Congressional Conferees Agree To Appropriate $228.4 Million For Strategic Sealift Program

Conferees from the Senate and the House of Representatives have agreed to appropriate $228.4 million in support of the Navy's Strategic Sealift Program. The money will be used to purchase additional commercial tonnage from private owners for the Ready Reserve Force, as well as to modernize and re-engine some of the vessels procured.

The Conference Report accompanying the measure read in part: "Upon enactment of legislation authorizing 'Mariner Fund' for the construction and charter of commercial vessels, the conferees agree that the Navy may charter any vessels modernized through these strategic sealift funds, provided such authority is granted. It is the conferees' intent to begin the charter program as soon as possible after authorization is enacted, thereby generating early revenues to the Mariner Fund. Approval for modernization of vessels procured under this section should be considered an exception, not a precedent." Re-engining and modernization of vessels acquired for the Ready Reserve Force could be of shortterm assistance to hard-pressed domestic shipbuilders.

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