[USC02] 46 USC Ch. 563: EMERGENCY ACQUISITION OF VESSELS
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46 USC Ch. 563: EMERGENCY ACQUISITION OF VESSELS
From Title 46—SHIPPINGSubtitle V—Merchant MarinePart E—Control of Merchant Marine Capabilities

CHAPTER 563—EMERGENCY ACQUISITION OF VESSELS

Sec.
56301.
General authority.
56302.
Charter terms.
56303.
Compensation.
56304.
Disputed compensation.
56305.
Vessel encumbrances.
56306.
Use and transfer of vessels.
56307.
Return of vessels.
56308.
Transfer of substitute vessels.
56309.
Emergency foreign vessel acquisition; purchase or requisition of vessels lying idle in United States waters 1

        

56310.
Voluntary purchase or charter agreements 1
56311.
Requisitioned vessels 1
56312.
Documented defined 1

        

Amendments

2017Pub. L. 115–91, div. C, title XXXV, §§3502(b)(8), 3504(e), Dec. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 1911, 1913, added items 56308 to 56312.

1 So in original. Probably should be followed by a period.

§56301. General authority

During a national emergency declared by Presidential proclamation, or a period for which the President has proclaimed that the security of the national defense makes it advisable, the Secretary of Transportation may requisition or purchase, or requisition or charter the use of, a vessel owned by citizens of the United States, a documented vessel, or a vessel under construction in the United States.

(Pub. L. 109–304, §8(c), Oct. 6, 2006, 120 Stat. 1654.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
56301 46 App.:1242(a) (1st, 2d sentences). June 29, 1936, ch. 858, title IX, §902(a) (1st, 2d sentences), 49 Stat. 2015; Pub. L. 97–31, §12(131), Aug. 6, 1981, 95 Stat. 165; Pub. L. 100–710, title I, §104(c), Nov. 23, 1988, 102 Stat. 4750.

The words "or other watercraft" are omitted because of the definition of "vessel" in chapter 1 of the revised title. The words "The termination of any emergency so declared shall be announced by a further proclamation by the President" are omitted as superseded by the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.).

§56302. Charter terms

(a) In General.—If a vessel is requisitioned for use but not ownership under this chapter, the Secretary of Transportation, at the time of requisition or as soon thereafter as the situation allows, shall offer the person entitled to possession of the vessel a charter containing—

(1) the terms the Secretary believes should govern the relationship between the United States Government and the person; and

(2) the rate of hire the Secretary considers just compensation for the use of the vessel and the services required under the charter.


(b) Refusal To Accept.—If the person does not accept the charter and rate of hire, the parties shall proceed as provided in section 56304 of this title.

(Pub. L. 109–304, §8(c), Oct. 6, 2006, 120 Stat. 1654.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
56302 46 App.:1242(c) (1st sentence). June 29, 1936, ch. 858, title IX, §902(c) (1st sentence); as added Aug. 7, 1939, ch. 555, §3, 53 Stat. 1255; Pub. L. 97–31, §12(131), Aug. 6, 1981, 95 Stat. 165.

In subsection (a), the words "requisitioned for use but not ownership under this chapter" are substituted for "taken and used under authority of this section, but the ownership thereof is not required by the United States" to eliminate unnecessary words. The word "requisition" is substituted for "taking", and the word "vessel" is substituted for "such property", for consistency.

Subsection (b) is added because the provisions about disputed compensation, for both charter use and other takings, are consolidated in section 56304 of the revised title to avoid repetition.

§56303. Compensation

(a) In General.—As soon as practicable, the Secretary of Transportation shall determine and pay just compensation for a vessel requisitioned under this chapter.

(b) Factors Not Affecting Value.—The value of a vessel may not be considered enhanced by the circumstances requiring its requisition. Consequential damages arising from the requisition may not be paid.

(c) Effect of Construction-Differential Subsidy.—

(1) If paid.—If a construction-differential subsidy has been paid for the vessel, the value of the vessel at the time of requisition shall be determined under section 802 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936.

(2) If not paid.—If a construction-differential subsidy has not been paid for the vessel, the value of any national defense features previously paid for by the United States Government shall be excluded.


