U.S. Senators introduce bill to boost U.S. flag shipping

The following press release was issued December 12.

United States Senators Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) have introduced the Energizing American Shipbuilding Act, designed to increase U.S. exports of liquified natural gas (LNG) and crude oil on American built, flagged, and crewed vessels, and, subsequently, expand U.S. domestic shipbuilding industrial base.

U.S. Congressmen John Garamendi (D-California) and Rob Wittman (R-Virginia) have introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Energy security is national security. There is a global energy demand and if the United States does not step up to the plate, our adversaries will fill the void. The United States — and Mississippi — can lead the way,” Wicker said. “South Mississippi is home to a significant portion of our country’s shipbuilding industry. This bill would support American shipbuilding and pay dividends for the Magnolia State. It’s a win-win for our economy and jobs.”

From Philadelphia to Erie, Pennsylvania shipyards have produced many of the vessels that have made our maritime industry and our Navy strong,” said Casey. “Requiring an increasing share of natural gas and oil exports to be transported aboard American-built, American-crewed ships is an investment in our national defense, the economic competitiveness of American shipbuilders and mariners, and the communities they call home.”

“I am pleased to again partner with Senators Wicker and Casey and my House colleagues on this critical bill. While I support the long-term transition to a global economy powered by clean energy, I believe strongly that any continued U.S. exports of petroleum and natural gas should be on American-built vessels. American shipyards and mariners are ready for the job, and our bipartisan bill ensures they are no longer expected to compete against heavily subsidized foreign shipyards in Korea, China, and elsewhere,” Garamendi said. “In 1995, Congress required that all crude oil exported from Alaska’s North Slope be transported on U.S.-flagged vessels to preserve the tanker fleet essential to our national defense. It was good policy then, and it is good policy now.”

“The Energizing American Shipbuilding Act is a decisive step toward securing America’s future,” Wittman said. “By prioritizing U.S. shipbuilding and manufacturing in exporting liquefied natural gas and crude oil, we break free from foreign subsidy competition and revitalize our merchant fleet. This bipartisan, bicameral effort is a beacon for job creation, national defense, and sustained American economic strength.”

The bill would require that vessels built in the U.S. transport 15 percent of total seaborne LNG exports by 2043 and 10 percent of total seaborne crude oil exports by 2035. If enacted, the bill is expected to spur the construction of dozens of ships, supporting thousands of good-paying jobs in American shipyards, while also boosting domestic vessel component manufacturing and maritime industries.

The bill has received endorsements from several maritime groups, including the American Shipbuilding Suppliers Association; American Maritime Officers; International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots Maritime Union; Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association; Maritime Institute for Research and Development (MIRAID); Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO; Sailors’ Union of the Pacific; Shipbuilders Council of America; Seafarers International Union of North America; Transportation Trades Department AFL-CIO and the Transportation Institute.