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Legal Blog

New Bill to Increase Training for Maritime Industry

Legislation has recently been introduced in the United States House of Representatives to aid in the training of the American maritime industry workforce through community colleges and maritime training centers. If passed, the bill could lead to an increase in the number of trained maritime workers available at the Port of Houston and throughout the United States.

However, the need for increased training for maritime industry workers also underscores the increase in maritime activity and the scarcity of trained maritime workers to perform the work. The lack of trained maritime workers can lead to increased maritime accidents, and if you are injured in such an accident it is important to be represented by knowledgeable Houston maritime lawyers.

Call The Krist Law Firm, P.C. today at (281) 283-8500 to find out how we can help you.

Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act

The bill introduced in the House of Representatives is H.R. 2286, and is titled the Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act of 2017. The Act was introduced on May 2, 2017, by Representative Gene Green, who represents the 29th congressional district in Texas which encompasses parts of the east side of Houston. The proposed text of H.R. 2286 allows the Secretary of Transportation to designate community colleges with maritime training programs and maritime training centers operated under the supervision of a state as a “center of excellence.” If designated as a center of excellence, the training program would be eligible to receive technical assistance, surplus government assets, and additional funding from the Secretary of Transportation.

The Benefits of H.R. 2286

In introducing the Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act, Representative Green stated that in his district there is a surplus of maritime jobs and not enough skilled workers to fill them. The number of jobs directly related to the maritime industry at the Port of Houston is currently over 56,000. The proposed legislation would aid in training workers with the skills necessary to fill the needed maritime positions. The desire for trained maritime workers exists not just at the Port of Houston but throughout the United States. The Port of Virginia provides another example, as that port is currently handling record cargo volumes and is seeking to increase its capacity by 1 million container units by 2020.

More Skilled Maritime Workers Could Increase Safety

One of the greatest concerns due to the lack of skilled maritime workers is the impact on shipbuilding and the maintenance of older ships. Without skilled maritime workers, the merchant fleet is utilizing older ships that create increased risks for accidents. The most dramatic example would be the merchant ship El Faro, which was a 40-year-old ship that was lost at sea with its entire crew when it lost power during a hurricane in 2015.

How a Knowledgeable Houston Maritime Attorney Can Help

The Domestic Maritime Centers of Excellence Act of 2017 is currently under consideration by a House of Representatives committee, which means it is still a long way from becoming law. However, the need for skilled maritime workers it is designed to address will continue to grow. Increased maritime activity combined with not enough skilled workers means a greater chance for maritime accidents, or injuries to maritime workers as they work harder to cover for a lack of trained staff. Maritime activity and work have a unique set of laws, so if you’ve suffered an injury due to maritime activity you will want to contact an experienced Houston maritime lawyer.

The Krist Law Firm, P.C. is a firm that has four decades of experience in obtaining recoveries for maritime plaintiffs. Our attorneys understand maritime injury claims and have the resources to help you pursue your claim. Contact our Houston personal injury law firm today at (281) 283-8500 to learn how we can help.