A bipartisan bill titled Energizing American Maritime Act was introduced last week to the US Congress requiring up to 30 percent of US liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to be carried on US-flagged ships.
Unveiled by US Congressman John Garamendi, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, the bill would strengthen the country’s domestic maritime industry.
“The state of the American maritime industry is in crisis-level decline,” Garamendi said, adding that this is not just an economic concern, but a national security risk as well.
After World War II, the oceangoing fleet of US-flagged ships numbered 1,200. Today, this number dropped to less than 80, while 99 percent of US trade travels on foreign-flagged ships.
“We can’t rely on foreign-flagged vessels to provide the necessary movement of strategic materials in a time of war. Requiring even a minority of strategic energy asset exports to be carried on US-flagged ships will compel us to rebuild the technical skill to man these vessels—and with that comes good, high-paying, maritime jobs,” Garamendi further informed.
“The legislation would revitalize the maritime industry by creating thousands of seafaring jobs,” Marshall Ainley, President of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, said.
“The enactment of this legislation will both ensure that at least some of the jobs associated with the export of LNG will go to American maritime workers and help guarantee that we will have the civilian maritime manpower needed to support America’s national security requirements in time of war or other international emergency,” Captain Don Marcus, Masters, Mates and Pilots President, said.