Portal:United States Merchant Marine

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The United States Merchant Marine Portal

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The United States Merchant Marine consists of the nation's fleet of non-military merchant ships and their crews. Operated by the government or by private owners, these ships transport goods and passengers both domestically and internationally. In time of war, the merchant marine is an auxiliary to the United States Navy, and can be called upon to deliver troops and supplies for the military.

As of 2006, the United States merchant fleet consisted of 465 ships above 1,000 gross tonnage crewed by some 69,000 merchant mariners. Seven hundred ships owned by American interests but registered in other countries under flags of convenience are not included in this number.

The federal government maintains fleets of merchant ships via organizations such as Military Sealift Command and the National Defense Reserve Fleet. In 2004, the Federal government employed approximately 5% of all American water transportation workers.

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SS Minnesotan
SS Minnesotan was a cargo ship built in 1912 for the American-Hawaiian Steamship Company. During World War I she was known as USAT Minnesotan in service for the United States Army and USS Minnesotan (ID-4545) in service for the United States Navy. Late in her career she was known as SS Maria Luisa R. for Italian owners. She was built by the Maryland Steel Company as one of eight sister ships for the American-Hawaiian Steamship Company, and was employed in inter-coastal service via the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the Panama Canal after it opened.

In World War I, USAT Minnesotan carried cargo and animals to France under charter to the U.S. Army from September 1917. When transferred to the U.S. Navy in August 1918, USS Minnesotan continued in the same duties, but after the Armistice, was converted to a troop transport and returned over 8,000 American troops from France. Returned to American-Hawaiian in 1919, Minnesotan resumed inter-coastal cargo service, and, at least twice, carried racing yachts from the U.S. East Coast to the California.

During World War II, Minnesotan was requisitioned by the War Shipping Administration and initially sailed between New York and Caribbean ports. In the latter half of 1943, Minnesotan sailed between Indian Ocean ports. The following year the cargo ship sailed between New York and ports in the United Kingdom, before returning to the Caribbean. In July 1949, American-Hawaiian sold Minnesotan to Italian owners. Renamed Maria Luisa R. at that time, she was scrapped in 1952 at Bari.

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A welder works on a ship's boiler at, Combustion Engineering Co. in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Selected biography

James Garner joined the Merchant Marine at age 16.
James Garner (born April 7, 1928) is an American film and Emmy-award winning television actor.

He has starred in several television series spanning a career of more than five decades. These included his roles as Bret Maverick, in the popular 1950s western-comedy series, Maverick; Jim Rockford, in the popular 1970s detective drama, The Rockford Files; and the father of Katey Sagal's character on 8 Simple Rules following the death of John Ritter. He has starred in dozens of movies, including The Great Escape (1963) with Steve McQueen; Paddy Chayefsky's The Americanization of Emily (1964) and Blake Edwards' Victor/Victoria (1982), both with Julie Andrews; and Murphy's Romance (1985) with Sally Field, for which he received an Academy Award nomination.

Garner joined the United States Merchant Marine at sixteen. He was a good worker and got along with all his shipmates, but he suffered from chronic seasickness and could not shake it no matter how hard he tried. At seventeen, he joined his father in Los Angeles and enrolled at Hollywood High School, where he was voted the most popular student.


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Motor Vessel Baffin Strait


The U.S. Fleet

Ships registered in U.S.: As of 2006, 465 ships of 1,000 gross register tons (GRT) or over were registered under the Flag of the United States. This amounts to a total of 10,590,325 GRT, or a capacity of 13,273,133 metric tons of deadweight (DWT). Of these, 414 are owned by American interests and 51 are owned by foreign interests. Australian owners account for 2 of these ships, Canadian 4, Danish 24, German 2, Greek 1, Malaysian 4, Dutch 4, Norwegian 2, Singaporean 2, Swedish 5, and Taiwanese 1.

Dry Cargo Ships Tanker ships
Bulk ships 67 Chemical tanker ships 20
Barge carrier 7 Specialized tanker ships 1
Cargo ship 91 Petroleum tanker ships 76
Container ships 76
Roll-on/Roll-off ships 27 Passenger ships
Refrigerated cargo ships 3 General passenger ships 19
Vehicle carrier 20 Combined passenger/cargo 58

U.S.-owned ships registered abroad (700): Antigua and Barbuda 7, Australia 3, Bahamas 121, Belize 5, Bermuda 27, Cambodia 8, Canada 2, Cayman Islands 41, Comoros 2, Cyprus 7, Greece 1, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 21, Ireland 2, Isle of Man 3, Italy 15, North Korea 3, South Korea 7, Liberia 93, Luxembourg 3, Malta 3, Marshall Islands 143, Netherlands 13, Netherlands Antilles 1, Norway 13, Panama 94, Peru 1, Philippines 8, Portugal 1, Puerto Rico 3, Qatar 1, Russia 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 21, Sierra Leone 1, Singapore 7, Spain 7, Sweden 1, Trinidad and Tobago 1, United Kingdom 6, Vanuatu 1, Wallis and Futuna 1.

Source: The 2006 CIA World Factbook which, as a US government publication, is in the public domain.

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