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American Maritime Officers President Willie Barrere and Seafarers International Union President David Heindel congratulate Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Congressman Sam Graves (R-MO) on his receipt of the Frank Courtenay Salute to Congress Award on May 7 at the Army Navy Country Club.

Salute to Congress Award Presented to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman

The International Propeller Club of the United States recognized the leadership of Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Congressman Sam Graves at the 40th annual Frank Courtenay Salute to Congress dinner on May 7 at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Va.

Rep. Graves is a lifelong resident of Missouri’s Sixth Congressional District. As a small businessman and a sixth-generation family farmer, he spent his life working to make Missouri a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

As chairman, he leads the committee that has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation – maritime and waterborne transportation, our aviation system, highways and bridges, transit and rail transportation, and pipelines. His role in transportation is critical as he works on behalf of Missouri’s 34,000 highway miles and 10,400 bridges needing maintenance and repair, as well as the 6th Congressional District’s two major rivers – the Missouri and the Mississippi.

Rep. Graves is a proven, effective committee leader. From 2019 to 2022, he served as the Transportation Committee’s lead Republican Member. Before that, he served four years as chairman of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit and as the ranking Republican member of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management. He is also co-chair of the House General Aviation Caucus.

He leads this crucial committee in the 118th Congress as our nation’s leaders work to address growing infrastructure needs, take on the challenges of providing reliable investment in our transportation network, ensure that America’s rural infrastructure needs are not left behind, and harness innovation to more effectively and safely move goods and people throughout the country.

Rep. Graves was born in Tarkio, Missouri. He graduated from Tarkio High School in 1982 and attended college at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he received his degree in Agronomy from the School of Agriculture. In 1992, Graves won his first race for state representative. In 1994, he was elected state senator for the 12th Senatorial District and was subsequently re-elected in 1998.

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The floating pier constructed to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza, known as Trident Pier, was attached to the shore on May 16.

The floating pier expected to bring life-saving humanitarian aid to the Gaza region has officially been attached to the shore and the first pallets of aid are being delivered, according to updates given by United States Central Command.

“Today at approximately 9 a.m. (Gaza time), trucks carrying humanitarian assistance began moving ashore via a temporary pier in Gaza. No U.S. troops went ashore in Gaza,” a May 17 press release stated. “This is an ongoing, multinational effort to deliver additional aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza via a maritime corridor that is entirely humanitarian in nature, and will involve aid commodities donated by a number of countries and humanitarian organizations.”

Military Sealift Command and the U.S. Maritime Administration provided the ships that delivered the pier parts necessary to construct the floating causeway, known as Trident Pier. The M/V Roy P. Benavidez was the initial vessel to begin building the floating pier, and the USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez and the USNS Stockham have provided support for the humanitarian mission and will stay in the region during Operation Neptune Solace.

The first vessel to deliver humanitarian aid that was transported on the pier was the M/V Sagamore.

All of these vessels are manned in all licensed positions by members of American Maritime Officers.

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Trucks loaded with humanitarian aid from the United Arab Emirates and the United States Agency for International Development cross the Trident Pier before entering the beach in Gaza, May 17, 2024. The temporary pier, part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability, will enable the maritime delivery of international humanitarian aid Gaza for distribution to Palestinian people in need.

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The crew of the Maersk Chicago takes a moment to mark the vessel’s crossing of the Equator in the traditional maritime “Shellback” ceremony. Members of American Maritime Officers aboard the Maersk Chicago included Captain Dan Kleiboemer, Chief Mate Christopher Moran, Second Mate Vincent Monfredo, First Engineer Alex Koroytev, Second Engineer William Chappel and Third Engineer Conor Roy.

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Dozens of members and retirees of American Maritime Officers, along with union representatives and staff of the union and STAR Center, joined together for a barbecue dinner May 1 to celebrate AMO’s 75th anniversary. On May 12, 1949, the union was chartered as the Brotherhood of Marine Engineers (BME), an affiliate of the Seafarers International Union of North America (SIUNA). Over time, the BME expanded its shipboard and regional jurisdictions, and under specific circumstances, changed its name and affiliation – Great Lakes District Local 101 of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association, District 2 MEBA, District 2 MEBA-AMO, and finally, American Maritime Officers. AMO reaffiliated with the SIUNA in 2003.

