Last week, Congressman John Garamendi (D- CA), the ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee for Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, introduced The Energizing American Shipbuilding Act of 2018.
The bipartisan bill, which would require the construction of over fifty ships and the creation of thousands of maritime and mariners’ jobs, is being carried in the Senate by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS).
In an interview with AJOT, Garamendi said that projections of 50 new shipbuildings by 2040 comes from “the legislationwhich requires a small percentage of exported crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to be transported on U.S.-built and U.S.-flagged vessels. These ships will create jobs for U.S.shipyard workers and jobs for U.S. mariners manning the ships…Based on a recent conversation with Chevron, I learned they plan to invest $30 billion more in oil production facilities in the next four years most of which will be for export. So, our projections may understate the potential.”
Garamendi told AJOT he is hopeful of passage of the legislation because “support is not only bi-partisan, it is bi-cameral, and support is based on broad-based support of shipbuilders, component suppliers such as propeller and crankshafts and by the maritime and shipbuilding unions and workers.”
He hopes the proposed legislation will become law by the end of 2018.
Garamendi and Wicker introduced the bill at a press conference together with Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Seapower Committee, Congressman Rob Whitman (R-VA).
“We can have the best military equipment and trained warfighters in the world, but without the sealift capacity to get them to where they need to go, it doesn’t do much good,” said Congressman Hunter: This bill will have strong national security implications and I applaud its introduction.”
“The domestic maritime industry supports hundreds of thousands of American jobs and is critical to our military readiness and national security,” said Wicker. “This bill would strengthen our shipbuilding industry and would recognize the importance of having more American-flagged ships to transport our growing exports of oil and natural gas. China, India, and other nations are investing heavily in their shipbuilding capacity. The United States must keep up.”
Bob McCracken, vice president, Nucor Steel said: “Nucor Steel Hertford County produces nearly 1.5 million tons of high quality steel plate for many of America’s critical security needs…We would be proud to support the production of more energy exporting vessels and commend the sponsors of this legislation for requiring that the steel used is melted and poured in the U.S., guaranteeing that the know-how and technology to build these ships will be found in America for decades to come.”
Endorsing organizations include Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA); Offshore Marine Services Association (OMSA); Navy League; American Shipbuilding Suppliers Association; American Maritime Officers Service; American Maritime Officers; International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; United Steelworkers; Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (MEBA); Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM); Seafarers International Union; Masters Mates & Pilots; Transportation Trades Department AFL-CIO; Transportation Institute; Maritime Institute for Research and Development (MIRAID); Council of American Master Mariners (CAMM); Propeller Club of Northern California.