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  October 18th, 2023 | Written by

US Department of Transportation Bolsters Defense and Economic Supply Chain through Maritime Programs

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) Enhances Maritime and Tanker Security Programs, Reinforcing U.S. National Defense and Economic Resilience.

Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) has declared the full enrollment of its Maritime Security Program (MSP) and Tanker Security Program (TSP). These essential initiatives offer the Department of Defense (DoD) access to a fleet of U.S.-flagged sustainment sealift vessels and product tankers, ensuring readiness during times of armed conflict or national emergency. Simultaneously, these programs fortify the U.S. supply chain and contribute to job creation.

“In peacetime, our U.S.-flagged commercial fleet plays a vital role in our supply chain. In times of war and crisis, it supports military missions worldwide,” emphasized U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “In the years to come, these vessels will be instrumental in delivering critical goods, strengthening both our economy and national security, and providing quality employment for American mariners.”

The MSP has chosen the LIBERTY POWER and TULANE vessels, both operating under Liberty Global Logistics, LLC in Lake Success, N.Y., and Fidelio Limited Partnership in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., respectively. The U.S.-flagged LIBERTY POWER, a twelve-year-old roll-on roll-off vessel (RO/RO), offers a militarily useful cargo capacity of 220,586 square feet, while the eleven-year-old TULANE, also an RO/RO vessel, provides 194,665 square feet of militarily useful cargo capacity. The TULANE is set to reflag under U.S. registry by the end of the year and will be renamed the ARC HONOR.

The final product tanker selected for TSP is the PYXIS EPSILON, under U.S. Marine Management, LLC in Norfolk, VA. This eight-year-old vessel, with a 325,000 barrel capacity, is scheduled to reflag under U.S. registry by the end of this year and will be renamed the SHENANDOAH TRADER.

Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips highlighted the significance of MSP and TSP, emphasizing their dual role in growing the U.S.-flagged commercial fleet, benefiting the U.S. economy, and sustaining the ability to deliver vital supplies for global military missions. MSP, established in 1996, has been a cornerstone of the U.S. maritime industry for over 27 years, while the recently created TSP supports a fleet of ten commercial product tankers operating internationally, capable of loading, transporting, and storing bulk petroleum refined products to support national economic security and DoD contingency requirements.

“These vessels play a pivotal role in enhancing global readiness and safeguarding our nation’s supply chains. Both MSP and TSP underscore our steadfast commitment to national security and economic stability, exemplifying the indispensable partnership between MARAD and USTRANSCOM,” noted Commander of U.S. Transportation Command, Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost. Both programs address the shortage of both U.S.-flag ships and U.S. Coast Guard-credentialed Mariners with unlimited licenses, further strengthening national defense and economic resilience.