U.S. Congressman Garret Graves (R – South Louisiana) has introduced the Ships to Be Recycled in the States (STORIS) Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill aims to reform the domestic marine recycling industry.
The legislation would strengthen oversight of the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) domestic ship recycling program and promote transparency by requiring reports from the agency and an audit by the Government Accountability Office. MARAD receives millions of dollars in federal funding but does not disclose how the money is spent or how the agency awards contracts.
“Americans expect the federal government to operate in their best interest,” said Graves. “We have found multiple instances where the U.S. Maritime Administration has failed to maximize the return on investment on the sale of retired federal vessels by not accepting the highest bid on a number of contracts and not fulfilling its obligation to reinvest these funds in our merchant mariner workforce.”
Current law requires excess government vessels to be sold to and dismantled by domestic marine recyclers. Under current law, federal and state maritime academies and the maritime heritage grant program are supposed to benefit from domestic marine recycling. To date, MARAD has not met its funding obligation, says Graves. The STORIS Act would ensure that returns on taxpayer dollars are maximized by increasing MARAD’s accountability to Congress with respect to its marine recycling program.
The legislation also creates jobs by allowing vessels that can be dismantled in compliance with U.S. environmental and safety laws to be done in the U.S. instead of being exported to countries where safety rules do not apply.
“This bill will prevent MARAD from leaving millions of dollars on the table in regard to ship recycling contracts and require that we have the workforce we need to increase global trade and exports from Louisiana,” added Graves.
The STORIS Act gets its name from the former Coast Guard Cutter Storis, which was dismantled in Mexico in 2013 in violation of the current law. Congressman Graves has been working with Senator David Vitter (R – LA) on the companion bill already introduced in the Senate. Joining Graves as original co-sponsors of the House bill are Reps. Duncan Hunter (R – CA) and Filemon Vela (D – TX).
Source: maritime-executive. 25 June 2015