Letter sent to Trump administration urges support of U.S.-flag vessels

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…if there was a man out there whose hand I would want to shake, it’s John Garamendi’s!

Letter sent to Trump administration urges support of U.S.-flag vessels

By David Krapf on March 29, 2019

On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., sent a bipartisan, bicameral letter urging U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to ensure that U.S.-flagged and crewed vessels play a key role in the transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to China.

Recent reports indicate that an agreement to end the retaliatory tariffs between the U.S. and China will include substantial commitments by the Chinese to purchase U.S. LNG exports. Sen. Wicker and Rep. Garamendi’s letter urges the administration to use this opportunity to create new jobs in the U.S. and reinvigorate the U.S.-flag international fleet.

“America is on pace to be the third largest producer of LNG exports by 2020. If we don’t use these trade negotiations to require our LNG exports to ship on U.S. vessels, the United States will continue exporting its LNG on foreign-flagged ships manned by foreign crews,” Garamendi said in a statement. “The U.S.-flag international fleet has declined 60% since 1991 to just 80 vessels. These negotiations give us the opportunity to reenergize American shipyards and rebuild our nation’s dwindling merchant fleet, which provides a vital economic stimulus and critical sealift capacity for our military. I look forward to establishing a dialogue with the administration on this matter, and I thank Senator Wicker for leading the effort in the Senate to grow the U.S.-flag fleet.”

“The United States should seize every opportunity to bolster our domestic maritime industry,” Wicker said. “As we pursue stronger trade agreements with China and other nations, I urge the administration to consider supporting the American merchant marine fleet by requiring liquid natural gas and crude oil exports be transported by U.S.-flagged and crewed vessels.”

Last Congress, Wicker and Garamendi introduced the “Energizing American Shipbuilding Act.” This legislation would guarantee that fixed percentages of all exported LNG and crude oil would travel on U.S.-built, crewed, and -flagged vessels starting in 2025. If enacted, the proposal would expand the U.S.-flag fleet and support thousands of new jobs for U.S. mariners, shipyards, and the domestic maritime industry, Wicker and Garamendi said…

Wicker and Garamendi plan to reintroduce the bill this Congress.

Senator Wicker and Representative Garamendi’s letter can be read here.

Come on here folks…we’re waiting to become “Great Again”


I heard that Shane Guidry was building tugs and barges to transport LNG to China.


How much will it cost to build a 170K Cbm. VLGC or a 300K DWT. VLCC at US shipyards? (Assuming that there are any yard with the facilities and capabilities to build them)
You will still have to import much of the machinery and equipment and pay royalty for design and containment systems etc. (Unless you want to develop and reinvent it all yourself)

How much subsidies by US taxpayers will be required to compete with other suppliers of LNG and Crude oil?

Or do you expect that China will pay a premium for the privilege of buying US products, shipped to them by US vessels?

Buying second hand vessels and subsidising operating cost premium MAY be feasible.

But it still break with the freedom of market forces that US has been standing for the last 70 years. Are you advocating going back to the 1930s, with recession and isolation?

Nice pipe dream, but you cannot force people to buy or ship American by issuing a decree. (or the ever popular “Presidential Executive Order”)

To be crewed by white trash, or to be politically correct, caucasian debris.

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where does it say that these vessels to fly the US flag need be US built? they are not for Jones Act trade.

you SIR are the ultimate irritant


OK that was their proposal in the LAST Congress period. If they have remove the “US built” in their proposal it MAY be a bit more realistic, but it still goes against the grains of US freedom of trade mantra of 70 years.
BTW; Freedom of the oceans are also laid down in UNCLOS, to which US is a signatory, but have not ratified.

You hate competition in all forms do you?

what I loathe are smug, self serving and anti American so called “gentlemen” such as yourself!

Here two men in the US Congress want to bring about some legislation to build a market for US flagged (and possibly) built ships. PARDON ME ALL TO HELL that might require the government to be the force to create this! It OUR natural gas and crude oil so why should not a portion of these exports be reserved for OUR flag? You just hate the USA and anything American and I for one an sick to death of you on here bleating your never ending mantra that the USA is a rural backwater and so vastly inferior to everything European and Asian. If it was up to me, you would have been silenced and expunged from here long ago!

now good day to you…SIR!


I wouldn’t classify America’s litany of “free trade agreements” as free trade. The same people on here advocating for smaller government and complaining about welfare recipients, gladly welcome and support bigger government and corporate welfare when it comes to their own career sector(s).

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Well now, don’t get your knickers in a twist. I only pointed out that China and other buyers of US oil, gas or whatever other products MAY want to decide on how and by whom it will be transported as long as they pay for it. (Unless the US sellers wants to deliver to their doorstep free of charge, in which case they can do so by whatever means they want)

The days when an all powerful nation could set the rules and the rest of the world had to bow their heads and take it is history. Just ask the Brits.

A reasonably fair trading system has been established in the world, much thanks to the US leadership and superior power since WWII.
It is far from perfect, since it still favour the rich Western countries over weaker countries in Asia, Africa and South America, but that is about to change as those countries develop and challenge status quo.

Shipping is one place where there have been some resemblance of freedom, where 3rd party shipments between ports in different countries have been the norm, while cabotage have protected domestic trade in most countries.

