companies to operate the ships, and put guns and Navy personnel, the Navy Armed Guard, on board. The government trained the men to operate the ships through the U.S. Maritime Service.  The U.S. Maritime Service only exists now through maritime academies.  

    Individuals who serve in the merchant marine are referred to as mariners, sailors, commercial sailors, or seafarers.  More information on the U.S. Merchant Marine may be found at www.usmm.org.

  24. Where can I find information on Deepwater Ports/LNG?

    The Maritime Administration is charged with meeting the country's commercial mobility needs while maintaining national security and protecting the environment. The LNG Deepwater Port Program addresses all three of these goals by reducing the need for LNG tankers to enter busy seaports, while maintaining a high level of security and providing a viable environmentally friendly fuel source.

  25. Where do I find information on my local port authority?

    The American Association of Port Authorities provides a member directory on its web site.

  26. Where do I find information on Cargo Preference?

    The Office of Cargo Preference's primary focus is to promote and monitor the use of U.S.-flag vessels in the movement of cargo on international waters.  The Cargo Preference program facilitates the shipping of U.S. Government-impelled cargo on U.S.-flag ships.   More information can be found on the Cargo Preference pages of this web site.

  27. Where do I find information on Title XI financing?

    The Federal Ship Financing Program provides for a full faith and credit guarantee by the United States Government to promote the growth and modernization of the U.S. merchant marine and U.S. shipyards. More information can be found on the Title XI portion of our web site.

  28. Where can I file a cruise line complaint?

    The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has limited jurisdiction over cruise vessels and operators. Primarily, the Commission ensures that cruise line operators who are embarking passengers from a United States port have evidence of financial responsibility to indemnify passengers in the event of nonperformance or casualty. Passengers are not covered by the Commission's financial responsibility program if they did not embark from a United States port. Relations between the cruise lines and their customers, however, are contractual matters governed by the terms of the passenger ticket.

  29. How do I obtain information on boating safety?

    The U.S. Coast Guard's Office of Boating Safety educates the public on the prevention of accidents, injuries, and fatalities while boating. Information on boating safety course, safety tips, news, recalls, defects, and laws and regulations can be found at http://www.uscgboating.org/.