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AMO National President Captain Willie Barrere welcomed union members and guests to the AMO birthday celebration, which was held on STAR Center’s campus in Dania Beach, Fla.

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U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) and Sailors attached to the M/V Roy P. Benavidez assemble the Roll-On, Roll-Off Distribution Facility (RRDF), or floating pier, off the shore of Gaza in support of Operation Neptune Solace. The Benavidez, along with the USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez and the USNS Stockham have been assigned to the humanitarian aid mission. The temporary pier will assist the United States Agency for International Development in the delivery of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, which will increase the quantity and flow of humanitarian aid, including food, water, medicine, and temporary shelters. The Benavidez is operated for the United States Maritime Administration by Ocean Duchess Inc. as part of the Ready Reserve Force and is manned in all licensed positions by AMO.

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American Maritime Officers members aboard the USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez in May, here in the Gaza region, included Second Mate Matt McNulty, Third mates Hunter Jacques and Bartolome Romero, Electronics Officer Ricky Reidl, Captain John Waters, Chief Mate Felix Somorostro and Cargo Mate Jose Villalobos. The USNS Lopez is operated for Military Sealift Command by Crowley Government Services and is manned in all licensed positions by AMO.

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AMO members aboard the USNS Lopez in May included First Assistant Engineer Mark Ciciulla, Deck First A.E. Aris Aquino, Chief Engineer Rick Powers, Third A.E. Jon Cline, ETO Ricky Reidl and Second A.E. Al Norris.

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When complete, the floating pier will connect to the mainland, allow trucks and other vehicles to distribute humanitarian aid to the residents of the region.

The minutes for the regular monthly American Maritime Officers membership meeting held April 3 at AMO Headquarters have been posted in the secure section of the AMO website, which is accessible to active AMO members and applicants.

AMO members will need to click on the “MEMBER LOGIN” tab on the AMO home page (LOGIN on mobile devices) and log into the member portal of the AMO website. Members and applicants using the updated AMO website for the first time will need to register a new account for the member portal, a link for which is featured on the MEMBER LOGIN page.

nullOnboard the Pohang Pioneer in the Far East in April were Chief Engineer James Cook, Chief Mate William Harris, Maritime Partners CEO Bick Brooks, Captain Jerry Smith, and Maritime Partners President Austin Sperry. The principals of Maritime Partners, owner of USMMI, visited the Pohang Pioneer, as well as the Yosemite Trader. The company is encouraged with USMMI’s future and committed to the expansion of the U.S.-flag fleet.

A celebration of the 75th year of the union that is now American Maritime Officers will be held on May 1 on the AMO Plans campus at 2 West Dixie Highway in Dania Beach, Fla.

A barbecue will be hosted from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on May 1 in the courtyard area of the AMO Plans campus, which is accessible from the further-east gate facing West Dixie Highway. Signage will be posted near the gate to direct attendees.

All AMO members and retirees who are not currently staying in on-campus housing for STAR Center will need to complete an online RSVP form in advance for security verification at the event gate to the AMO Plans campus. The form is available on the AMO Plans website.

On May 12, 1949, the union was chartered as the Brotherhood of Marine Engineers (BME), an affiliate of the Seafarers International Union of North America (SIUNA). Over time, the BME expanded its shipboard and regional jurisdictions, and under specific circumstances, changed its name and affiliation – Great Lakes District Local 101 of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association, District 2 MEBA, District 2 MEBA-AMO, and finally, American Maritime Officers. AMO reaffiliated with the SIUNA in 2003.

The following bulletin dated April 26 was released by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Temporary Extension of Administrative Grace Period for Merchant Mariner Credentialing Transactions

The Office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing (CG-MMC) Assistant Commandant for Prevention Policy (CG-5P) has published CG-MMC Policy Letter 01-24, Temporary Extension of Administrative Grace Period for Credentialing Transactions.

