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Our Nation’s merchant mariners embody the highest aspirations of our democracy, always answering our country’s call with commitment and courage. Today, we honor their service and sacrifice. Together, we recommit to meeting our sacred obligation to care for them and their families.

Unbreaking and unbending in their devotion to duty, our merchant mariners have stood for our Nation’s freedom and liberty throughout history – from delivering critical goods and troops to the battlefields of World War II to responding to devastating natural disasters around the world and shipping the goods and military cargo that keep our Nation safe and prosperous. Today, our merchant mariners are continuing this legacy of service, delivering humanitarian aid to people in need and transporting military equipment around the world. At the same time, merchant mariners are engines of our economy. They facilitate international trade and strengthen our supply chains by transporting billions of dollars of goods across oceans, seas, and waterways to the hands of American businesses and consumers.

Our merchant mariners have always met the moment – and my Administration will always have their backs. That is why we are ensuring that ships traveling between United States ports are American-built, American-owned, and American-crewed by enforcing the Jones Act. This will not only support American shipbuilding but will also support good union jobs. Meanwhile, we have made historic investments in our Nation’s infrastructure, including rebuilding our ports so that they are safer, cleaner, and easier and more affordable to move through.

We also recognize that our merchant mariners are strongest when they reflect the full diversity of our Nation. My Budget proposes $191 million for the United States Merchant Marine Academy to educate and train the next generation of seagoing officers and maritime leaders. Additionally, my Administration established Every Mariner Builds A Respectful Culture Standards to prevent sexual assault and harassment and to support survivors.

Today, as we honor all that merchant mariners have done for our Nation, we also recognize the mariners who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our Nation. We owe these fallen heroes a debt of gratitude we can never fully repay. But our Nation will never forget their legacy and that of every mariner who has dared all, risked all, and given all for our Nation.

The Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 20, 1933, has designated May 22 of each year as “National Maritime Day” to commemorate the first transoceanic voyage by a steamship in 1819 by the S.S. Savannah. By this resolution, the Congress has authorized and requested the President to issue annually a proclamation calling for its appropriate observance. I also request that all ships sailing under the American flag dress ship on that day.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 22, 2024, as National Maritime Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day and to celebrate the United States Merchant Marine and maritime industry with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-eighth.


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.

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.

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.

Members of American Maritime Officers are encouraged to attend any of the following National Maritime Day celebrations. AMO National Executive Board members and union representatives will be attending several of the events listed. Links below will provide more information on each event.

American Maritime Officers
STAR Center
Dania Beach, Fla.
May 22, 2024, 11:30 a.m.

United States Maritime Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation West Atrium
Washington D.C.
May 22, 2024
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
More info

Norfolk International Propeller Club
The Battleship Wisconsin
1 Waterside Drive, Norfolk, Va.
May 22, 2024
5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
More info

City of San Pedro, California
American Merchant Marine Veterans Memorial & Walls of Honor
Harbor Boulevard at the foot of 6th Street, San Pedro, Calif.
May 22, 2024
Starting at 11 a.m.
More info

Baltimore Port Alliance
Port of Baltimore on Liberty Ship John W. Brown and Nuclear Ship Savannah
Pier 13 Canton Marine Terminal, 4601 Newgate Ave., Baltimore, Md.
May 19, 2024
Ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m.
More info


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.

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.

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.


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.


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.

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.

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.