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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Transcript: Maritime Administrator Rear Admiral Ann Phillips National Maritime Day Ceremony

Tuesday, May 24, 2022





Ladies and gentlemen, welcome…. We are honored to observe the 89th National Maritime Day with you all today. 

Lucinda thank you for your kind introduction and thank you most of all for your enduring leadership, your steady and clear command for the Maritime Administration over these many months. I am personally grateful for your work, and I am looking forward to what we will accomplish together. As you stated in your remarks, we have a generational opportunity to make change and to build our Maritime and port infrastructure.

Thank you [TURNING] Secretary Pete Buttigieg, for the opportunity to take on this position and Deputy Secretary Trottenberg, thank you both for your warm welcome to the transportation team

We at MARAD are most grateful for the partnership with Admiral Schultz and Rear Admiral Wettlaufer— thank you both for the incredible collaborative support to the Coast Guard and Military Sealift Command and the support that you provide and continue to provide to MARAD and particularly to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.  

Sister Okerike thank you for that amazing prayer, we are honored by your presence today.

Chairman Maffei -- your leadership, sir, at the Federal Maritime Commission comes at a critical time for our nation – and we’re glad you’re at the helm.  Thank you for your work.

It’s also wonderful to see the Honor Guard from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, and the [cadets] here from the Seafarers International Union Paul Hall Center for Maritime Studies in Piney Point, Maryland.   

Finally, I’d like to thank my entire MARAD team and the Department of Transportation staff who have made today’s ceremony possible. 

It is my distinct honor to be here today as MARAD’s 20th Administrator.  I am thrilled to have this opportunity to serve our nation —and to work with so many stakeholders, many of whom are here in person, and joining us online, to foster, promote and develop the Maritime Industry to meet our nation's current and future economic and security needs.

Maritime Day is our annual opportunity to celebrate and to commemorate— to honor our maritime history and ensure our fellow Americans understand how critical the maritime industry has been and continues to be to our nation’s success. 

Most importantly, we are thankful for the women and men of the U.S. Merchant Marine and we celebrate their essential role in safeguarding and strengthening our Nation.  Those who sailed in the past, who are sailing today, and who will answer the call in the future.

Last week some of you were present as the U.S. Merchant Mariners of World War II were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, honoring the thousands of merchant mariners, and those who gave their lives, in World War II, including 142 midshipmen from the United States Merchant Marine Academy who were sailing as cadets in addition to recognize the hundreds more US Merchant Mariners detained as prisoners of war. 

At the time, President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” He described their mission as, “The most difficult and dangerous transportation job ever undertaken.” And indeed, between 1939 and 1945, thousands of merchant mariners lost their lives — a higher proportion killed than in any military branch.

This year for Maritime Day, in their honor, the Maritime Administration has focused on three values that look to the future of the maritime community - 

Culture, promoting fair and dignified treatment of all mariners-  
Climate, exploring innovations in maritime technology, including reducing carbon emissions,  
and Commitment – our commitment to support the mariner workforce 

After the extraordinary honor of meeting our US Merchant Marine veterans last week, another word comes to mind – Courage. Through courage, their courage through such harrowing circumstances was absolutely outstanding.
While President Roosevelt spoke those words as our nation was navigating a tremendously difficult moments in our history. Today, our Mariners continue to navigate historic challenges, - sustaining our nation through this pandemic, addressing supply chain congestion and port congestion, and most crucially, building a respectful culture in the maritime workplace. 

The work of our US Merchant Mariners remains critical to every American. They ensure our economic strength and our national security – and secure the future of our maritime industry. They too, you too, know courage. 

The Biden-Harris Administration and the Department of Transportation, and the Maritime Administration are committed to continuing to strengthen our U.S. merchant marine and our Maritime Industry.   

As the administration, the Maritime administration, approaches its 75th anniversary in 2025; Our mission, created to meet wartime needs, remains rooted in supporting this nation’s security and economy —Like the mariners we celebrate today, we must not waver in that mission. We owe them, we owe you, and their families a debt of gratitude for answering their nation’s call.

…Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all again for joining us here today.