The state of the U.S.-flag fleet is at a tipping point. The American oceangoing fleet has dropped to only 82 U.S.-flag ships in foreign trade. The Maritime Administration has testified that with a fleet this size we no longer can crew all US.-flag commercial and government reserve sealift vessels for a sustained period of more than six months if we face a national emergency or war.
The state of our U.S.-flag fleet could become a national security risk as foreign-flagged vessels cannot be expected to provide the necessary movement of strategic materials in a time of war. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over 95% of all military ocean borne cargoes were moved on U.S.-flag vessels, and government-owned sealift vessels activated from reserve status and crewed by U.S. merchant mariners.
A new bill has been introduced that will revitalize the maritime community, create thousands of jobs, and strengthen our national security. By requiring a portion of energy exports to travel on U.S.-built, U.S.-flag vessels, this bipartisan, bicameral bill ensures the U.S.-flag fleet will grow and that we invest in American shipyards.
The Energizing American Shipbuilding Act introduced by Rep. John Garamendi (H.R.3829) and Senator Roger Wicker (S.2167) invests in our U.S.-flag fleet and American shipyard industry. This legislation would gradually require up to 10% of exports of strategic energy assets and 15% of exported American Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to travel on U.S.-flagged and U.S.-built vessels by 10 percent of total seaborne crude oil exports by 2033.
Requiring a small amount of strategic energy asset exports to be carried on U.S.-built, U.S.-flagged ships will revitalize the maritime industry, create thousands of jobs, and strengthen our sealift capability and shipbuilding industrial base.
Why you should take action
Let members of congress know their constituents are Navy League members who understand that supporting the Mariners and Shipbuilders that make up the U.S.-flag fleet is critical to our national security. Ask them to co-sponsor this bill!