Boston Maritime Attorneys Review Effects of Sequestration Cuts on USCG

Boston Maritime Attorneys Review Effects of Sequestration Cuts on USCG

This video is United States Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Naplitano’s third annual State of Homeland Security Address, delivers on February 26 at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. After her remarks, the first question that moderator Elaine Kamarck asks Napolitano is what impact sequestration would have on her department. “You know, I’ve been in government and public service a long time, 20 years almost,” Napolitano says. “I have never seen anything like this. It will have to affect our core critical mission areas.”

Almost two weeks before that appearance, Napolitano said in her statement before the US Senate Committee on Appropriations on February 14 that the “effects of sequestration would be felt by the American public” from reductions to various US Coast Guard (USCG) responsibilities. “These reductions will impact the Coast Guard’s ability to respond to issues impacting the U.S. Marine Transportation System …,” Napolitano said. “USCG also will have to reduce its patrols of the 3.4 million square mile U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone …”

As WorkBoat Magazine Washington correspondent Pamela Glass noted last month, the USCG is one of a few crucial federal agencies responsible for overseeing the maritime community that were hit hard by the “draconian budget cuts.” The across-the-board spending cuts totaling $85 billion in the current fiscal year went into effect on March 1. They include:

  • A 25 percent cut to the “already tight budget” of the USCG, putting maritime security and safety at risk.
  • A 5 percent reduction in the Army Corps of Engineers budget. Glass reported that the agency “is already operating on a budget far below what it needs to keep the waterways reliable and modern.”
  • Hundreds of employees at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be furloughed, affecting the quality of weather forecasting and warnings as well as disrupting production of navigational charts.
  • Delays for many offshore drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico

The day before sequester went into effect, USCG crewmembers rescued 33 migrants from Monito Island, Puerto Rico, and another 28 migrants from Mona Island. The following day, USCG personnel rescued two people aboard a fishing boat that was taking on water near Bodega Bay, California. On March 2, the USCG medically evacuated a 48-year-old man from a fishing vessel after he was reported to be suffering from chest pains, and the agency assisted in rescuing 10 mariners from the Philippine Sea after a 60-foot voyaging canoe began to break apart.

That handful of incidents in less than a week’s time demonstrates the invaluable support the USCG can provide to many maritime workers and recreational boaters in waters from coast to coast. We hope that Congress is able to craft a deal that will provide the USCG with the funding it needs to carry out its invaluable missions.

Latti & Anderson LLP has been representing injured workers and the families of seamen killed in maritime accidents for more than a half-century. You can learn more about fishing accidents by visiting our website. If you or a loved one sustained serious injuries in an accident on the water, enter your information in the form on this page to let our Boston maritime attorneys review your case or contact our firm at (800) 392-6072 to set up a free consultation.

Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime trial lawyers