The Fletcher School: Maritime Studies

Voyages

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NorwayThe Neptunes are a group of Fletcherites who collectively continue to pursue their interest in oceanic studies. Under the guidance of Professor Perry, they have toured the major US Atlantic and Pacific ports, Coast Guard facilities, oyster farms, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and participated in an Arctic shipping conference in Norway.

In years past they have undertaken voyages to explore the oceanic experiences of the Netherlands, New York City, Britain, Iberia, China, Japan, and the Malacca Straits.

Each voyage aims to investigate aspects of the role of the ocean as source, avenue, and arena: a source of foodstuffs and energy, of recreation and cultural inspiration, an avenue for the flow of goods, people, and ideas, and an arena for struggle and warfare.

Spring 2013

Port of NY/NJ

Venturing out of New England, several students and one alumni made a quick trip down to the Port of NY/NJ. We received an extensive tour of the Port’s dry, liquid, and break-bulk facilities, and the primary containerized cargo terminals in the Port of Newark and Elizabeth. We discussed competition on the Eastern seaboard, Panama Canal expansion impact, and port security.

Port of NY/NJ
Port of NY/NJ

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

At Fletcher we must not forget the importance of scientific research and continued exploration of our oceans. WHOI is one of the world’s foremost oceanographic institutions and what a privilege it was to have a tour of their facilities and hear first hand their quest to improve and promote knowledge about our global maritime commons.

Coast Guard Base Boston

Organized by a Coast Guard official on leave to complete a Masters here at Fletcher, we had a wonderful tour of their facilities right down in the North End of Boston. We boarded several different cutters and were impressed by the variety of national security and environmental organizations the Coast Guard is required to interface with.

Summer 2013

Port of Portland, Maine

We toured several oil and dry cargo port facilities in Portland, Maine, where we were warmly received by our host, John H. Henshaw, a Fletcher School alumnus and Executive Director of the Maine Port Authority. Portland is home to New England’s only major crude oil terminal, which since opening to tankers in 1941 has supplied over four billion barrels via pipeline to refineries in the Montreal area. While touring the facilities we heard first-hand accounts of a heated local debate around the proposed reversal of the Maine-Quebec pipeline, which in light of dwindling imports would transform Portland into an export outlet for Alberta tar sands crude oil. We left Portland deeply impressed by the terminal operators and staff, who were a model of professionalism and good humor.

Portland, ME
Portland, ME

Oslo Ministerial Visits

In August 2013 a Fletcher delegation traveled to Oslo, on its way to Svalbard. There we received briefings on Norway’s strategic interests in the High North (as Norwegians call the Arctic) by government officials (see photo above) at the Norwegian Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Ministry of the Environment, and Ministry of Fisheries. We had the distinct pleasure of meeting the U.S. Ambassador to Norway, Ambassador Barry White, and were briefed by the U.S. Embassy’s lead Arctic expert on America’s priorities as an Arctic nation. Additionally, we met with the World Wildlife Fund and the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies (IFS), the foremost security and defense think tank in Norway, where we explored a non-governmental perspective on challenges and realities facing this new frontier.

Svalbard, Norway

Following our briefings in Oslo, Fletcher School students and alumni had the unique opportunity to travel to Svalbard, Norway, for a research trip to participate in a conference on the prospects for Arctic Shipping. actively learn about the challenges and opportunities emerging in the Arctic. We listened to lectures by prominent Norwegian experts on Arctic shipping technology, natural resource extraction, climate change and sea ice conditions, search and rescue, indigenous peoples, and geopolitics.

Svalbard, Norway
Svalbard, Norway

Fall 2013

Oyster Farm Tour

At the base of Cape Cod in East Dennis, Massachusetts, Fletcher students visited Big Rock Oyster Farm to learn more about this ecologically friendly and delicious bivalve.

Big Rock Oyster Farm, East Dennis, Massachusetts
Big Rock Oyster Farm, East Dennis, Massachusetts

Big Rock Oyster Farm, East Dennis, Massachusetts
Big Rock Oyster Farm, East Dennis, Massachusetts

Spring 2014

West Coast Maritime Tour

Three intrepid Fletcher students utilized their graduate school winter break to learn more about the United States’ west coast maritime industry. We started with a bang at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. It was impressive to see the scale of the two largest intermodal ports in the US and learn about their environmental sustainability initiatives, community relations programs, and facilities handling enormous volumes of diversified international trade. We drove the beautiful Pacific coast highway north to the Port of Oakland. There, we learned more about labor unions role at port, long term strategic planning, and port competition. We then headed inland for the long drive to Portland, Oregon. It was fascinating to contrast the containerized import facilities we mostly saw further south and the bulk exporting facilities of the Columbia River. Lastly, we made our way westward to speak with Coast Guard Base Astoria and get on a Cutter at the confluence of the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean – otherwise known as the “graveyard of the Pacific.”

West Coast Maritime Tour
West Coast Maritime Tour

West Coast Maritime Tour
West Coast Maritime Tour

CMA Conference, Stamford, CT

Connecticut Maritime Association is the largest commercial shipping association in the US. Every March,  CMA holds America’s most prominent international shipping conference which Fletcher students attended to gain valuable insight from industry leaders.