This policy letter will allow mariners to renew a merchant mariner credential (MMC) up to 6 years after its expiration without taking the complete original examination. All other credentialing requirements for renewal after expiration remain unchanged, and so in some circumstances an open book examination may be required in accordance with 46 CFR 10.227(e)(1).

Mariners who had previously applied for renewal of their MMC after the 1-year grace period had expired may re-apply for renewal if they are within the new, extended grace period. A new application will be necessary, including payment of required fees, per 46 CFR 10.219.

If you have a current approval to test letter issued by the National Maritime Center (NMC) to re-instate an MMC expired beyond the 1-year administrative grace period but within 6 years, please contact the NMC at or (888) 427-5662.

This policy letter is effective immediately and will remain in effect indefinitely. The Coast Guard will provide additional guidance concerning expiration of this policy as necessary. The policy letter is available on the Merchant Mariner Credentialing Policy Letter webpage.

Mariners and other interested parties should contact the Mariner Credentialing Program Policy Division at or (202) 372-2357 with any questions or feedback.

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The following article was released by the Department of Defense on March 21. Along with the USNS Roy P. Benavidez, the USNS Bobo and USNS Baldomero Lopez will also be traveling to the Gaza region to assist in the mission. All of these Military Sealift Command vessels are manned in licensed positions by American Maritime Officers.

The Bob Hope-class M/V Roy P. Benavidez (T-AKR 306), a large, medium speed roll-on, roll-off ship, departed its pier in Newport News, Virginia, March 21, carrying heavy equipment and material needed to construct a temporary pier to support the flow of multinational humanitarian aid into Gaza.

The ship will anchor in the area to receive fuel prior to proceeding to the Mediterranean Sea.

M/V Roy P. Benavidez, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Ready Reserve Fleet, is transporting components for a floating modular pier system which will be delivered to the U.S. Army’s 7th Transportation Brigade who will construct the temporary pier in the Mediterranean.

This capability is known as Joint Logistics-Over-the-Shore, or JLOTS.

“JLOTS is a critical capability that allows ship-to-shore cargo distribution in the absence of a usable pier,” said Army Lt. Gen. John P. Sullivan, deputy commander, U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM). “It can be used to augment an established port or to create a pier where one is needed and allows us to support areas where large populations are isolated from food, water, and other forms of humanitarian aid.”

JLOTS operations are part of USTRANSCOM’s strategic sealift mission.

Operated by Military Sealift Command for the current JLOTS mission, M/V Roy P. Benavidez is crewed by contracted merchant mariners and is a dry cargo surge sealift carrier capable of transporting up to 380,000 square feet of containerized cargo and rolling stock between developed ports.

“MARAD’s ability to activate the Ready Reserve Force vessel M/V Roy P. Benavidez is a hallmark of our strategic sealift capability,” said Maritime Administrator Ann C. Phillips. “Missions like this – supporting the Armed Forces, highlight the cornerstone capabilities MARAD delivers in support of interagency operations.”

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American Maritime Officers members aboard the M/V USNS Roy P. Benavidez, here in New Port News, Va. in March, included (top row) Third Mate Dennis Hanley, Captain Brian Carroll, Cargo Mate Luis Correa, (bottom row) Chief Mate David Sturdevant, Electronics Officer Steven Barnett and Second Mate Philip Scott. Not seen in the photo is Third Mate Chenequa Moet.

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The U.S. Army’s 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) loads vehicles onto M/V Roy Benavidez (T-AKR-306) March 15. The Navy and the Military Sealift Command will deploy Benavidez, a Bob Hope-class roll-on roll-off vehicle cargo ship to assist with logistics and humanitarian response mission tasking in support of the Army-led deployment of joint logistics over-the-shore (JLOTS).
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The USNS Benavidez will transport parts that will be used to create a floating pier in Gaza to help deliver humanitarian aid to the war-torn region.
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