Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance (META) Program Forum
The Maritime Administration (MARAD), in cooperation with the Maryland Environmental Resource Center, will hold an open forum to solicit individual input to MARAD on the Agency's Maritime Environmental and Technical Assistance (META) Program and key environmental issues facing maritime transportation. Input received will enable the Agency to assess the effectiveness and utility of the Program thus far, and will inform MARAD and Department of Transportation decision making regarding possible future research, development and demonstration projects.
Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement Open Season
The Maritime Administration (MARAD) announces that the open season for Fiscal Year 2016 applications for participation in the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) program will run for 30 days beginning today and ending July 31, 2015. The purpose of this notice is to invite interested, qualified U.S.-flag vessel operators that are not currently enrolled in the VISA program to apply. This is the only planned enrollment period for carriers to join the VISA program and derive benefits for Department of Defense (DOD) peacetime contracts initiated during the period from October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016. Any U.S.-flag vessel operator organized under the laws of a state of the United States, or the District of Columbia, who is able and willing to commit militarily useful sealift assets and assume the related consequential risks of commercial disruption, may be eligible to participate in the VISA program. The mission of VISA is to provide commercial sealift and intermodal shipping services and systems, including vessels, vessel space, intermodal systems and equipment, terminal facilities, and related management services, to the Department of Defense (DOD), as necessary, to meet national defense contingency requirements or national emergencies. Carriers enrolled in the VISA program provide DOD with assured access to such services during contingencies. In return for their VISA commitment, DOD gives VISA participants priority for peacetime cargos.
Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement/Joint Planning Advisory Group Table Top Exercise
The Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) program requires a notice of the time, place, and nature of each Joint Planning Advisory Group (JPAG) meeting be published in the Federal Register. The full text of the VISA program, including these requirements, is published in Federal Register/Vol. 79, No. 209, 6446264470, dated October 29, 2014. On June 2-3, 2015, the Maritime Administration and the U.S. Transportation Command co-hosted the 2015 Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement Joint Planning Advisory Group Table-Top Exercise at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. Participants of the Table Top Exercise (TTX) were required to possess a secret clearance due to the classified nature of the meeting and attendance was by invitation only. The Maritime Administrator invited VISA carriers, Maritime Labor Unions, Longshoreman Labor and designated U.S. Strategic Seaport personnel. In addition, representatives from the Department of Transportation, the Maritime Administration and the Department of Defense (DOD) to include the Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Transportation Command, the Military Sealift Command and the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command attended the meeting.