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ARM MERCHANT SHIPS?
Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

August 31, 2009

Heavy lift cargo ship reflagged U.S.

In a brief ceremony at Industrial Terminals in Houston, Texas, Congressman Gene Green (29th District Texas) directed the raising of the U.S. flag on the country's newest cargo vessel, the Ocean Charger.

The 8,000 dwt ex-Industrial Charger, ex-Virgo J is the third sister ship to be brought under the U.S. flag by US Ocean, a deep sea operating company represented by Intermarine.

In his remarks, Congressman Green noted that through financing backed by the U.S. Export/Import Bank, American manufacturers are able to compete for construction projects around the world. Their success provides thousands of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. and drives the demand for more U.S.-flagged cargo vessels to carry the components to destination. As the ceremony was progressing, stevedores were busy loading two oil rigs manufactured in the Houston area under Ex-Im Bank programs and destined for Mumbai, India.

Note: Congressman Gren was referring to "PR 17 cargoes." Public Resolution No. 17 (PR-17) of the 73rd Congress states that certain ocean-borne cargo supported by U.S. government credit entities must be transported on U.S. flag vessels unless this requirement is waived on a case-by-case basis by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD). Ex-Im Bank interprets this legislation as requiring that exports financed through Ex-Im Bank's direct loan and long-term guarantee programs be subject to the U.S. flag vessel requirement. These transactions include: direct loans, regardless of amount; and guarantee transactions with either: (a) a financed amount greater than $20 million (excluding Ex-Im Bank's exposure fee) or (b) a repayment period greater than 7 years. If a waiver from MARAD is obtained, Ex-Im Bank may provide financing for goods shipped on vessels of non-U.S. registry

Intermarine first entered the U.S. Flag Merchant Marine Fleet in 2001 with the reflagging of the Industrial Challenger (now the Ocean Atlas). This was followed in 2005 with the Ocean Titan and now the Ocean Charger is the third US Flag vessel represented by Intermarine. All three vessels are modern box hold heavy lift cargo ships with dual 200 metric ton cranes capable of 400 ton lifts. Together they are the only heavy lift U.S. flagged merchant vessels.

Industrial Terminals in Houston is the largest breakbulk project cargo terminal in the U.S. and the loadcenter for all Intermarine services in the Americas. Overall Intermarine services sail almost 200 voyages a year from the facility, carrying about 3 million revenue tons of cargo.


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