It’s that time of the year again! Time to advocate for the Maritime Security Program (MSP) for FY 2013, that is. Aside from the “”Jones Act”” which protects domestic shipping in the U.S., the MSP is instrumental in preventing the demise of the international U.S.-flag fleet. There is an excellent overview of the program in the attached brochure. Also attached are the current companies and vessels involved in the program.
The following description of the MSP is ripped straight from the Maritime Administration (MARAD) website :
On October 8, 1996, the President signed the Maritime Security Act of 1996 establishing the Maritime Security Program (MSP) for Fiscal Years (FY) 1996 through 2005. On November 24, 2003, the President signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, which contained the Maritime Security Act of 2003 (MSA 2003) reauthorizing the MSP for FY 2006 through FY 2015. The MSP final rule which implements MSA 2003 is published at 70 Federal Register 55581-55597, September 22, 2005.
The MSA 2003 requires that the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, to establish a fleet of active, commercially viable, militarily useful, privately-owned vessels to meet national defense and other security requirements. MSA 2003 authorizes $156 million annually for FYs 2006, 2007, and 2008; $174 million annually for FYs 2009, 2010, and 2011; and $186 million annually for FYs 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 to support the operation of 60 U.S.-flag vessels in the foreign commerce of the United States. Participating operators are required to make their ships and commercial transportation resources available upon request by the Secretary of Defense during times of war or national emergency.
The MSP maintains a modern U.S.-flag fleet providing military access to vessels and vessel capacity, as well as a total global, intermodal transportation network. This network includes not only vessels, but logistics management services, infrastructure, terminals facilities and U.S. citizen merchant mariners to crew the government owned/controlled and commercial fleets.
On January 12, 2005 the Maritime Administration awarded MSP operating agreements for 60 ships. Since implementation of the MSP in 2005, 30 of the original MSP ships have been replaced with more modern and capable ships.
The Democratic and Republican leadership of the House Armed Services Committee are asking their Congressional colleagues to join them on the attached letter to demonstrate the strong bipartisan support for this program and the U.S.-flag fleet. I encourage all supporters of the U.S. Merchant Marine to either forward this letter and information to their respective Congressmen and U.S. Senators or link to this post.