Today a new vessel, the Motor/Tanker Florida, was christened into the U.S.-flag tanker fleet.
This addition represents the maritime industry’s response to the predicted growth in the domestic oil market--growth that will ripple up and down the supply chain bringing more jobs to American workers, including shipbuilders and mariners.
For example, at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, where the M/T Florida was built, they are already hard at work on two more tankers due to hit American waters in 2014. That's on top of the M/T Pennsylvania that was christened in September. With the delivery of M/T Florida, Aker has completed construction of 18 ships in the last 10 years.
In fact, the shipyard has more than tripled its workforce since April 2011, from 330 to more than 1000 today. Nearly 50 of those new workers are apprentices enrolled in a MARAD-supported shipbuilders training program.
The M/T Florida was built at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard for Crowley Maritime and will operate under the Jones Act, a law requiring that ships operating between two U.S. ports be built in America, crewed by American mariners, and owned by American companies.
As the newest vessel in the U.S.-flag fleet, the M/T Florida demonstrates the importance of the maritime industry and U.S. mariners to our nation’s economy as well as our national defense. The more effectively U.S. shippers can move goods to and from American ports, the better U.S. businesses can compete around the globe.
The Obama Administration has made the maritime industry a top priority and has provided historic levels of funding to improve ports and shipyards across the nation.
In total, this Administration has invested more than $1 billion in the American maritime industry. And that investment is paying off as we work toward the President's goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.
“Every new addition to the U.S.-flag fleet helps revitalize ports and create good paying jobs,” said Deputy Maritime Administrator Paul N. Jaenichen, who attended the M/T Florida’s christening. “It is essential that we look for every opportunity to put U.S. mariners to work and keep the American shipbuilding industry vibrant, especially given how important this industry is to our national security."
With this newest addition to the US-flag fleet, American manufacturers can be confident that they possess the means, and the skilled merchant mariners, to transport goods to consumers in a timely manner.