- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The fallout from the death of the DP World deal continued yesterday, when the White House withdrew the nomination of one of the company’s executives to run the U.S. Maritime Administration.

David Sanborn was nominated in January by President Bush to lead the administration, which oversees the nation’s ports. He also is director of operations in Europe and Latin America for the firm, which is owned by the government of Dubai, one of the seven United Arab Emirates.

White House spokeswoman Erin Healy said the withdrawal was at Mr. Sanborn’s request, which was made in a letter to the president yesterday.

“The withdrawal was done at his request, and we are honoring his request,” she said.

She would not comment on whether the move was connected with the sudden end of DP World’s proposed takeover of operations at terminals in six U.S. ports, the result of the Arab company’s takeover of Britain’s Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co.

“While I believe my background makes me one of the most qualified people there is for this position, the convergence of a number of factors bring me to the conclusion that I cannot effectively serve my country, you, and the U.S. maritime industry,” Mr. Sanborn wrote in his letter to Mr. Bush.

Mr. Sanborn was nominated for the post Jan. 18, by which time the DP World takeover had been reported in the business press and the Committee on Foreign Investments in the U.S. had begun its 30-day inquiry on the deal.

There was no mention of the DP World deal at his confirmation hearing in February, but once the takeover was blocked by angry lawmakers, the nomination ran into trouble. Several senators, including Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida Democrat, had vowed to block the appointment. Both Mr. Nelson and Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, had put holds on the nomination.

The U.S. Maritime Administration is part of the Transportation Department. It keeps data on U.S. ports and shipping, finds U.S.-flagged ships for the military to use as cargo vessels, disposes of old ships and oversees the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Mr. Sanborn had been an officer in the Navy and graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

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