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.