Congresswoman Elaine Luria Advocates for The Maritime Security Program During COVID-19

April 29, 2020
Press Release

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – This week, Congresswoman Luria sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, Majority Leader McConnell, and Minority Leader Schumer, urging them to take swift action regarding the Maritime Security Program. The Maritime Security Program (MSP) gives the military access to a versatile fleet of government owned or controlled and privately-owned vessels. These vessels support a global transportation network, but like many other industries are being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic

“The Maritime Security Program is a critical national security asset, and we must support the operators and crews of U.S.-flagged vessels to ensure they can continue to operate and be ready to support our armed forces,” said Congresswoman Luria. “The crews of U.S.-flagged vessels support our nation in times of need, and Congress has an obligation to ensure these ships and their crews remain ready and viable after this crisis ends.”

The letter urges congressional leadership to support MSP participants by encouraging all government generated cargoes to have 100% US- flag cargo preference and to reject Jones Act waivers during the pandemic. Additionally, Congresswoman Luria recommended economic relief for operators in order to cover costs associated with maintaining their vessels and keeping crews employed. Congresswoman Luria also advocated for COVID-19 testing kits for mariners aboard U.S.-flag vessels and allowing maritime union vocational training facilities to be eligible for assistance under the Paycheck Protection Program.

Please find the full letter here .