The American Maritime Officers Association (AMO) supports Senator Rockefeller's approach to the Cruise Lines International Association.
The American Maritime Officers Association, the nation's largest professional merchant marine organization, says the widely publicised letter by U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, demanding the cruise line industry answer questions and provide details about safety procedures, mechanical problems and the number of U.S. residents employed by each shipping company is a substantial step in generating public awareness and political support of AMO's efforts to put Americans in command of American-owned passenger vessels – vessels that are mostly commanded and crewed by foreigners.
"Although the best-known cruise lines are publicly-traded U.S. corporations, these companies register their ships to foreign nations and, rather than employ American officers, the vast majority of captains, deck and engineering officers are from other countries and the crews are from undeveloped nations," says AMO President Tom Bethel . "The reason cruise lines hire foreigners is because most of them are willing to accept lower wages and fewer benefits."
Bethel, who began his career as a ship's engineer and is now one of the nation's leading maritime executives, says, "For years, AMO has attempted to convince American cruise line CEOs to employ its U.S. officers." He continues, "It's frustrating to know that although all AMO-member officers undergo training that exceeds all international standards and, unlike their foreign counterparts, all AMO-member officers are documented, licensed and vetted by the U.S. Coast Guard, yet, they are denied employment opportunities in the cruise industry."
Later this month, on National Maritime Day, May 22, 2013, AMO plans to launch a public awareness and nationwide recruiting campaign aimed at new high school graduates interested in receiving scholarships for educating and training them as engineering officers of which, it says, there is a global shortage.