(d) Loss or Damage During Charter.—If a vessel is lost or damaged by a risk assumed by the Government under the charter, but a valuation for the vessel or a means of compensation has not been agreed to, the Secretary shall pay just compensation for the loss or damage, to the extent the person is not reimbursed through insurance.

(Pub. L. 109–304, §8(c), Oct. 6, 2006, 120 Stat. 1655.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
56303(a) 46 App.:1242(a) (3d sentence words before 2d comma), (d) (1st par. words before 2d comma). June 29, 1936, ch. 858, title IX, §902(a) (3d, last sentences), (b), (d) (1st par. words before 2d comma), 49 Stat. 2015, 2016; Aug. 7, 1939, ch. 555, §3, 53 Stat. 1255; Aug. 3, 1956, ch. 929, §3, 70 Stat. 985; Pub. L. 97–31, §12(131), Aug. 6, 1981, 95 Stat. 165.
56303(b) 46 App.:1242(a) (3d sentence words after 2d comma, last sentence).
56303(c) 46 App.:1242(b).
56303(d) 46 App.:1242(c) (last sentence).

References in Text

Section 802 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936, referred to in subsec. (c)(1), is section 802 of act June 29, 1936, ch. 858, 49 Stat. 1985, which is set out as a note under section 53101 of this title.

§56304. Disputed compensation

If the person entitled to compensation disputes the amount of just compensation determined by the Secretary of Transportation under this chapter, the Secretary shall pay the person, as a tentative advance, 75 percent of the amount determined. The person may bring a civil action against the United States to recover just compensation. If the tentative advance paid under this section is greater than the amount of the court's judgment, the person shall refund the difference.

(Pub. L. 109–304, §8(c), Oct. 6, 2006, 120 Stat. 1655.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
56304 46 App.:1242(c) (2d sentence), (d) (1st par. words after 2d comma). June 29, 1936, ch. 858, title IX, §902(c) (2d sentence), (d) (1st par. words after 2d comma); as added Aug. 7, 1939, ch. 555, §3, 53 Stat. 1256; Aug. 3, 1956, ch. 929, §§2, 3, 70 Stat. 985; Pub. L. 97–31, §12(131), Aug. 6, 1981, 95 Stat. 165.

This section is substituted for the source provisions to eliminate unnecessary words.

§56305. Vessel encumbrances

(a) In General.—The existence of an encumbrance on a vessel does not prevent the requisition of the vessel under this chapter.

(b) Deposit in Treasury.—

(1) In general.—If an encumbrance exists, the Secretary of Transportation may deposit part of the compensation or advance of compensation to be paid under this chapter (but not more than the total amount of all encumbrances) in a fund in the Treasury. The Secretary shall publish notice of the creation of the fund in the Federal Register.

(2) Availability of amounts deposited.—Amounts deposited in the fund shall be available to pay the compensation or any of the encumbrances (including encumbrances stipulated to in a court of the United States or a State) existing at the time the vessel was requisitioned.


(c) Civil Action.—

(1) In general.—Within 6 months after publication of notice under subsection (b), the holder of an encumbrance may bring a civil action in admiralty, according to the principles of libels in rem, against the fund.

(2) Venue.—The action must be brought in the district court of the United States—

(A) from whose custody the vessel was or may be requisitioned; or

(B) in whose district the vessel was located when it was requisitioned.


(3) Service of process.—Service of process shall be made on the appropriate United States Attorney, the Attorney General, and the Secretary, in the manner provided by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (28 App. U.S.C.). Notice of the action shall be given to all interested persons as ordered by the court.

(4) As between private parties.—The action shall proceed and be determined according to the principles of law and the rules of practice applicable in like cases between private parties.

(Pub. L. 109–304, §8(c), Oct. 6, 2006, 120 Stat. 1655.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
56305 46 App.:1242(d) (last par.). June 29, 1936, ch. 858, title IX, §902(d) (last par.), as added Mar. 24, 1943, ch. 26, §3(d), 57 Stat. 49; Pub. L. 97–31, §12(131), Aug. 6, 1981, 95 Stat. 165.

