The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has announced the enrollment of the first nine ships in the 10-ship Tanker Security Program (TSP), which establishes a fleet of active, commercially-viable, and privately-owned U.S.-flag product tankers available to meet national defense and other Department of Defense requirements.
MARAD says program will help strengthen the U.S. supply chain, improve the movement of liquid fuel products, and support American-owned, American-flagged, and American-crewed commercial product tankers operating in international commercial shipping.
The companies selected for enrollment are Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc., Crowley-Stena Marine Solutions, LLC., and Seabulk Tankers, Inc., which will each contribute three tankers.
The three Crowley-Stena tankers include the Stena Immaculate, Stena Imperative, and Stena Impeccable. The company is a joint venture between Crowley and Stena Bulk USA. OSG previously revealed its three tankers as the medium-range tankers Overseas Santorini, Overseas Mykonos, and Overseas Sun Coast.
Each tanker enrolled in the program will receive an annual stipend up to $6 million for their participation. MARAD said four U.S.-flagged vessels are already in the program, while five others are working with the Coast Guard to reflag to U.S. registry and join the program.
“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,” said Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips. “Implementation of the TSP is a significant milestone for MARAD and the U.S. maritime industry.”
The Tanker Security Program was authorized as a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. The 10-ship program is expected to continue through 2035, but funds must be reappropriated by Congress each year.
MARAD published a solicitation in the Federal Register in July seeking applications from qualified companies for enrollment in program, which is authorized for up to ten tankers. The remaining operating agreement remains open for a qualified vessel and MARAD has published notices in the Federal Register seeking additional applications.
To be eligible for the program, vessels must be Medium Range product tankers between 30,000-60,000 deadweight tons with a fuel capacity of 230,000 barrels or more, less than 10 years old, and willing to commit to an emergency preparedness agreement for the program’s duration.
Vessel operators in the Tanker Security Program must also be enrolled in MARAD’s sexual assault and harassment prevention program, known as EMBARC (short for Every Mariner Builds a Respectful Culture).
“The TSP has been created to provide a fleet of active, commercially viable, militarily useful, privately-owned US flagged product tank vessels trading internationally outside of conventional Jones Act trades,” OSG’s CEO Sam Norton said previously. “With the inception of the TSP, the Department of Defense will have access to an expanded pool of US flagged tankers operating worldwide that will allow for committed, reliable and loyal fuel transportation to the US military during a time of national crisis, as opposed to relying on transportation by foreign-flagged vessels.”
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