Marad has issued an RFP to American shipping companies for up to five clean US-flagged tankers under its Product Carrier Program within the Maritime Security Act of 2003. The first response is due July 2nd. The historical mission of the U.S. government in supporting the maritime interests of the nation was to have a cadre of seafarers and a viable shipbuilding program in place in case of national emergencies. For this reason, U.S. flag vessels had to be built in the United States and manned by U.S. citizens. This case is no different. The MARAD product carriers will be used to carry petroleum products for military supply in case of war or national emergency. Outside of that mission, the ships will be trading in the foreign market and American owners are wondering whether the subsidies offered by the US government will be enough to compete internationally.