Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) said Monday he supported the recent call by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick for only U.S. crews to be used on tankers transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) into the state's ports.
In a letter last week to Sean T. Connaughton, administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), Patrick urged federal authorities to require U.S.-trained and certified crews on LNG tankers operating in Massachusetts waters. "The safe and secure transportation of liquefied natural gas is critical to the well-being of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The use of U.S. citizen crews will help to accomplish this critical obligation," Patrick wrote on Feb. 5.
Markey said he believed that both Excelerate Energy and Neptune LNG LLC, which have proposed deepwater ports in Massachusetts Bay for off-loading LNG, have agreed to Patrick's request to have only U.S. crews manning LNG tankers. Both LNG port projects were approved by MARAD in recent weeks (see Daily GPI, Jan. 31, Feb. 9).
"While tougher screening and security measures were put in place for these vessels following 9-11, I do believe the use of U.S. crews would help increase confidence in the safety and security of LNG shipments into the commonwealth," said Markey, whose district includes Everett, MA, where the state's sole operating LNG terminal is located.
"In the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, we found out those LNG tankers docking at the Everett terminal had been used to smuggle aliens into the U.S. and that one of them was later implicated in the [so-called] Millennium bombing plot," he noted.
In addition to Markey, the U.S. crew requirement is supported by other members of Massachusetts' congressional delegation, including Democratic Sens. John Kerry and Edward Kennedy, as well as Democratic Reps. William Delahunt and Stephen Lynch.
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