The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Maritime Administration (MarAd):
(BEAUMONT, Texas) — U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao on Friday welcomed the newest vessel to the Maritime Security Program (MSP) in the strategic port of Beaumont, Texas. Renamed M/V Liberty Passion, it is the third ship owned by Liberty Global Logistics to join the MSP fleet.
“Today we are celebrating a public-private partnership that is strengthening America’s Merchant Marine, as well as America’s armed forces,” said Chao. “U.S.-flagged vessels are a critical component in our domestic commerce, moving $467 billion worth of goods between ports in the U.S. In addition to these robust economic contributions, a healthy U.S. maritime industry crewed by American merchant mariners is also a vital part of our national security at ready call to support the armed forces and carry military equipment and suppliers to the front lines.”
Liberty Passion, built in 2016, adds more than 165,000 square feet of militarily useful deck area into U.S. sealift service. It has the capacity to transport up to approximately 6,500 cars on 12 decks, as well as military wheeled and containerized equipment such as M-ATVs, Humvees, MRAPs, armored personnel carriers, tanks, helicopters and unit equipment. Together with Liberty’s other two MSP vessels — Liberty Pride and Liberty Promise — the three ships add nearly 400,000 square feet to the MSP fleet, with the capability of transporting hundreds of critical combat and support vehicles.
The new vessel supports a strong U.S. Merchant Marine and MSP in protecting U.S. national security by providing the Department of Defense (DOD) with a powerful, mobile, privately-owned U.S.-flag and U.S.-crewed fleet of commercial ships to call on in times of crisis. Managed by the Maritime Administration, the MSP guarantees access to commercial sealift and the intermodal capabilities necessary to meet U.S. wartime requirements. Created by Congress in 1996, the MSP has since proven to be a key component in U.S. commercial sealift capacity, recognized by Congress as the critical fourth arm of the U.S. Department of Defense.