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Gimme Shelter Our host one afternoon asked as we drove past smaller local shipyards, "see anything interesting?" We acknowledged some handsome hulls. "I mean, see anyone working on them?" For all we knew, the crews were on their lunchbreak. But a personnel shortage, if not altogether crippling to those in the region, has at least had to be dealt with. Along with everything else, the storm created inter- ruptions that could make any yard late, even with all hands on deck. The advent of guest-worker programs provides a recourse in a pinch, which is a different issue from getting the lawn trimmed at cheap prices. Shipyard skills entail a lot beyond leaf-blowers, and representatives at Bollingers continually praise the quality and work ethic of contracted personnel. The U.S. Department of Labor Employ- ment & Training Administration H-2B nonimmigrant program "permits employers to hire foreign workers to come to the U.S. and perform temporary nonagricultural work, which may be one-time, seasonal, peak load or intermittent. There is a 66,000 per year limit on the number of foreign workers who may receive H-2B guest-worker status." With luck, this would put domestic workers on equal footing in a year or two, when everyone hopes not only trailers but neighborhoods will be available to move into. The guest workers at domestic scale make good money, most of which theoretically to send home. Whereas popular guest-worker debates under Bush proposals nowadays center on workers from south of our borders, Signal International has brought-in about 590 workers from India. "Our supplemental contract labor was about 10% before the storm," said Richard L. Marler, President and CEO of Signal, whose damage from the storm ran about $18-million, "now we're up to 30 to 40%." Most are doing welding and fitting. "We observed the quality of the work the Indians were doing when we were in the mideast," said Mr. Marler, "and with the old British influence there's not much of a language problem." They live in cubicles, probably comfy but not much to look at, though perhaps better than FEMA trailers. Mr. Marler equates their life at the yard with the life they'd experience working offshore, except "We're building them a cricket court." Return of the Native? Regardless of how long the transfiguration takes from barracks and trailers to grocery stores and schools, personnel shortages are evident all over, and have been since so many homes went with the wind. There are billboards along high- "Your search begins by -Jack Fisher, President with Fishers Side Scan Sonars" "Side scan sonars are one of the most effective tools for underwater searches because they create a detailed picture of what's on the bottom. The printout "removes the water" giving a clear picture of the bottom. Fishers SSS-100K side scan lets you search large areas quickly, the SSS-600K finds even the small soft targets, and the SSS-100/600K combines the best features of both systems. Each of their side scan sonars produce a 17" wide high resolution printout to give you a detailed picture unmatched by other low cost side scan systems." removing the water Optional PC display available. 17" wide printout From $19,995 Call for a free catalog or to order our demonstration video. DDW-1 Proton 4 Proton 4 Marine Marine Magnetometer Magnetometer CT-1 Cable Tracker with Signal Injector Pulse 12 SeaLion ROV TOV-1 Towed Video Depressor Wing Boat-towed Metal Detector ROV's from $1,195 $9,995 $9,995 $7,995 $19,995 $4,295 1953 County St., E. Taunton, MA 02718 USA · (800)822-4744 Tel. (508)822-7330 · FAX: (508)880-8949 firstname.lastname@example.org · www.jwfishers.com (800)822-4744 (508)822-7330 · FAX: (508)880-8949 · email: or 822-1931 · JWFishers@aol.com 26 · MarineNews · November 2006