MARAD still seeks 10th ship for new Tanker Security Program

Written by Nick Blenkey
Stena Polaris sister ship

Stena Polaris is a sister ship to Stena Impeccable (pictured here) one of the other Stena IMOIIMAX MR tankers reflagged by a Crowley and Stena Bulk JV [Photo: Stena Bulk]

The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) has announced that nine ships have now been enrolled in the Tanker Security Program (TSP). The Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with minor adjustments in the FY22 NDAA, required that the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, establish a fleet of active, commercially viable, militarily useful, and privately-owned product tank vessels to meet national defense and other security requirements. Congress appropriated funding for the TSP in the Fiscal Year 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

As we reported earlier, two of the companies selected for enrollment are Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. (three tank vessels) and Crowley-Stena Marine Solutions, LLC. (three tank vessels). The third is Seabulk Tankers, Inc. (three tank vessels).

All of the companies have signed operating agreements. Of the enrolled vessels, four are under U.S. flag and are now operating in the program, and five are working with the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard to expedite reflagging to U.S. registry to begin operating under TSP agreements. Each tank vessel enrolled will receive a maximum $6 million per year payment, prorated on a monthly basis for qualified service as participants in the program. The vessels will operate in U.S. foreign commerce and be available for use by the United States during times of war or national emergency.  

The new Tanker Security program is authorized for up to ten tankers and MARAD says it is seeking to fill the remaining operating agreement with a qualified vessel. MARAD published notices in the Federal Register seeking applications for enrollment from qualified participants. To qualify for the program, proposed vessels have to qualify as Medium Range product tankers between 30,000-60,000 deadweight tons with fuel carrying capacity of 230,000 barrels or more, be less than 10 years of age, and available to commit to an emergency preparedness agreement for the duration of the program’s authorization. All vessel operators selected for the TSP are required to be enrolled in MARAD’s sexual assault and sexual harassment prevention and response policy program Every Mariner Builds A Respectful Culture (EMBARC).

“Today we are announcing the first ships to join the Tanker Security Program, which will help strengthen both our supply chains and our national security by delivering fuel to our armed forces around the world while creating hundreds of good jobs for American mariners,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

“The TSP accomplishes two key maritime sealift objectives: it grows our U.S.-flagged fleet and it significantly expands our ability to deliver vital fuel supplies to support military missions across the globe,” said Maritime Administrator Ann Phillips. “Implementation of the TSP is a significant milestone for MARAD and the U.S. maritime industry.”

More on the Tanker Security Program HERE

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