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STATEMENT OF CAPT. WILLIAM E. GOLDEN, REPRESENTATIVE OF
LICENSED TUGMEN'S & PILOTS' PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA
Captain GOLDEN. Before I start, Mr. Chairman, I have some more copies of my statement here if anybody in the audience would like any copies of it.
Încidentally, gentlemen, I would like to state that what I am reading from here I have changed a little bit. You will notice it as I go down here. In other words, to be frank about it, I tried to make it a little smoother and a little shorter.
My name is Capt. William E. Golden. I am an active pilot and business manager for Local No. 23 of the Licensed Tugmen & Pilots Association. This is an AFL-CIO ILA-MTD affiliate. The LTPPA is the oldest union of deck officers on the Great Lakes. There are also several other pilot organizations on the Great Lakes, but I am not aware of any that are not, generally speaking, newcomers.
I live at Ogdensburg, N.Y. I was born and raised on the St. Lawrence River. I have been sailing for over 20 years, most of which was on the Great Lakes, with several years deep sea during the war. For the past 5 years I have been piloting on the St. Lawrence River.
Speaking from practical and first-hand knowledge, I would respectfully suggest that the U.S. Government invite the Canadian Government to first present, in detail, and I repeat the word “detail," what they consider a fair and equitable reciprocal pilot bill.
Referring to the testimony given before the Senate Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee concerning pilot bill S. 3019, a companion bill to H.R. 10593 now before this committee, I wish to point out that the pilots themselves could not be considered to have been properly represented. Considerable testimony was given conveying the idea that the speakers were representing the pilots themselves, which is not the case.
Consideration should be given to the glaring fact that not one Canadian pilot gave testimony, which is easily understood because they have no voice and would undoubtedly suffer repercussions if they were to voice their views.
If Canadian pilots in this day and age are not allowed any voice, how can we expect Canada to consider treating U.S. pilots any better.
When the Canadian Government forces, and I do mean forces, the U.S. Navy to take Canadian pilots on U.S. naval ships in American waters, in addition to American pilots, how can anyone arrive at the conclusion that they will agree to anything reasonable on a reciprocal basis.
In addition to the Navy episodes which extend over the past 2 years, I was informed by the Grace Line that they had been threatened by the Canadian Government with a jail sentence and a fine if they used any U.S. pilots between St. Regis and Montreal. The only reason the Grace Line used an American pilot between St. Regis and Montreal was because the Canadian Pilot Association, after sufficient advance notice, was still unable to furnish a pilot without considerable delay to the ship.
The Canadian authorities, on numerous occasions when it serves their purposes, have continually pointed out that there is no compul:sory pilotage west of Montreal. Any ship, regardless of nationality, can and does operate west of Montreal without a pilot without incurring the disapproval of Canadian authorities. It is only when a U.S. pilot is employed on these waters, regardless of the ship's nationality, that the Canadian authorities endeavor to use coercion and economic pressure, with the net result that today there are very few men qualified to do this work. A firm stand by the United States would soon rectify this sad state of affairs.
Last fall, due to inclement weather, and the usual fall rush of shipping, there was a large number of foreign ships eastbound that were delayed and at anchor in American waters at Cape Vincent for a considerable time, waiting for Canadian pilots. U.S. pilots offered their services and were politely refused by the Canadian Pilot Association.
It thus appears that Canadian authorities are antagonistic to U.S. pilots.
On numerous occasions U.S. pilots who offered their services to foreign ship captains were refused on the grounds that these captains were afraid of repercussion from the Canadian authorities. Under the circumstances, no other factors would have dissuaded them from accepting the U.S. pilots. The foreseeable delays more than offset any other increased costs.
Any reciprocal pilot bill should take effect at Montreal, the same as the Great Lakes pilot rules do, instead of endeavoring to terminate it at St. Regis, as proposed in H.R. 10953 and S. 3019.
It is only in the past year that the seaway is referred to as starting at Father's Point in Quebec and extending as far west as the head of Lake Superior.
There has never been any question of Lake Michigan being entirely within the U.S. boundaries; why should there be any question because the St. Lawrence from St. Regis to Montreal is entirely within Canadian boundaries. Yet the U.S. Government has always recognized the Canadian Government on a reciprocal basis concerning Lake Michigan. Therefore, any reciprocal pilot bill should start at Father's Point or, in lieu of that, should start at Montreal.
As to the pilotage on the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and St. Vincent, I was personally informed by the Canadian Department of Transport that they were desirous of operating the pilotage on these waters on a 50–50 basis with U.S. pilots. If they are sincere in their intentions, I would suggest that a fair settlement would be that the Canadians pilot from Montreal west to St. Regis, Snell Lock, and the U.S. pilot from St. Regis west to Cape Vincent. This would obviously simplify matters.
