US senator introduces new bills to support maritime decarbonisation, enhance cybersecurity
In an effort to promote the reduction of maritime-related emissions and strengthen maritime cybersecurity, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, the United States Senator for Massachusetts, has introduced two maritime bills in advance of the annual Maritime Administration Reauthorization Act’s consideration by Congress.
The first bill, the Expanding Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance Program Act, supports research on zero-emission port and vessel technologies.
The legislation specifically authorizes an additional $3 million for the Maritime Administration’s Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance Program to research and support activities related to zero-emission technologies in the maritime sector.
“International maritime vessels contribute to global climate change,” Senator Markey said.
“To transition to a clean energy future, we need to find a way for the maritime sector to decarbonize in tandem with the rest of the economy, to transition to lower-emission technologies. This bill will increase the amount of research done in this low-funded sector to make that low-carbon transition.”
The second bill, the Enhancing Maritime Cybersecurity Act, increases awareness of cyber risks and best practices for security in the maritime sector.
The legislation specifically instructs the Maritime Administration to work with the Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security to ensure the availability of resources that can help maritime operators identify, detect, protect against, respond to, and recover from cyber incidents.
“As the maritime sector increasingly adopts internet-connected technologies, such as electronic maps and virtual aids to navigation, the threat of a cyber-attack continues to rise,” Senator Markey added.
“Maritime shippers transport the vast majority of U.S. overseas trade and could be a particularly attractive target to cybercriminals. My bill aims to proactively counter this threat by enhancing maritime cybersecurity and coordination among the relevant federal agencies.”
In 2019, Senator Markey secured four amendments in the annual Maritime Administration Reauthorization Act that became law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.
These amendments included provisions to enable maritime academies to modernize their port infrastructure, assess vessel capacity needs for the rapidly growing offshore wind industry, enhance transparency in support of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program, and promote environmental and safety improvements in maritime transportation.