Monday, June 25, 2007

U.S. Coast Guard Regularly Railroads Mariners in Court- Time for a Change

Merchant Mariners involved in any kind of accident are subject to a far more harsh justice system than the rest of America. An accident on a ship these days can land the crew in jail for 'gross negligence' even if it was an honest mistake. The Coast Guard is currently being investigated for its unfair legal practices when dealing with mariners.

Most mariners will never have a serious accident in thier careers, but those that do can expect to spend a lot of time and money defending themselves in court. At the very least most mariners can expect a long suspension and fines from the USCG. Some extreme cases involve long jail sentences- but many not so extreme cases invole the slammer as well. This politician is taking up the side of professional mariners- which is great! I am glad to see a democrat looking out for the people and taking care of our maritime workforce- we are already stretched thin and taxed with union dues, license fees, and tons of crazy regulations.

One might think that the Coast Guard doesn't trust us to navigate the high seas? Well- they should really review their own records before pointing fingers and putting people in jail. I love the Coast Guard and respect their service and dedication- we all appreciate the lives that they save. However, the Coast Guard has a long history of navigation mishaps and probably should not be the governing body prosecuting mariners. Props and Kudos to Representative Elijah E. Cummings- a Baltimore Democrat. Thank you for looking out for our Merchant Marine and realizing how tough we have it in a court of law.

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