In this section, the words "encumbrance" and "encumbrances" are substituted for "any valid claim by way of mortgage or maritime claim or attachment lien" and "any valid claim by way of mortgage or maritime lien or attachment lien" to eliminate unnecessary words.

In subsection (b)(1), the words "The Secretary shall publish notice of the creation of the fund in the Federal Register" are added for clarity, based on language barring a civil action not brought within 6 months after publication of such a notice.

In subsection (c)(1), the words "Within 6 months after publication of notice under subsection (b)" are substituted for "prior to June 30, 1943, or within six months after the first such deposit with the Treasurer and publication of notice thereof in the Federal Register, whichever date is later" for clarity and to eliminate obsolete language.

Subsection (c)(3) is substituted for "and such suit shall be commenced in the manner provided by section 742 of this Appendix and service of process shall be made in the manner therein provided by service upon the United States attorney and by mailing by registered mail to the Attorney General and the Secretary of Transportation and due notice shall under order of the court be given to all interested persons" because the relevant sentences in 46 App. U.S.C. 742 were struck by an amendment in 1996. See generally Henderson v. United States, 517 U.S. 654, 116 S. Ct. 1638 (1996).

In subsection (c)(4), the words "any decree in said suit shall be paid out of the first and all subsequent deposits of compensation" and "any decree shall be subject to appeal and revision as now provided in other cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction" are omitted as surplus.

§56306. Use and transfer of vessels

(a) In General.—The Secretary of Transportation may repair, recondition, reconstruct, operate, or charter for operation, a vessel acquired under this chapter.

(b) Transfer to Other Agencies.—The Secretary may transfer the possession or control of a vessel acquired under this chapter to another department or agency of the United States Government on terms and conditions approved by the President. The department or agency shall promptly reimburse the Secretary for expenditures for just compensation, purchase price, charter hire, repairs, reconditioning, or reconstruction.

(Pub. L. 109–304, §8(c), Oct. 6, 2006, 120 Stat. 1656.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
56306 46 App.:1242(e). June 29, 1936, ch. 858, title IX, §902(e); as added Aug. 7, 1939, ch. 555, §3, 53 Stat. 1256; Pub. L. 97–31, §12(131), Aug. 6, 1981, 95 Stat. 165.

In this section, the word "vessel" is substituted for "property" for consistency in the chapter.

In subsection (b), the words "Such reimbursements shall be deposited in the construction fund established by section 1116 of this Appendix" are omitted as impliedly repealed by 46 App. U.S.C. 1119 as amended in 1967.

§56307. Return of vessels

When a vessel requisitioned for use but not ownership is returned to the owner, the Secretary of Transportation shall—

(1) return the vessel in a condition at least as good as when taken, less ordinary wear and tear; or

(2) pay the owner an amount sufficient to recondition the vessel to that condition, less ordinary wear and tear.

(Pub. L. 109–304, §8(c), Oct. 6, 2006, 120 Stat. 1656.)

Historical and Revision Notes
Revised

Section

Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
56307 46 App.:1242(a) (4th sentence). June 29, 1936, ch. 858, title IX, §902(a) (4th sentence), 49 Stat. 2015; Pub. L. 97–31, §12(131), Aug. 6, 1981, 95 Stat. 165.

The words "requisitioned for use but not ownership" are substituted for "taken and used under authority of this section, but the ownership thereof is not required by the United States" to eliminate unnecessary words.

§56308. Transfer of substitute vessels

In the case of any vessel constructed in the United States after January 1, 1937, which has been taken by the United States for use in any manner, the Secretary of Transportation, if in his opinion the transfer would aid in carrying out the policies of this Act,1 is authorized to transfer to the owner of such vessel another vessel which is deemed by the Secretary to be of comparable type with adjustments for depreciation and difference in design or speed, and to the extent applicable, such other adjustments and terms and conditions, including transfer of mortgage obligations in favor of the United States binding upon the old vessel, as the Secretary may prescribe.

(Added and amended Pub. L. 115–91, div. C, title XXXV, §3502(a)(2), (b)(5), Dec. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 1910.)

