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As a result of this study, we concluded that the conditions and circumstances prevailing on the Great Lakes are entirely different from those in our ocean seaports and coastal waters.
We were convinced that State control of pilotage on the Great Lakes would be a rather complex and cumbersome arrangement. I understand that the individual States would probably not have the authority to make coordinative arrangements with the Federal Government of Canada, which has jurisdiction in Canadian waters.
In any case, each of the eight States of the United States which border on the Great Lakes would have to establish separate pilotage authorities under their own respective State laws. Each of these would undoubtedly involve separate rules and regulations, separate pilot organizations, separate pilot stations, and other related facilities. We could foresee considerable difficulty in determining just where the authority of one State ceased and another commenced.
In addition to these problems, the States would have to give full consideration to the provisions of the boundary waters treaty of 1909in regards to navigation on the Great Lakes.
Under State pilotage, the reciprocity provisions of this treaty would create a multiplicity of responsibilities on the part of the respective States in adhering to its provisions. This would not present a workable program and the State pilotage system would not be sufficiently adaptable for serving the navigational needs of the Great Lakes.
The American Pilots' Association has consistently taken this position in the interest of cooperating both with the Government and industry in arriving at a workable solution to the problem.
Other bills, previously before the Congress, have been designed to establish Federal control of pilotage on the Great Lakes. This is certainly essential and in the interest of marine safety. It was principally for this reason that we supported H.R. 7515, H.R. 57, and S. 2096 in previous sessions of the Congress.
It is recognized, however, that these previous bills did not provide a full solution to the many problems of Great Lakes pilotage. The hearings and subsequent studies arising out of them did much, however, to improve legislative proposals.
After Congress adjourned last year, various persons interested in the Great Lakes pilotage problem suggested that I make a further study of the situation with respect to piloting on the open waters of the lakes, as well as in the confined areas. It was felt that every effort should be made to secure a practical and unbiased version of the navigational problems involved. This I have tried to do with the thought that it might prove of value to persons interested in developing pilotage legislation for the Lakes.
On November 2, 1959, in keeping with the above suggestion, I made a trip from Chicago to Montreal on the Prins Willem van Oranje, a Dutch passenger vessel, owned by the Fjell-Orange Lines. We left Chicago at 7 a.m. and sailed through Lake Michigan, arriving at the Straits of Mackinac a little before midnight. The straits connect Lakes Michigan and Huron.
The Prins Willem van Oranje is about 460 feet long and, from the standpoint of bridge equipment and competent officers, I have never:
been on board a better ship. The vessel had the latest charts and the ship's position was plotted from Chicago to Montreal.
The Great Lakes rules of the road were posted under glass where they could readily be seen. Reports, such as weather and notices to mariners, were readily available. The radio was constantly in operation and properly manned by English-speaking officers. All bridge equipment appeared to be in working order.
When the officers relieved each other, they did so with a minimum of reporting. This was particularly noted by both Capt. Art Hendrickson and myself when the ship was approaching the Straits of Mackinac. Captain Hendrickson is a Great Lakes retired captain who was taking the trip and acting as an adviser to me. When the relieving officer took over the navigation of the ship at midnight he piloted the vessel through the straits in an admirable manner. Certainly the ship was adequately piloted but, equally important, she was properly equipped for navigation on the Great Lakes.
From the standpoint of equipment and efficiency, it has been my experience that all ships are not the same. I have been on board ships that would have no right to navigate on the waters of the Great Lakes, even with a pilot on board, until and unless they took the proper steps to qualify. Without such steps being taken, they would definitely constitute a menace to the navigation of other vessels which were properly equipped and efficiently manned.
The captain and every officer of the Prins Willem van Oranje agreed with this opinion.
On my trip through the lakes I spoke to the officers of two other foreign ships in regard to vessels qualifying for lake navigation and they were all in complete accord with the opinion that a ship which is not properly equipped is a menace to Great Lakes navigation. I am confident that the captains of all Great Lakes ships would agree with this opinion.
