Shipbuilders Council Of America Names Recipients Of Maritime Leadership Awards

During its annual meeting, members of the Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA), the national association that represents the shipbuilding, maintenance and repair industry in the United States, named two recipients of the SCA Maritime Leadership Award, given to leaders who display dedication and support for the industry.

SCA selected Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) for the awards. Garamendi, who has served in the House of Representatives since 2009, served California’s third district. Shelby has represented Alabama in the U.S. Senate since 1987.

“Rep. Garamendi has been a strong champion of the Jones Act and U.S. shipbuilding throughout his entire time in Congress,” SCA President Matthew Paxton said. “He understands the breadth of the domestic maritime industry and how the industry’s success is critical to our economic and national security, which can most recently be seen in his efforts to ensure the domestic maritime industry has a leading role in the development of offshore wind.”

Garamendi is a member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and four related subcommittees, including the Subcommittee on Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation. SCA credited Garamendi with developing legislation for the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which “helped reaffirm congressional support for the Jones Act and resulted in significant funds being put into the domestic maritime industry,” according to the award announcement. He also serves as chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, which oversees a significant portion of the Department of Defense’s authorization.

“I’m honored to receive the 2021 Maritime Leadership Award,” Garamendi said. “Supporting the U.S. maritime industry is critically important for our economy and national security. That’s why I’ve spent my tenure in Congress fighting to end congressional neglect of our maritime industry by introducing my ‘Energizing American Shipbuilding Act,’ which would recapitalize America’s domestic shipbuilding and maritime industries by requiring increasing percentages of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and crude oil exports to be transported on U.S.-built ships.

“As a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I will always fight to support our vital maritime industry,” Garamendi added.

Shelby, a strong supporter of Alabama’s maritime industry and the state’s shipbuilding and international trade center in Mobile, serves as vice chairman of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, throughout which he has been “instrumental in support for naval shipbuilding as a critical component of the U.S. defense industrial base,” SCA said in its announcement of the award.

“The American maritime industry is fortunate to have had Sen. Shelby as a strong advocate in the U.S. Senate throughout his impressive career,” Paxton said. “With this award, we recognize Sen. Shelby and his significant contributions and unwavering support for the industry, maritime workers, and the defense sector as he completes his final term.”

Shelby, at age 87, has announced he will not seek reelection in 2022. He is the third oldest member of the Senate, behind Iowa’s Chuck Grassley and California’s Dianne Feinstein.

“I am honored to receive this award on behalf of the Shipbuilders Council of America,” Shelby said. “The security of the nation must be our top priority, and the maritime industry is a critical part of our national defense. Our shipbuilders provide significant and essential support in the maintenance and modernization of our naval forces, our Coast Guard, and our commercial industry—creating thousands of good-paying jobs and driving economic growth in the process. I look forward to continuing to prioritize the work of our nation’s shipbuilding industry.”

The Shipbuilders Council of America represents 40 companies that own and operate more than 82 shipyards throughout the United States. In addition, the organization has 87 partner members that provide goods and services to those shipyards. SCA is headquartered in Washington, D.C.