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Jones Act, climate and location listed as top hurdles for Guam's maritime sector


Capt. Nick Simmons, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam and Captain of the Port Guam Zone, welcomes participants to the second annual Industry Day on Nov. 20, 2023, in Guam. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer Sara Muir

By Chief Warrant Officer Sara Muir U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia / Sector Guam U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam hosted its second annual Industry Day on Guam on Nov. 20. Following the success of the inaugural session in 2022, this event further strengthened the collaboration between the U.S. Coast Guard and the maritime industry. The day's agenda included insightful presentations and discussions led by U.S. Coast Guard officials and industry experts. Topics ranged from domestic vessel inspection and maritime cybersecurity to modernization updates from the Port of Guam.


This Industry Day is significant for the U.S. Coast Guard and the maritime industry. It provides a unique platform for a mutual exchange of ideas and challenges, helping to build a stronger, more informed maritime community. Guam's maritime community faces unique challenges distinct from those on the mainland U.S., largely due to its geographical location, the impacts of climate change and specific legal and regulatory frameworks.


These include increased heat, stronger storms, and water shortages, affecting maritime activities and marine ecosystems.


The Jones Act poses constraints, especially given Guam's exemption nuances, impacting shipping efficiency and costs.


The significant military presence and activities on Guam also influence maritime operations, requiring careful coordination and management of resources. Customs and trade regulations treat shipments to and from Guam differently than within the mainland U.S. Furthermore, maintaining the security of the strategically vital Port of Guam necessitates ongoing collaboration and training exercises among the U.S. Coast Guard, the Government of Guam, and industry partners. "In Guam and the broader Micronesian region, we confront challenges distinct from those encountered stateside. The strength and dedication of our maritime community and partners enable us to navigate these unique circumstances effectively," said Capt. Nicholas Simmons, commander for CGFMSG and Captain of the Port Guam Zone, highlighting the collaborative efforts in addressing regional challenges.


"This event symbolizes our commitment to fostering robust collaboration and a deeper understanding of our dynamic maritime environment. Together, we are addressing these challenges and transforming them into opportunities for growth and enhanced maritime safety and security," he added.

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Benefits for participants: - For the U.S. Coast Guard, the event offers an opportunity to outline current challenges and future directions, gaining valuable insights from industry experts. - Industry members can learn about shared needs and challenges while identifying potential solutions and benefiting from direct feedback. - The event facilitates networking, collaboration, and partnership opportunities among industry peers and government officials. "The U.S. Coast Guard Industry Day is more than just a conference; it's a cornerstone for building a resilient and proactive maritime community," said Lt. Cmdr. Al Blaisdell, the prevention department head for CGFMSG.


"We appreciate the strong participation from all interested parties to join us in this significant event, which was informative, engaging, and pivotal for the future of maritime industry and security in the region," he added.


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