December 21, 2006
Suez LNG to provide on-board training for U.S. mariners
SUEZ LNG NA LLC (SUEZ )has announced what it says is "a groundbreaking agreement with the U.S. Maritime Administration designed to begin generating employment opportunities for U.S. mariners onboard liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels."
Currently, there are no U.S-flagged LNG vessels. SUEZ' ships, for example, are flagged primarily under Norway and Spain. As a result, there are no U.S.-licensed mariners on these vessels, and the U.S. shipping industry does not currently share in this growing job market.
Under the agreement, SUEZ has agreed to provide training opportunities for both U.S. citizen officers and cadets to obtain the experience and sea time necessary to qualify as LNG officers. In addition, SUEZ pledged its efforts to employ a mix of U.S. trained officers and unlicensed mariners on its existing fleet of chartered LNG vessels as well as those under construction and at the Neptune LNG Deepwater Port project.
Through a conference call with reporters, Sean T. Connaughton, U.S. Maritime Administrator said, "We are pleased to announce this commitment and the innovative public/private partnership with SUEZ - the first of its kind in this international industry. The growth of LNG shipments, both to the U.S. and globally, has created an opportunity for American mariners to work onboard foreign-flagged LNG vessels. We hope our agreement with SUEZ sparks a new era of U.S. involvement in the LNG shipping trade."
"Our company works everyday to be a pacesetter within the LNG industry," said Joseph McKechnie, Senior Vice President, Shipping SUEZ Global LNG. "We have been a leader in the increased importation of LNG into the U.S, and have long supported the training of U.S. mariners, through programs such as our cadet program with the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Now through this agreement with the Maritime Administration, we look forward to promoting a new level of opportunity within our business for professional U.S. mariners."