MARITIME Act would establish grants for research harbor infrastructure, designate Maritime Academies as Centers of Excellence


Washington, D.C. (May 14, 2019) –Senators Edward J. Markey, (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) today introduced the Maritime Academy Reinvestment and Training Improvements for Mariner Employment (MARITIME) Act. The legislation fulfills two needs for maritime education and training. One is federal assistance for university and research harbors to perform infrastructure improvements. Many of the nation’s research and education vessels are federally owned, but docked at harbors operated and maintained by local universities. These universities and Maritime Academies may lack the resources to financially support infrastructure modernizations needed to protect these vessels from damage and maintain these vessels’ core functions. The Senators’ legislation establishes a $15 million discretionary grant program to assist research harbors in making these important infrastructure modernizations.


This legislation also designates Maritime Academies as Centers of Excellence, making them eligible for supplementary maritime workforce training and education assistance. Maritime Academies were previously ineligible for designation as centers of excellence under the narrow criteria set forth in existing law.


“Our future mariners want to be trained for the maritime industry of the 21st century, not centuries past,” said Senator Markey. “That means we must modernize our maritime academies’ infrastructure to ensure we maintain our maritime academies’ might for decades to come. I look forward to working with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to include the MARITIME Act in the Maritime Administration Authorization and Enhancement Act of 2019.”


“From navigating a ship to performing maintenance on a vessel, our mariners protect and serve this country from sea to shining sea, and it’s time the government provides them with the most up-to-date training, education, and infrastructure to perform their jobs,” said Senator Warren. “I’m proud to support legislation, along with my colleagues, that will ensure that our Maritime Academies continue to have world class infrastructure to train America’s future mariners.”


“Mariners have made critical contributions to our economy since the founding of this nation,” said Senator Merkley. “For too long, our universities and Maritime Academies have been forced to foot the bill for harbor and dock upgrades necessary to support federally funded research vessels. It’s time for Congress to support essential infrastructure improvements at harbors and universities that house these federal vessels—not only supporting cutting-edge research, but also helping entire communities like Newport, Oregon, where they dock. This bill will help ensure that America remains a maritime industry leader for generations to come.”


“The MARITIME Act rightfully places emphasis and provides support for two important areas of the nation's maritime ecosystem - research development and workforce training,” said Rear Admiral Francis McDonald, President of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. “Both of these sectors play an increasingly important role in our maritime and oceanographic sectors and the MARITIME Act appropriately provides the federal support necessary for these highly specialized organizations to continue to deliver for our nation.”


A copy of the MARITIME Act can be found HERE.