Friday, March 3, 2017

Legislators Call For US-Flag LNG Carriers

Legislators Call For US-Flag LNG Carriers: New legislation proposed this week would require up to 30 percent of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to travel on U.S.-flagged vessels.

The U.S. is expected to continue ramping up its LNG exports in the coming years and become a net exporter by 2020, yet there are currently no U.S.-flag carriers to carry the cargo.

“We’re the most powerful nation in the world, but 99 percent of our trade travels on foreign-flagged ships,” said Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, Davis, Yuba City), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, who introduced the bill (H.R. 1240 “Energizing American Maritime Act”) this week.

“We need to right this ship and grow America’s maritime sector,” Garamendi said.

Garamendi contends that requiring a percentage of energy American exports to be carried on U.S. ships would strengthen the nation’s economy as well as national security.

“We can’t rely on foreign-flagged vessels to provide the necessary movement of strategic materials in a time of war. Requiring even a minority of strategic energy asset exports to be carried on U.S.-flagged ships will compel us to rebuild the technical skill to man these vessels—and with that comes good, high-paying, maritime jobs.”

The proposed rule would require a new fleet of U.S.-built LNG carriers, which have not been constructed domestically since before 1980. There are currently no LNG carriers registered under the U.S. flag.