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Posted: December 29, 2009

M/T Maersk Michigan joins MSP fleet

American Maritime Officers manning tanker for Argent Marine under Maritime Security Program

The M/T Maersk Michigan officially joined the Maritime Security Program (MSP) fleet Dec. 28, 2009, after being selected for the open slot under the management of Argent Marine Operations Inc., the vessel management and operations unit of Argent Marine Companies.

Argent will operate the Maersk Michigan under a bareboat charter from Maersk Line, Limited. The Maersk Michigan is a 47,000 DWT 182-meter double-hulled medium-range tanker built in 2003. Argent has signed a contract with American Maritime Officers (AMO), which will continue to man the ship in all licensed positions.

“Our new agreement secures more jobs for AMO members in the Maritime Security Program and expands our role in supporting this critical cornerstone of U.S. maritime policy,” said AMO National President Tom Bethel. “We are very excited about the opportunity to work with Argent Marine, and we look forward to the continued successful operation of the Michigan as it joins the MSP fleet.”

Argent is best known in the shipping community for having owned and managed two Newport News-built 125,000-cubic-meter liquefied natural gas tankers the company time chartered to an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell in the 1990s.

“We are enthusiastic to work with AMO on this important program and we anticipate that AMO will provide the Michigan with the highest levels of operational excellence,” said Hersh Kohut, senior vice president of Argent Marine Operations and formerly the president of ARCO Marine during the time it operated Alaska North Slope tankers.

The Maersk Michigan is expected to operate in the Persian Gulf. The MSP fleet consists of 60 U.S.-flagged ships that typically operate in international commercial trades and are made available to the Department of Defense for military sealift operations during times of war, conflict and crisis.

In addition to the Maersk Michigan, AMO represents all licensed officers working aboard eight car carriers, four containerships and two heavy-lift ships in the MSP fleet.