This would not disrupt the Canadian scale of wages, which the Canadian authorities are undoubtedly concerned about. The U.S. scale of wages for these waters has been established for years preceding and including the past season of seaway operation.
In proposing pilotage from a safety standpoint, the language of the bill does not go into detail on what constitutes safety.
For example, how many hours should any pilot be allowed to work continuously in confined waters?
The Federal law specifically states how many hours a truckdriver can work.
Last winter I went to Panama for 2 weeks. I made numerous transits as an observer with friends of mine, who are piloting there. My purpose in mentioning the Panama Canal is from a safety and practical point of view. Panama Canal pilots are only allowed to work every other day and are also required to take off 1 more day a week. It is not uncommon for Canadian pilots to work a 100-hour week.
Bearing in mind that the Panama Canal has had a great many years to work out an efficient and safe method of operation, I see no reason why it would not be advisable to profit by their experiences. Except in cases of emergency, the pilots pilot one way. It stands to reason that a man piloting in one direction will know his route as well as it is humanly possible to do so, and also be able to confine his standby time to a minimum, thus making for a more economical operation.
In addition to piloting one way, a pilot should be limited to the number of continuous hours he can work and, referring to confined waters, the distance he would be allowed to cover.
These recommendations may meet with considerable opposition, but. perhaps only because the opposers are placing monetary considerations. ahead of safe and efficient pilotage.
As an essential part of any decision affecting St. Lawrence Riverpilotage, consideration must be given to certain collateral matters. No criticism of the U.S. Coast Guard is intended, but we feel that at this time provision should be made for greater uniformity and fairness with respect to pilot qualifications and ship classifications.
First, I respectfully suggest that, simultaneously with reciprocal pilot legislation, it be made possible for a person acting solely as a pilot on the Great Lakes to obtain a masters unlimited license.
Second, in the interests of safety, diesel-propelled craft should be placed in the same category as steam-propelled vessels. Both types of vessels do exactly the same work, and should therefore be under the same Government regulations as to pilots. This is not the case at the present time.
Furthermore, why shouldn't diesel tugs, whether towing or pushing barges, having a combined gross tonnage, generally exceeding or equal to many ships that are under Coast Guard inspection service, also be forced to come under the same rigid Coast Guard regulations?
Third, tugs from the east coast transiting the Great Lakes are operated by officers and crews who put in at least an 84-hour week. A dangerously excessive number of hours as far as safety is concerned..
I might add that Great Lakes tugs do not operate on such a dangerous basis. After a good many years, and accidents too numerous to mention, such as the Buffalo disaster of an east coast tug and barge with a Great Lakes steamboat, it is obviously high time, if anyone is interested in safety, that ships tonnage be figured on a commonsensebasis, not a basis to suit the owners, in lieu of safety.
Fourth, ships should not be allowed to put any crew members ashore on the landing boom for the purpose of handling their own mooring lines. This common practice of putting men ashore is probably as dangerous a procedure as any in the maritime industry today.
Fifth, I have yet to meet a pilot, Canadian or American, who does not sincerely feel that in the interests of safety, all ships requiring a pilot should carry, while in confined waters, a specially trained wheelsman. This wheelsman would also be the source of supply for future pilots and in slack times, absorb any excess in pilots.
I feel certain that these measures should have the fullest support of the Coast Guard and to my personal knowledge are subscribed to by some of the major tug operators on the Great Lakes.
There were certain discrepancies in the testimony before the Senate committee which should be pointed out.
In referring to parts of the statement offered by the State Department of European Affairs, I note where they have consulted and accepted Captain Lowe as an authority for pilotage n the Great Lakes. I fail to understand how anyone with Captain Lowe's many years of experience as a pilot would place himself in a position as being called an authority, on waters which he has, in fact, no knowledge whatsover, according to his own testimony.
A sincere study of this bill only emphasizes that the language is very broad and sweeping.
It is difficult enough today to interpret any legislation, even after it is clearly defined. Any attempt to enact any legislation on an assumptive basis can only result in a catastrophic situation.
Not only the pilot situation, but the entire maritime situation on the Great Lakes, as it exists today, is certainly not anything that anyone would be willing to step forward and take responsibiilty for.
To enact any of the pilot bills that have so far been presented would be strictly a case of putting the cart before the horse. Referring to the feasibility of licensing any foreign ships officers, I would suggest that first U.S. ships be allowed the same privilege on European inland waters.
Why should both Governments, Canada and the United States, insist on such strict relations concerning the operation of their respective ships when, in the open lake, they plan on permitting foreign ships to operate on a lesser standard.