To go back to where governments demand shipment of their goods, whether import or export, on ships flying their own flag, would go directly against everything USA have been standing for the last nearly 75 years.THAT would be anti-American.

If the US want to compete in the world’s shipping market they have to do so by building or buying ships at market rates and operate them at competitive costs, not by bullying and threats.
Neither China or anybody else in the world owe US mariners a living, you have to earn it like everybody else.

And don’t tell me that “it will only add a few cents to the price at the pump”. That is not the point. The point is freedom of shipping and trade. IMHO THAT IS THE AMERICAN WAY.

and imho, to call you a “miserable cocksucker” has to be one of the great understatements in the history of mankind.

I am going to say it…of all the others like you who have come and gone from this forum in my more than 10years participating…you SIR have done the greatest to drag it into the stinking cesspool it has become. Once there was banter and humor here but that is all now dead and gone now and I blame YOU for that…


I’d say the U.S. has a pretty good track record building LNG ships. Ships that are made to last. The ETC ships ran for thirty years. One former El-Paso ship is still running forty years later.

Good record for building ships of all sorts and making them last by manning them with very competent people who sail because they love doing it, not to escape from some 3rd world village.


Not a VLGC at 75000 Cbm. in 6 x Membrane tanks, System: Technigaz

Yes US built and flagged to 1997. Changed to Bahamas flag and then to Norwegian (NIS) in 2006. Still US owned but operated by Hoegh LNG Management, Oslo.
Still in operation.

Yet another call from our resident globalist that we in the first world should gladly either give up our jobs to the third world or compete with the wages acceptable in the third world… inevitably followed by the incredulous look of feigned disbelief when there is abject rejection of that idea by the forum participants here…

I don’t expect the Chinese to advocate for the American worker as that’s not their job… It’s the job of our elected officials and it’s refreshing to see some actually doing so.

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Not just my career sector… ALL career sectors.

And not corporate welfare… Corporate investment. Example, for every H1-B Visa issued, the company is required to hire a US citizen in that same capacity (at the same rate of pay) as an apprentice. Let the foreign “expert” train the expensive American to replace HIM instead of the other way around.

The US should reserve one third of all exports and imports for US flag ships (which under existing law may be foreign built). Another third of US imports and exports should be reserved for our trading partners, and the final third of US import and export shipping should be open to anyone.

Most people do not realize it, but the US needs a viable shipping industry with US flag ships, together with the necessary manufacturing and support services in order to be economically secure and successful over the long term. Shipping is a key component of a successful economy. The present approach of allowing US flag deep draft shipping to become extinct is not economically sustainable for the US.

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Lest we also forget that a lot of countries like China deeply subsidize and/or flat out own national shipping companies. It’s not exactly easy to compete with a company who can literally print money at will. Just look at the recent China Shipping and COSCO merger. Closer akin to merging two government agencies than a business merger.


MARAD should be jumping into the global market place and buying high quality, but financially distressed ships and shipping lines, and remarketing them for operation under the US flag to US shipowners.


“feigned disbelief”? his disbelief isn’t feigned at all! he knows the reaction he will receive but is utterly intent to disparage the USA and anything to do with the USA at any turn. He wants this nation to go sink into the depths. Why of course is a valid question but I don’t care why he feels like he does. All I care about is how one man can come on here as a very small minority to tell a great majority (of which I am one) that we deserve to sink! If there is a similar forum to this one for Norske seafarers to have discussions, I sincerely doubt there are any Americans there telling our Norwegian fellows that they are a backwater who need to suck it up and then lay down and die without so much as a whimper? Of course, Ombugge will retort here now that the reason there aren’t is that no American could because Norwegians are all so superior in every respect. Norway has achieved a tremendous position in global ship technology and has a strong maritime industry which I am envious of. I also sincerely doubt that hasn’t happened without any form of assistance from the Norwegian government. Hell, they have a massive sovereign wealth fund to use to build what they have. Lucky them.

the USA for whatever our faults is still a strong economy and still retains industry in our land. The maritime industry in the US is far from dead and buried. We have the capability to build ships here albeit at a higher cost than in China or Korea and I want him to tell us with a straight face that the cost to build ships in Norway is not also higher than in those two countries nor are Norwegian seafarers willing to work at the same wages as those from the Philippines or India? There is a reason that Norway has what it has and that is as a result of policies that favor and protect their maritime sector so why on earth should the USA not have the same be it the Jones Act or legislation that reserves a percentage of its exports of energy to US flagged ships?

YOUR TURN HERE BUGGE…give us your best shot to convince us you are right in your views but be prepared for the blowback because you’ll be getting plenty from all of us Americans here including myself!

What you are proposing sounds very much like what was espoused by the United Nations Committee for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in the Code of Conduct for Liner Conferences which set up a system of bi-lateral trade agreements for nations that reserved quotas for each country of 40% apiece of the two countries’ trade with each other for ship’s under their own flag and 20% up for grabs to “cross-traders” of any flag. This was proposed in several forms from the 1970s on, including one regarding transport of oil after the first oil crisis, which passed both the house and the senate only to be “pocket” vetoed by President Ford. I imagine many our career destinies would have been quite different if any of these had come to fruition. I wonder if the VP at the time Nelson Rockfeller (Standard Oil) had anything to say about this to Ford?