I therefore believe that all vessels sailing on the waters of the Great Lakes should be properly equipped for the purpose. I have particular reference to up-to-date charts, Great Lakes rules of the road, and all of the information essential to such navigation.
In addition, all vessels should have a radio in use, manned by English-speaking officers. All other bridge equipment should be in working order, and any officers of the vessels desiring to pilot in the open waters of the Great Lakes should have had some previous experience on those waters.
I realize that such a program would require some form of inspection for ocean vessels wishing to enter the lakes, and this would have to be by means other than H.R. 10593, which is properly confined to pilotage. This is not an insurmountable problem. I believe it can be handled by other means.
The Canadians have had some program along these lines in the past. I understand, however, it was more of an educational program than one of inspection. With some encouragement, I believe the Canadians would accept the responsibility for the inspection of such vessels. This would seem practical since all vessels must enter the Great Lakes through the Canadian waters of the St. Lawrence.
I have dwelt at some length on the proper equipment and qualifications of ships themselves. Equally important is the matter of quali
fied pilots and the waters in which such pilots should be required. I believe I am qualified to speak on this subject.
Prior to the time I became president of the American Pilots' Association, I had been an active pilot in the port of New York for 35 years. During that time I piloted over 5,000 vessels of almost every description. They included ships such as the United States, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, plane carriers, battleships, supertankers, and freight vessels of every nationality. Based upon these years of experience and the recent survey I made on the Great Lakes, I have arrived at the following firm conclusions:
As for the confined waters of the Great Lakes, I believe it is essential, as perhaps does most everyone else, that all ocean vessels be required to employ a duly licensed pilot for those waters. In my considered opinion, however, it would be most unfair to require a vessel in the category of the Prins Willem van Oranje, or any other duly qualified or equipped vessel, to employ a pilot, or pilots, for the open waters of the Great Lakes, nor do I believe this to be essential in the interest of safety. The bill before the committee supports both of these positions.
In addition, the bill, among other things, makes provision for vessels to have duly qualified and experienced officers. It provides for registration of pilots, organization, administration, ratemaking, and reciprocity with our Canadian neighbor. I believe these provisions to be well conceived. In conclusion, it is my understanding
That H.R. 10593, introduced by the chairman of the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, has been favorably reviewed by various executive departments who would have responsibilities in the administration of the program;
That its general provisions will not meet with disfavor on the part of Canada, our sister nation on the Great Lakes; and
That it has been developed after consultation with those in industry having practical experience in navigation and pilotage. The American Pilots' Association appreciates the courtesies
shown to it in this regard. I believe the bill will provide an appropriate means of assuring adequate pilotage for our commerce in these inland waters. As with any legislation, experience may suggest modifications from time to time to meet new and unforeseen needs. This is true in many cases where new fields of endeavor are entered.
It is my judgment, however, that the bill as drafted will meet with the objectives sought, and I recommend its favorable consideration by this committee and its passage by the Congress.
Mr. GARMATZ. Any questions, Mr. Clark? Mr. CLARK. No questions. Mr. GARMATZ. Mr. Lennon? Mr. LENNON. Captain Lowe, I think before you became president of the American Pilots Association, you were a registered pilot for 35 years?
Captain Lowe. Yes, sir.
Mr. LENNON. How many lake carrier vessels or ocean vessels have you ever piloted in the Great Lakes or St. Lawrence Seaway?
Captain Lowe. I never piloted any vessels in the Great Lakes. It was not my district. The port of New York was.
Mr. LENNON. One of the gentlemen yesterday referred facetiously to you as the "Sandy Hook pilot” and questioned your knowledge of the waters of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. That is the reason I asked you if you had ever personally piloted a single vessel in any of the waters we are talking about.
Captain Lowe. No, Mr. Lennon; I never have, but that would not disqualify me.
Mr. LENNON. As an expert. I know that.
