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Posted: March 6, 2017

Bipartisan Energizing American Maritime Act aims to grow U.S.-flag fleet, create American jobs

Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), ranking member on the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, has introduced the Energizing American Maritime Act (H.R. 1240), bipartisan legislation that would require up to 30 percent of U.S. exports of strategic energy assets to be carried by U.S.-flagged vessels. H.R. 1240 is cosponsored by Congressmen John "Jimmy" Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) and Duncan Hunter (R-CA), chairman of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.

"American Maritime Officers stands in strong support of this initiative from Congressmen Garamendi, Duncan and Hunter to grow the U.S.-flag merchant fleet and expand the job base for the most qualified professional mariners in the world - American merchant mariners," said AMO National President Paul Doell. "Increasing U.S.-flag participation in international trade will create new jobs, strengthen national security and bolster U.S. defense sealift capabilities."

In a statement released March 3, Rep. Garamendi said: "The state of the American maritime industry is in crisis-level decline. After World War II, our oceangoing fleet of U.S.-flagged ships numbered 1,200. Today, it's fewer than 80. This isn't just an economic concern - it's also a national security risk. 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 U.S.-flagged ships will compel us to rebuild the technical skill to man these vessels - and with that comes good, high-paying, maritime jobs.

"We're the most powerful nation in the world, but 99 percent of our trade travels on foreign-flagged ships," he said. "To develop the kinds of jobs that will keep the American economic engine moving, we need to right this ship and grow America's maritime sector."