Senate Approves Maritime Administration Enhancement Act

December 21, 2005

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Senate today passed H.R. 1815, the National Defense Authorization Act Conference Report for Fiscal Year 2006 by voice vote. The conference report incorporates provisions originally included in the Maritime Administration Enhancement Act, S. 2029, reported by the Commerce Committee. The conference report establishes within the Maritime Administration (MARAD) a grant, loan, and loan guarantee program to assist small shipyards in obtaining capital improvements and to improve maritime training programs for small communities largely served by the maritime industry. 

Included in the MARAD title of the conference report is a provision clarifying the roles of the Maritime Administrator and the Secretary of Defense in the guaranteed loan program known as Title XI, which is administered by the MARAD. In addition, the measure requires the Secretary of the Department of Transportation to carry out, subject to the availability of appropriations, the domestic maintenance and repair pilot program authorized in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 with at least one vessel under a Military Security Program contract.

The MARAD title also includes provisions authorizing recipients of certain maritime awards to receive medals free of charge, as do members of the armed forces; the use of the United States Maritime Service to better promote the merchant marine; and funds for State and regional maritime academies.

The bill is now ready for the President’s signature.