H.R. 10593 and S. 3019, not only take away the bargaining rights of the pilots, but also prevent them from working a so-called sailingmasters on the open Iakes, which they have been doing for quite a few. years.
I do not believe that it is the intent of the U.S. Government to take away anyone's constitutional rights to make a living in order to permit foreign shipowners to operate on a more profitable basis.
If a constant source of qualified pilots is to be maintained on a stable basis, all ships, regardless of nationality, operating east of Montreal, whether occasionally or otherwise, should be required to have licensed pilots in addition to the regular complement of officers. This should apply on the St. Lawrence River from Cape Vincent to Father's Point.
Requirements for membership on any joint pilotage committee should be clearly defined and practical experience on the Great Lakes should be required, not merely general maritime experience.
This statement does not cover the entire situation, but in summing up,
I believe the United States should simultaneously put its own maritime situation on a practical and equal basis; secondly, that the Canadian Government should enact whatever pilotage regulations they wish, and then and only then should the Congress of the United States negotiate for a reciprocal pilot bill.
No pilotage bill should be hastily enacted. Bear in mind that the completion of one full season of operation on the seaway has established the fact that it is possible to operate without any additional legislation. I should like to submit for the record, if I may, a copy of an edi
. torial here which appeared in the March 2, 1960, issue of the Ogdensburg Journal on legislation now before this committee.
(Information referred to follows:)
[From Ogdensburg Journal, Mar. 2, 1960]
LET'S TREAT OUR PILOTS FAIRLY
Winter still has a tight grip on the harbors of the Great Lakes (Ogdensburg's novel wooden booms have kept it virtually icefree this year), but preparations for another busy year of commercial shipping on the St. Lawrence Seaway are moving ahead on many fronts.
This year the seaway will be opening on April 15, 10 days sooner than in 1959—its first full season of operation. Thus there are only about 6 weeks left for the port cities along the 2,300-mile waterway to finish improving their docks and building new warehouses to handle their growing overseas commerce. At the same time, shipping interests from Japan to Denmark are mapping out schedules for their freighters to ply the Great Lakes this summer.
One item of important business will probably not be completed in time for the 1960 shipping season-although an encouraging start has been made. This is the formulation of comprehensive pilotage legislation to cover the operation of foreign ships in United States and Canadian waters of the seaway route.
Until the massive rush of vessels from all parts of the world to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence last summer, there was no particular need to require that foreign ships carry pilots to assist them in navigating the tricky inland
Such foreign vessels as did come up the old shallow-draft canals, usually hired American or Canadian pilots as a matter of course.
Now that there is a full-fledged “traffic problem" on the lakes, with the foreign ships added to the normal heavy interlakes trade by United States and Canadian vessels, Senator Warren Magnuson, of Washington State has come up with a bill that seeks to resolve past bitter United States-Canadian differences on piloting rules and make the whole matter uniform once and for all. His bill reflects the joint thinking of the U.S. State Department, Coast Guard, Commerce Department, and other agencies.
As Alvin Shapiro, vice president of the American Merchant Marine Institute, pointed out at last week's hearings in Washington on the Magnuson bill:
“Although there is at present on the books a law requiring the service of qualified piloting skills on United States and Canadian vessels navigating solely on the Great Lakes, there is no statutory requirement that oceangoing vessels of any flag have this skill available in U.S. waters. * * *
“Apart from its merits as a starting point, the bill before you provides a basis for resolving international issues as between the two Federal Governments. It provides a basis for the establishment of reasonable rates, fair distribution of jobs between citizens of the United States and Canada and adequate supervision of the competency and discipline of the personnel who will be involved.”
A parade of other witnesses representing various Federal agencies said similar nice things about the bill, including Vice Adm. A. C. Richmond, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. However, a dissenting voice was raised by the lone active river pilot (from either the United States or Canada) who testified before the Senate Merchant Marine Subcommittee. He happens to be an Ogdensburg man-Capt. William E. Golden, who represents Local 23 of the Licensed Tugmen & Pilots Association. (The union's title confused an Associated Press eporter, who described Captain Golden as a “tugboat captain.")
Captain Golden told the Journal upon his return from Washington that he was one of the last two or three witnesses called in the 2-day hearing. So unexpected was the summons that he did not even have time to prepare his testimony fully, and only this week he is submitting a supplemental statement on the pilotage bill to the congressional committee.
Aside from the various criticisms that Captain Golden, as a licensed St. Lawrence River pilot, has of the bill, we feel that it was definitely shortsighted on the part of Senator Magnuson and his committee to virtually ignore the people who are most affected by the measure the working river pilots of both Canada