U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Virginia) praised the work of American mariners and the U.S.-flag fleet while calling upon Congress to continue its support for these workers and the industry. Luria, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who served in the Navy for 20 years before being elected to the House of Representatives in 2018, made her statement on the House floor Oct. 25. “The United States needs a robust U.S.-flag maritime industry and a trained and qualified mariner workforce to support our surge sealift capabilities in responding to the crises and military operations around the world when called upon,” the congresswoman said. “Further, the U.S.-flag fleet routinely responds to disasters and emergencies, moves critical government and military cargo around the world, and carries American farm products in support of U.S. international development programs to help developing countries in need.”
The member of both the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees called for continuing support for the Maritime Security Program, which provides funds for militarily useful U.S.- flag commercial vessels and crews available to the armed forces in the event of war or national emergencies.
“The shipping industry is facing unprecedented challenges today, but one thing we know all too well is that a strong commercial maritime capability enhances our national security,” she added. She wrapped up her address by thanking “the U.S.-flag fleet and the U.S. Merchant Mariners who work every day to support our military and our nation.”