Maritime Administration News Release

News Release #: MARAD 17-08
Date: Aug 12 2008
Contact: Shannon Russell
Contact Phone: 202-366-7242

Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton Leads Delegation of U.S. Maritime Officials in Meetings in Tokyo

On July 24 and 25, Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton led a delegation of U.S. maritime officials in meetings in Tokyo with Japanese counterparts to discuss issues of mutual interest and challenges facing the maritime industry, both around the world and in the bilateral trade. The talks reflected the major concern of both countries about the impact on the shipping sector of the rapidly expanding consumption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) around the world. With the surge of new specialized vessels to carry LNG entering service, the demand for qualified seafarers is becoming urgent. In meetings with Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Tourism (MLIT), the two sides discussed the U.S. LNG Deepwater Ports initiative aimed at meeting U.S. demand, using the latest technologies for LNG transport and promotion of employment for trained U.S. seafarers on LNG ships. Connaughton said, “There is a robust market for skilled seafarers and an opportunity for maritime training institutions worldwide to help meet this demand.”

The head of the Japanese delegation, Director General Ito of the MLIT Maritime Bureau, described Japan's national maritime strategy to increase the workforce of Japanese seafarers by 150 percent over the next 10 years and to double the present number of the Japanese flagged international shipping vessels by the next 5 years.

Other topics of discussion included port development, environmental protection, trends in the bilateral shipping trade and maritime security.

Connaughton also met with Hiroyuki Nishida, General Manager of the Ocean Policy Research Foundation, a non-governmental organization engaged in studies concerning a wide range of marine issues; Mr. Hisashi Yamamoto, Secretary of the International Association of Maritime Universities; and Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of the Nippon Foundation, Japan’s largest charitable foundation and supporter of a number of maritime programs.

# # #