Maersk Line, Limited will begin the commercial process of assuming direct operation of 15 Maritime Security Program (MSP) vessels currently being operated by U.S. Ship Management
(USSM). This follows today's Maritime Administration
(Marad) opinion affirming that "Maersk qualifies as an eligible transferee of the MSP agreements from USSM."
Maersk Line, Limited applauded Marad's confirmation of the company's eligibility. "Without question, Marad's leadership on this issue will improve the current MSP program, streamlining operations and creating much needed efficiencies," said Kenneth Gaulden
, MLL's senior vice president for marketing and government relations.
MLL submitted its request to Marad in November 2002.
MLL's ability to become the contractor for the 15 covered vessels was negotiated in its Time Charters with USSM, which was approved by Marad in 1999. The change in contractors will increase from four to 19 the number of MSP vessels currently operated by MLL under contract with the Maritime Administration. The 19 vessels will be integrated into MLL's existing U.S.-flag fleet operations, providing immediate access to MLL's global network of intermodal assets, including terminals, cranes, logistical platforms, computerized management systems, containers and chassis.
As called for in the Time Charters between MLL and USSM, USSM will be fully compensated for termination of the current arrangements.
"Marad made the right call, and MLL looks forward to a smooth transfer process and to direct operation of these vessels," said Gaulden.
The vessels will remain U.S.-flagged, supporting U.S. global trade and national security, and will be crewed by the same American seafarers that man the vessels today.