Above image provided courtesy of Crowley Maritime
The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) took a big step yesterday toward actualizing the Tanker Security Program (TSP), which will provide not just a fleet of U.S.-flagged commercial fuel vessels for national defense concerns but also job opportunities for America’s maritime workforce.
MARAD announced the initial nine enrollees into the program, adding that four of those are already U.S.-flagged vessels now cleared to operate within TSP. The other five are in the process of reflagging to the U.S. registry. MARAD still seeks an applicant to fill the remaining spot in the ten vessel program.
Per the U.S. Department of Transportation announcement, Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips explained the program’s usefulness: “The TSP accomplishes two key maritime sealift objectives: it grows our U.S.-flagged fleet and it significantly expands our ability to deliver vital fuel supplies to support military missions across the globe. Implementation of the TSP is a significant milestone for MARAD and the U.S. maritime industry.”
Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost of U.S. Transportation Command added in a statement online that “the assured access provided by the 60-ship U.S. flag sealift fleet will bolster our ability to conduct operations at sea and meet [Department of Defense] requirements.”
In addition to strengthening the domestic supply chain and reducing reliance on foreign-flagged vessels in crucial national defense operations, the TSP provides good-paying, union jobs for mariners crewing those vessels.
The Maritime Trades Department has repeatedly extolled upon the virtues of the TSP and its related initiatives, the new Cable Security Fleet and the time-tested Maritime Security Program, at our conventions and Executive Board meetings. When government programs create good jobs and serve the national interest at minimal cost to the taxpayer, everyone wins.