Congress is looking to expand a program that uses private ships to transport military cargo. Tampa-based Overseas Shipholding Group wants to be part of that effort.
Under the Maritime Security Program, the federal government pays U.S. shipping companies to keep vessels on retainer. Those ships can be used to transport cargo during war or national emergency. The program was vital to moving supplies and equipment to U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Two vessels owned by Overseas Shipholding Group are part of the fleet. Congress is considering expanding the program to include ten oil tankers. OSG CEO Sam Norton says he wants in.
“We support the consensus view that the tanker security program is a critical strategic priority for the United States. It is as well an important growth and revenue expansion opportunity for OSG,” Norton told investors on a conference call in August.
The tanker program is included in a defense spending bill that passed the Democratically controlled House in July. Differences remain between that version and one passed by the Republican majority in the Senate.