News Releases

Murray Works for More Washington State Jobs in Shipbuilding and Commercial Fishing

Jul 19 2002

Language in Senate bill will create new jobs for the Puget Sound region by allowing shipbuilders to construct boats up to 165 long

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) yesterday secured language in the final fiscal year 2003 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill, which will support increased shipbuilding in Washington state.

The language, added to the American Fisheries Act (AFA), will strengthen the regional economy by allowing large fishing vessels to be built in the Puget Sound region.

"Washington state has the second highest unemployment rate in the country," Senator Murray said. "Creating new jobs is one of my highest priorities. I'm pleased that we made progress by removing a barrier to new job creation in the shipbuilding and commercial fisheries industries."

Senator Murray was contacted by several Washington state shipyards that were ready to build new fishing vessels but had been prohibited from doing so because of a technicality.

Under the Coast Guard's interpretation of current law, new fishing vessels were limited to 75 feet in length, even though the intent of the law was to allow new fishing vessels of up to 165 feet to be built.

Mr. Robert T. McMahon, Vice President and General Manager of the Shipyard Division of Marco Seattle, Inc., first contacted Senator Murray in 2000 asking for her help with this issue.

"We're pleased that the language has been corrected," Mr. McMahon said today. "New contracts are now more likely, which will result in greater employment for our company. Each new boat means 50 more jobs for us."

"The new language in the final emergency spending bill will require the Coast Guard to change its interpretation to follow Congressional intent. Several shipbuilding contracts that had been on hold will now be able to move forward, which means more jobs for Seattle and other shipbuilding communities, and for the commercial fishing industry." said Murray.