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The House of Cards and the Three Stooges Security Program

By John A. C. Cartner

The House of Cards and the Three Stooges Security Program

It seems that the Transportation Security Administration has yet again a new rule. In order to get a Transportation Worker’s Identification Credential or “TWIC” the applicant must present a US passport. As my long-suffering readers know, I am no fan of the TSA. I saw the announcement of this seismic change in the back pages of several trade journals. My first reaction was that the TSA had made yet another irrelevant change in the government’s most irrelevant organization.

Read more and view the video after the jump.

Here Come the Marines! On a Panamanian Ship.

By John A. C. Cartner

Here Come the Marines! On a Panamanian Ship.

Recently it was announced that the US Marine Corps was contemplating deploying US Marines on foreign-flag ships. This will not do. The second Bush administration pushed the hiring of mercenaries to the furthest extent in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were called “contractors.” Americans have had distaste for mercenaries since the Hessians. In doing so that administration essentially broke the back of proper state function in war and the Westphalian monopoly on state violence valid since 1648. An unintended consequence of these acts has been the development of an attitude that the government can contract out anything on the world market. This reinforces the attitude existent that the DoD use United States flagged ships only when it must after tortuous and complex arguments against them and then only when publicly exposed and compelled thereafter to use domestic tonnage. This is not the first time this show has come down the road. In the current political climate it will not be the last.

Read more and view the video after the jump.

Special Iran Report

By John A. C. Cartner

Special Iran Report

The situation in the Persian Gulf seems to have become more complicated. Recently the Maersk Kensington was “harassed” by apparent warships flying the Iranian flag. Now the Maersk Tigris has been boarded and directed to anchor after Iranian forces fired across her bow. Here are my thoughts about this situation. One must carefully separate the political from the legal here. Clearly there are substantial political implications with this matter going on and the negotiations the US government and the Iranian government are having as to the Iranian nuclear capability. However, we also must be careful not to equate the two matters. What is happening with the vessels seems on one hand to be a minor matter when compared to the negotiations. On the other hand it is a window into the Iranian state and the Iranian government which if viewed in certain ways is unsettling.

Read more and watch the video after the jump.

Is Automation a Panacea or Is It Doomed to Fail in the Current Approach?

By John A. C. Cartner

Is Automation a Panacea or Is It Doomed to Fail in the Current Approach?

It seems as if the pace of automation is increasing in the industry. For example, the notion of an autonomous ship has yet again reared its head. ECDIS is now becoming institutionalized. Is this going to cause problems in and of itself – the pace of automation? I believe it will and it is causing problems now.

The age-old way of shipping has been cost containment. After all a ton mile is a ton mile no matter what carries it. In an industry where there are few distinguishing features which may be exploited one may expect fierce cost competition and very little price elasticity. That is what we have in many trades such as in the container trades. Hence, automation is seen as a way to reduce costs by engineering out the people who operate ships which in some perceptions are the expensive causes of many costs and more costly problems. This is flawed thinking on many counts.

Read more and watch the video after the jump.

The Jones Act and Senator McCain – a Bad Mix

By John A. C. Cartner

The Jones Act and Senator McCain – a Bad Mix
Recently, Senator John McCain lost his bid to attach an amendment to the Keystone Pipeline bill wherein the amendment would change the cabotage parts of the Jones Act objectionable to the Senator and his party. I have several thoughts.

Read more and watch the video after the jump.
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Maritime TV 'Conversations with Cartner'
A weekly discussion on maritime industry issues of the day with Shipmaster and Maritime Lawyer, Dr. John A.C. Cartner.


The opinions expressed by Dr. John A.C. Cartner in the ‘Conversations with Cartner’ Video Series and accompanying blogs are the opinions of Dr. Cartner and do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff and management of Maritime TV, or its parent network, TV Worldwide, Inc.

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