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Article on MARAD Ship Disposal Program

Tim Runyan and others in the Maritime Heritage community are quoted in a new article by Paul Benecki in Maritime Executive on MARAD’s ship disposal program.  According to the article:

“From 1994 to 2010, MARAD was required to provide 25 percent of the excess revenue of ship disposal to a matching grant program for maritime heritage organizations – museums, training programs and related groups, the majority of them non-profits. A legislative amendment in 2010 lifted that requirement, permitting the agency to spend the funds on either the grant program or on its own maritime heritage efforts.”

“Dr. Timothy J. Runyan, a professor at East Carolina University and chair of the 1,000-member National Maritime Alliance, says that heritage organizations have not seen enough of that 25 percent over the years, either before 2010 or after. Only three rounds of grants have been awarded so far, in 1998, 2015 and 2016. The long gap between rounds overlapped with the recession and a sharp decline in private funding for the non-profit sector, including donations to heritage organizations. Runyan says that MARAD should have prioritized ‘getting funds out to America’s maritime heritage community . . . [which was] struggling with reduced contributions and visitation during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.'”

“. . . To address these concerns, Runyan is working with Denise Krepp, a representative for ship recyclers and a former chief counsel for MARAD, on a legislative solution. Their efforts – which they describe as a years-long, difficult process – are beginning to bear fruit, despite alleged opposition from MARAD. Elements of their proposal are winning the support of prominent elected officials from both parties, including Senators David Vitter, Bill Cassidy and Roger Wicker, and Representatives Randy Forbes, Garret Graves, Duncan Hunter, and Donald Norcross.”

“If successful, their language will be included in the final version of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, expected in August. The amendment would restore the 25 percent allocation for heritage grants and compel MARAD to give an account of funds from ship disposals. . . .”

For the full article by Paul Benecki in the Maritime Executive, see http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/maritime-museums-seek-grant-funding-changes

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