References in Text

This Act, referred to in text, means act Mar. 8, 1946, ch. 82, 60 Stat. 41, known as the Merchant Ship Sales Act of 1946, which was classified principally to chapter 54 (§4401 et seq.) of Title 50, War and National Defense. The Act has been repealed, except for sections 8(d) and 11, which were transferred to this section and section 57100 of this title, respectively, by Pub. L. 115–91. Provisions relating to the policies of the Act were contained in section 4401 of Title 50 prior to repeal by Pub. L. 115–91.

Codification

Section, as added and amended by Pub. L. 115–91, is based on act Mar. 8, 1946, ch. 82, §8(d), 60 Stat. 46, as amended by Pub. L. 97–31, §12(154), Aug. 6, 1981, 95 Stat. 167, which was formerly classified to section 4404(d) of Title 50, War and National Defense, before being transferred to this chapter and renumbered as this section.

Amendments

2017Pub. L. 115–91, §3502(b)(5)(C), which directed striking out "adjustments with respect to the retained vessels as provided for in section 9, and", was executed by striking out "adjustments with respect to the retained vessel as provided for in section 9, and" after "extent applicable," to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Pub. L. 115–91, §3502(b)(5)(B), which directed insertion of "of Transportation" after "Secretary", was executed by making the insertion after "Secretary" the first time appearing to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Pub. L. 115–91, §3502(b)(5)(A), inserted section enumerator and catchline.

Pub. L. 115–91, §3502(a)(2), transferred section 8(d) of act Mar. 8, 1946, to this chapter and renumbered it as this section. See Codification note above.

1 See References in Text note below.

§56309. Emergency foreign vessel acquisition; purchase or requisition of vessels lying idle in United States waters

During any period in which vessels may be requisitioned under this chapter, the President is authorized and empowered through the Secretary of Transportation to purchase, or to requisition, or for any part of such period to charter or requisition the use of, or to take over the title to or possession of, for such use or disposition as he shall direct, any merchant vessel not owned by citizens of the United States which is lying idle in waters within the jurisdiction of the United States and which the President finds to be necessary to the national defense. Just compensation shall be determined and made to the owner or owners of any such vessel in accordance with the applicable provisions of this chapter. Such compensation hereunder, or advances on account thereof, shall be deposited with the Treasurer of the United States in a separate deposit fund. Payments for such compensation and also for payment of any valid claim upon such vessel in accord with the provisions of section 56305, shall be made from such fund upon the certificate of the Secretary of Transportation.

(Added and amended Pub. L. 115–91, div. C, title XXXV, §3504(a), Dec. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 1911.)

Codification

Section, as added and amended by section 3504(a) of Pub. L. 115–91, is based on act Aug. 9, 1954, ch. 659, §1, 68 Stat. 675; Pub. L. 96–70, title III, §3302(c), Sept. 27, 1979, 93 Stat. 498; Pub. L. 97–31, §12(152), Aug. 6, 1981, 95 Stat. 167, which was formerly classified to section 196 of Title 50, War and National Defense, before being transferred to this chapter and renumbered as this section.

Amendments

2017Pub. L. 115–91, §3504(a)(2), inserted section enumerator and catchline and, in text, substituted "this chapter" for "section 902 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936, as amended" in two places and "section 56305" for "the second paragraph of subsection (d) of such section 902, as amended".

Pub. L. 115–91, §3504(a)(1), transferred section 1 of act Aug. 9, 1954, to this chapter and renumbered it as this section. See Codification note above.

References

Pub. L. 115–91, div. C, title XXXV, §3504(f), Dec. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 1913, provided that: "Any reference in a law, regulation, document, paper, or other record of the United States to a section that is redesignated and transferred by this section [sections 1 to 3 of act Aug. 9, 1954, former 50 U.S.C. 196 to 198] is deemed to refer to such section as so redesignated and transferred [now 46 U.S.C. 56309 to 56311]."

§56310. Voluntary purchase or charter agreements

During any period in which vessels may be requisitioned under this chapter as amended,1 the President is authorized through the Secretary of Transportation to acquire by voluntary agreement of purchase or charter the ownership or use of any merchant vessel not owned by citizens of the United States.

(Added and amended Pub. L. 115–91, div. C, title XXXV, §3504(b), Dec. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 1912.)

