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which we already have for the 1959 season, and which will be available on a current basis, will assist in determining the type of organization and manpower required.
The St. Lawrence Seaway has just completed its first full year of operation with respect to deep-draft oceangoing vessels. The regulation of pilotage by our Government has been delayed because of the national and international interests that have been involved. However, we believe that this delay is justifiable since the bill incorporates what this Department considers to be a reasonable and practicable solution of the pilotage problem. We further believe that the proposed pilotage system envisioned in this bill, when operated in conjunction with the proposed Canadian system, will adequately meet the requirements of both countries, as well as provide equitable treatment of third nation vessels.
The Department urges that the bill be given favorable consideration by your committee.
Senator SCOTT. Thank you, John.
Mr. BOURBON. Mr. Secretary, are you and the Commerce Department satisfied that there will be no disadvantage to American ships proceeding in there by reason of the requirement that if they don't have a registered pilot in the open waters, they will have aboard another qualified officer with the necessary Great Lakes license?
Mr. ALLEN. I am satisfied that the provisions of the bill are such that the problem can be worked out if any disadvantage appears.
Mr. BOURBON. You don't see any present disadvantage to our two lines that are going in there, against the foreign lines that are coming in?
Mr. ALLEN. No.
Mr. ALLEN. I suppose the fact that Canadian vessels and some other foreign-flag vessels have had the experience of going in would be an advantage in a sense. But insofar as a legal advantage is concerned, I see no disadvantage to American shipping.
Mr. BOURBON. I am thinking particularly with regard to the pilotage requirements for licensing in the two countries.
Mr. ALLEN. I take it that you are speaking of having a member of the ship's officer staff to be the qualified officer in the unrestricted waters?
Mr. BOURBON. That is right.
Mr. ALLEN. There I presume that the Department would look to the Coast Guard as to the type of certificate that would be recognized for navigation in the waters involved. But the law itself seems to me adequate to permit the necessary negotiations and recognition of an appropriate certificate.
Mr. BOURBON. That is all.
The next witness is Capt. W. Hilton Lowe, president of the American Pilots Association.
STATEMENT OF CAPT. W. HILTON LOWE, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN
PILOTS ASSOCIATION, WASHINGTON, D.C. Mr. LowE. I am Capt. W. H. Lowe, president of the American Pilots Association, an organization comprised of 42 State pilot associations whose members pilot foreign and domestic shipping into and out of the various seaports of the United States.
I appreciate the opportunity to appear here today in support of S. 3019, a bill to provide for certain pilotage requirements in the navigation of U.S. waters of the Great Lakes, and for other purposes.
Several years ago, in the interest of safe navigation and being fully mindful of the growing need for a competent and well-founded pilotage service on the Great Lakes, the American Pilots Association made a thorough study of the situation with a view to determining whether the State pilotage system, which has been in operation for the past 176 years, could be extended to cover the ports of the Great Lakes.
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 1909 in regard 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 S. 2096, H.R. 7515, and H.R. 57 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 MS Prins Willem Van Orange, a Dutch passenger vessel, owned by the Fjell-Oranje 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 is a little over 400 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 some 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 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 S. 3019, 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 qualification of ships themselves. Equally important is the matter of qualified 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 such ships as the SS United States, the 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, Í 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 MS Prins Willem Van Orange, 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 S. 3019, introduced by the chairman of this committee, has been favorably reviewed by the 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.
Senator Scott. Do you have any questions?
Mr. BOURBON. Do you think that it will be possible for the Secretary of Commerce to insist that there be the sort of examination that you suggest at Montreal ?
Mr. Lowe. I don't think, Mr. Bourbon, there would be any question about that, because I believe the Canadian Government, as I understand it, is well prepared to do that.
Mr. BOURBON. Will any of the 42 State pilot associations that are members of your association be put out of business or otherwise affected seriously and permanently by this bill?
Mr. LOWE. No; not in any way.
Mr. BOURBON. They are the pilots that bring the ships into the various ports--Chicago, Toledo, and such?
Mr. LOWE. No, they are not in that group. We have no State pilots on the Great Lakes.
Mr. BOURBON. You have not?
Mr BOURBON. At the present time how are the ships conducted, we will say, into Chicago and Detroit? Do you have to take a pilot?
Mr. LOWE. By pilots who are now on the lakes, or by Canada, with what they term "sailing masters," men who are licensed to pilot on the waters of the Great Lakes.
Mr. BOURBON. Has it been reported to you that our pilots have not been able, in the last few months, to get aboard the incoming ships because they were not permitted to go into Canada?
Mr. LOWE. Not in the last few months. I haven't heard that. That could be so but I haven't heard anything about that. It appears to me—and I have talked to the pilots on this trip I made, at various confined sections of the lakes—they all seemed satisfied that there would be equal participation. It is true that the pilots I did meet were Canadian pilots. But I feel confident, from my conversations with various people who are concerned with that, that there will be no problem there.
That will be all ironed out.
Mr. Lowe. In the open waters, as I have said here, the officers of the ships directed the navigation of the vessels and did the piloting. When they came to confined waters the pilots taken aboard were Canadians.
Mr. BOURBON. And they were taken aboard in each case from Canada, or were any of them taken from the American side ?
Mr. Lowe. No, one was taken at Lake Huron just before they entered I believe the Detroit River, and then there was another pilot came aboard at Port Weller, and of course, at Kingston. They were all Canadians.
Mr. BOURBON. That is all.
Our next witness is Capt. John M. Bishop, secretary-treasurer, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots.