The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) announced on Tuesday that nine ships have been enrolled in the Tanker Security Program (TSP).

The TSP gives the Department of Defense (DoD) assured access to US-owned, US-flagged, and US-crewed commercial product tankers ready to support national economic and security requirements.

“Today we are announcing the first ships to join the Tanker Security Program, which will help strengthen both our supply chains and our national security by delivering fuel to our armed forces around the world while creating hundreds of good jobs for American mariners,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

The companies selected for enrollment are Overseas Shipholding Group (three tank vessels), Crowley-Stena Marine Solutions (three tank vessels) and Seabulk Tankers (three tank vessels).

All of the companies have signed operating agreements. Of the enrolled vessels, four are under U.S. flag and are now operating in the program, and five are working with the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard to expedite reflagging to U.S. registry to begin operating under TSP agreements.

Each tank vessel enrolled will receive a maximum $6 million per year payment, prorated on a monthly basis for qualified service as participants in the program.

The vessels will operate in U.S. foreign commerce and be available for use by the United States during times of war or national emergency.

The program is authorized for up to ten tankers and MARAD said it is seeking to fill the remaining operating agreement with a qualified vessel.   

To qualify for the program, proposed vessels have to qualify as medium range product tankers between 30,000-60,000 deadweight tons with fuel carrying capacity of 230,000 barrels or more, be less than 10 years of age, and available to commit to an emergency preparedness agreement for the duration of the program’s authorization.