Garamendi introduces bill to shore up U.S. maritime industry

“The state of the American maritime industry is in crisis-level decline,” Garamendi, who introduced the Energizing American Maritime Act with across-the-aisle support from Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn., said in a press release. “After World War II, our oceangoing fleet of U.S.-flagged ships numbered 1,200. Today, it’s fewer than 80.”

He called those numbers a national security risk.

“We can’t rely on foreign-flagged vessels to provide the necessary movement of strategic materials in a time of war,” he added in the prepared statement. “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 ranking member of the House Subcommittee on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, Garamendi noted that all but a tiny fraction of U.S. trade travels on foreign-flagged ships.

“I believe that needs to change, and we can start right here,” he said.