What Happened To The U.S. Merchant Marine?

The Cape Wrath sits at port in a Baltimore harbor. It is one of 46 vessels in the Ready Reserve Force, a fleet of large vessels on standby to deploy U.S. military forces and equipment for conflict abroad. Tim Johnson McClatchy

McClatchy News: Dwindling Merchant Marine fleet crimps U.S. ability to wage war

WASHINGTON: The once-mighty U.S. Merchant Marine fleet has nearly collapsed under the weight of high labor costs, zigzagging federal policies and intense competition from abroad, damaging America's position as the only country in the world able to supply and sustain a long-distance war.

The U.S. Merchant Marine has declined from 1,288 international trading vessels in 1951 to 81 today.

“It’s a matter of national security,” said Maritime Administration chief Mark H. Buzby, a retired Navy rear admiral.

The Merchant Marine is a a fleet of U.S. ships that carries cargo during peacetime and becomes an auxiliary of the Defense Department during wartime to deliver troops and supplies to conflict zones. The Navy itself does not have enough ships to handle a large-scale supply mission on its own and has relied in almost every conflict on the Merchant Marine.

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WNU Editor: This says it all .... from 1,288 international trading vessels in 1951 to 81 today.

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