Marad asks for MSP ships

Marad asks for MSP ships

WASHINGTON -- Carriers will have until Oct. 15 to offer ships for the new Maritime Security Program, the Maritime Administration announced on Tuesday.

The MSP that begins on Oct. 1, 2005 is essentially an extension of the current program that began on the same date in 1996, although the fleet will expand to 60 ships from the current 47.

The first five MSP contracts are set aside for product tankers, with the intent that the vessels will be new-built in U.S. shipyards. Existing MSP vessels that meet the age requirement will have second priority at new contracts. Operators that meet the U.S. citizenship requirement of the 1916 Shipping Act will be given third priority.

Operators in the program will receive annual subsidies that begin at $2.6 million, with biennial increases to $3.1 million for fiscal years 2012 to 2015.

Marad will receive comments on the interim rules until Aug. 19.

-- R.G. Edmonson