First launched in May 2009, the Seaway Task Force (STF) was formed as a partnership between IAM and the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association (SMWIA) to promote and protect the U.S. shipbuilding industry and maritime trades workers. The group strongly supports the Title XI Shipbuilding Building Financing Program, as well as efforts to address the dredging crisis faced by the Great Lakes seaways.
Among the issues currently being addressed and promoted by the STF are: publication of the Coast Guard’s final rule on ballast water quality; the recent decision regarding ballast water quality in New York; promotion of the latest Martin Economic Impact Study, which estimates the maritime industry in the U.S. supports more than 225,000 jobs while generating more than $50 billion in economic activity.
The task force is also calling for additional funds to be allotted for dredging harbors and channels used by commercial vessels. Of the 43 major ports in the U.S., only 14 are earmarked to receive funds for dredging in Fiscal Year 2013.
“Given the high degree of economic activity generated and the number of jobs created by the Maritime & Metal Trades, we need more, not less, investment in this critical sector,” said Eastern Territory GVP Lynn Tucker, who helped create the STF in 2009. “If we falter or fail to protect what’s left of our shipbuilding and maritime infrastructure, we may permanently lose the ability to compete and defend ourselves, in this increasingly global industry.”