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In the annual National Maritime Day proclamation, President Joe Biden paid tribute not only the history of the men and women who have served aboard U.S.-flag commercial vessels since the beginning of the United States, he also thanked the current mariners who continue to deliver the goods during the current pandemic.

“We also salute the remarkable efforts of our entire maritime industry throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They put the well-being of the American people first, risking their lives to ensure that essential cargoes of medical supplies and personal protective equipment were delivered to those in need across our Nation,” Biden stated in the proclamation.

In addition, Biden renewed his support for the Jones Act, the nation’s freight cabotage law:

“My Administration continues its unwavering support of the United States Merchant Marine, as well as the Jones Act, which protects the integrity of our domestic maritime industry, supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, and contributes over $150 billion in economic benefits.”

National Maritime Day is held on May 22 each year. It recognizes the first transoceanic steamship voyage, which was conducted in 1819 by the SS Savannah.

The full text of the presidential proclamation may be seen here.