About AMC - The Maritime Security Program

On October 8, 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Maritime Security Act (P.L. 104-239) after it was overwhelmingly adopted by the House of Representatives and the Senate. This measure established the Maritime Security Program (MSP), supporting in the international shipping trades a fleet of militarily useful U.S.-flag commercial vessels crewed by American citizens. Participating vessel operators are required to make their ships and other commercial transportation resources available to the Department of Defense during times of war or national emergency.

The original ten-year program supported the operation of 47 U.S.-flag vessels in the foreign commerce of the United States. In 2003, the program was reauthorized for an additional ten years and expanded to support 60 vessels, each being provided with a $2.7 million stipend, subject to annual appropriations.

Unlike past governmental support programs, such as the operating-differential subsidy program, MSP has few restrictions on vessels operating in the U.S. foreign commerce. Eligible vessels may be built either in the United States or in a foreign country. The program, subject to annual appropriations, is administered on the basis of renewable one-year contracts, provided funding is available.

The Maritime Security Program is a major component in our military sealift policy. By keeping these vessels in the U.S.-flag fleet sailing internationally during peacetime, they ensure the job base of the merchant marine. And in time of war or national emergency, they provide the necessary sealift to support our nationís warfighters across the globe.

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