The Federal Role in Merchant Marine Officer Education

FPCD-77-44: Published: Jun 15, 1977. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 1977.

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To determine whether the expenditure of additional Federal funds for the education of deck and engineering officers was justified, a review was made of the employment placement records of Federal and various State maritime academies.

In fiscal year 1976, $8.7 million was spent by the Government to operate the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y., and about $4.7 went to support six State academies. Federal involvement in merchant marine officer education is justified if graduates of the academies are needed and find employment as licensed officers in the merchant marine. Because of the Maritime Administration's (MARAD) broad definition of "merchant marine" and in the absence of placement goals for graduates in each segment of the merchant marine, the extent that job placement in the merchant marine justified Federal support of the academies could not be determined. Naval science training is supposed to yield merchant marine officers capable of operating with the Navy if necessary. Thus, there does not appear to be a need for commissioning academies' graduates to the Reserve since service in the Navy is not the primary intent. Also, Reserve criteria restrict the number of these officers who can be trained. There is a need for an alternate program for naval science training for merchant marine officers.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: MARAD should establish employment placement goals for the academies, and establish the minimum number of years that graduates should serve as ships' officers. Departments of Commerce and Defense should jointly begin a program to provide the minimum naval science training required by all merchant marine officers, and see that all officers receive such training.

    Agency Affected:


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