American Maritime Officer: July 2020

Members of Congress, USTRANSCOM express strong support for U.S.-flag fleet, crucial maritime programs

In recent months as the U.S. maritime industry and U.S. Merchant Marine have continued to deliver to meet the needs of American commerce, national defense and national security throughout the response to the global coronavirus pandemic - and as the Jones Act marked its centennial in June - congressional and military leaders have spoken out and written in support of the vital roles served by the U.S.-flag fleet and sustaining and enhancing the laws and programs that sustain the U.S. maritime industry in every trade, particularly during a period of severe economic downturn such as the nation is currently experiencing.

In letters to the chairmen and ranking members of a total of six committees and subcommittees in the Senate and House of Representatives dated May 15, the Commander of U.S. Transportation Command, Gen. Stephen Lyons (U.S. Army), requested enhanced support for U.S.-flagged vessels enrolled in the Maritime Security Program and Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement, as well as expansion of U.S. cargo preference requirements pertaining to government-impelled cargoes, to support the service of U.S.-flagged commercial vessels and American mariners tasked with providing sealift support for military operations and sustained deployments.

"The U.S. flagged sealift industry is vital to National Defense as it enables the Department of Defense (DOD) to deploy and sustain forces on U.S. vessels crewed by U.S. merchant mariners. The Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) and Maritime Security Program (MSP) provide a fleet of active, commercially viable, militarily useful, privately owned vessels crewed by U.S. merchant mariners to meet National Defense requirements," Gen. Lyons wrote. Read more...