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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release May 22, 2000


Washington, DC -- America's strength at sea has always been a key part of our national security. Bounded by two oceans, criss-crossed by inland waters, topped by our Great Lakes, and supported by the Gulf of Mexico, America is literally encircled by waters that require us to maintain our competitive edge. The U.S. Merchant Marine, a fleet that is U.S. built, U.S. owned, and U.S. crewed, is helping to ensure that success in the 21st Century.

A strong America requires a strong merchant marine. I am proud of our administration's record in promoting the development and maintenance of a modern, efficient merchant fleet, capable of helping our expanding world trade and meeting the needs of the military in times of conflict or national emergency. The Jones Act is the foundation of our American maritime industry and an essential part of the fabric of our nation's economic and national security. I am committed to ensuring the presence of a U.S. flag merchant fleet capable of meeting our defense sea-lift needs and ensuring a presence in international maritime commerce.

On this National Maritime Day I salute the dedicated men and women of our U.S. Merchant Marine and wish them God Speed and smooth sailing as we ask the nation to pause and honor all of their contributions to our nation.

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