You are saying the waters that you have piloted are comparable and similar to the waters of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway?
Captain LOWE. Definitely.
Besides that, I have had the experience of discussing pilotage with pretty near all the port authorities in our country. Before long I will be discussing, pilotage in the Columbia River, where pilotage is not compulsory; but there is a pilotage system set up where it is almost identical to the Great Lakes situation.
As for piloting, I would not be competent to pilot a vessel in the Great Lakes.
Mr. LENNON. However, you are competent to testify as to the needs of pilotage?
Captain LOWE. Beyond a question of a doubt.
Captain LOWE. I made that trip because the chairman of the committee suggested that it might be a good idea if I did get some more information, because in previous testimony here I said I didn't care to comment because I had never been a pilot on the Great Lakes. However, it was felt that my knowledge of pilots and of ships might help, and, incidentally, during the last war I was a captain in the Coast Guard, an anchorage and movements officer in the port of New York for the Coast Guard, and cooperated with the Navy for the entire time.
Mr. LENNON. You heard the testimony of Mr. Shapiro, representing American Merchant Marine Institute?
Captain LowE. I heard it here today.
Mr. LENNON. You did not hear the specific recommendations he made with reference to amending the present bill that is before the committee?
Captain LowE. I heard it in the Senate, Mr. Lennon. Mr. LENNON. Then you are familiar with the recommendations? Captain LowE. Yes, sir. Mr. LENNON. Do you have any comments on those at all? Captain LowE. From the standpoint of pilotage, I have some idea of the areas contemplated, but feel that to define them now would be a little premature for operational reasons of a pilot. Pilots do not know exactly where they can put pilots aboard ships and take them off. It could well be that if the areas were defined now, they would not be practical for pilot operations. I know this has happened in other areas throughout the United States. Pilots, I am sure, would not like to see these areas defined until experience had taught them where it was best for pilot operations.
Mr. LENNON. Do you not have that experience already?
Captain LOWE. Yes, sir; but not in the Great Lakes. I am afraid I do not make my position clear, Mr. Lennon.
As I say, I have ideas because I went through the lakes, certainly where there should be compulsory pilotage.
Mr. LENNON. You have been through one time. Others who have been here today have been plying those waters, some of them said, as many as 30-some years. Do you not think they would know now what waters should or should not be restricted ?
Do you not think there is information sufficiently available now on the part of these people who have lived and piloted in those waters for the last 30 years to know now what waters should be made restricted ?
Captain LOWE. Generally speaking, I think they do, and I think everybody agrees.
Mr. LENNON. Why not put it in the bill!
If everybody has agreed, as you said they have agreed, why not spell it out?
Captain LowE. I know in a general way everybody agrees where these retricted waters are.
Mr. LENNON. And where they should be.
Captain LowE. Maybe not a complete definition of them, but where they should be; yes.
Mr. LENNON. What is your thought with respect to the designation of foreign vessels?
Let the Congress do that?
Mr. LENNON. Canada would not be included anyhow in the designation of foreign vessels. Other than Canada, is what we are talking about.
Captain Lowe. Of course I would say myself the same as we do in the State system, all registered vessels, vessels in the foreign trade.
Mr. LENNON. Should be designated as foreign vessels?
Mr. LENNON. What is the matter with saying that in the bill rather than have the President make that determination ?
Captain Lowe. I am not really qualified on why that may be withheld from the bill. There may be some administrative reasons. I don't know.
Mr. LENNON. I thought from your position as president of the American Pilots' Association, you would have the answers to some of these things we are talking about.
Captain Lowe. My answer would be that it would be all vessels in the foreign trade.
Mr. LENNON. Should be designated as foreign vessels and subject to the pilotage requirement in the restricted waters?
Captain LowE. Yes, sir; that is the way it is in the States, and I would apply the same.
Mr. LENNON. Since you are recommending that the Congress handle this matter rather than to allocate it to the seven States that border