Codification

Section, as added and amended by section 3504(b) of Pub. L. 115–91, is based on act Aug. 9, 1954, ch. 659, §2, 68 Stat. 675; Pub. L. 97–31, §12(152), Aug. 6, 1981, 95 Stat. 167, which was formerly classified to section 197 of Title 50, War and National Defense, before being transferred to this chapter and renumbered as this section.

Amendments

2017Pub. L. 115–91, §3504(b)(2), inserted section enumerator and catchline and, in text, substituted "this chapter" for "section 902 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936,".

Pub. L. 115–91, §3504(b)(1), transferred section 2 of act Aug. 9, 1954, to this chapter and renumbered it as this section. See Codification note above.

1 So in original.

§56311. Requisitioned vessels

(a) Any vessel not documented under the laws of the United States, acquired by or made available to the Secretary of Transportation under section 56309 or 56310, as applicable, or otherwise, may, notwithstanding any other provision of law, in the discretion of the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating be documented as a vessel of the United States under such rules and regulations or orders, and with such limitations, as the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating may prescribe or issue as necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes and provisions of section 56309 or 56310, as applicable, and in accordance with the provisions of subsection (c), engage in the coastwise trade when so documented. Any document issued to a vessel under the provisions of this subsection shall be surrendered at any time that such surrender may be ordered by the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating. No vessel, the surrender of the documents of which has been so ordered, shall, after the effective date of such order, have the status of a vessel of the United States unless documented anew.

(b) The President may, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, by rules and regulations or orders, waive compliance with any provision of law relating to masters, officers, members of the crew, or crew accommodations on any vessel documented under authority of this section to such extent and upon such terms as he finds necessary because of the lack of physical facilities on such vessels, and because of the need to employ aliens for their operation. No vessel shall cease to enjoy the benefits and privileges of a vessel of the United States by reason of the employment of any person in accordance with the provisions of this subsection.

(c) Any vessel while documented under the provisions of this section, when chartered under section 56309 or 56310, as applicable, by the Secretary of Transportation to Government agencies or departments or to private operators, may engage in the coastwise trade under permits issued by the Secretary of Transportation, who is authorized to issue permits for such purpose pursuant to such rules and regulations as he may prescribe. The Secretary of Transportation is authorized to prescribe such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes and provisions of this section. Section 57109 shall not apply with respect to vessels chartered to Government agencies or departments or to private operators or otherwise used or disposed of under section 56309 or 56310, as applicable. Existing laws covering the inspection of steam vessels are made applicable to vessels documented under this section only to such extent and upon such conditions as may be required by regulations of the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating: Provided, That in determining to what extent those laws should be made applicable, due consideration shall be given to the primary purpose of transporting commodities essential to the national defense.

(d) The Secretary of Transportation without regard to the 1 section 6101 of title 41 may repair, reconstruct, or recondition any vessels to be utilized under section 56309 or 56310, as applicable. The Secretary of Transportation and any other Government department or agency by which any vessel is acquired or chartered, or to which any vessel is transferred or made available under section 56309 or 56310, as applicable, may, with the aid of any funds available and without regard to the provisions of section 6101 of title 41, repair, reconstruct, or recondition any such vessels to meet the needs of the services intended, or provide facilities for such repair, reconstruction, or reconditioning. The Secretary of Transportation may operate or charter for operation any vessel to be utilized under section 56309 or 56310, as applicable 2 to private operators, citizens of the United States, or to any department or agency of the United States Government, without regard to the provisions of chapter 575, and any department or agency of the United States Government is authorized to enter into such charters.

(e) In case of any voyage of a vessel documented under the provisions of this section begun before the date of termination of an effective period of section 196 of this title, but is completed after such date, the provisions of this section shall continue in effect with respect to such vessel until such voyage is completed.

(Added and amended Pub. L. 115–91, div. C, title XXXV, §3504(c), Dec. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 1912.)

Codification

Section, as added and amended by section 3504(c) of Pub. L. 115–91, is based on act Aug. 9, 1954, ch. 659, §3, 68 Stat. 675; Pub. L. 89–670, §6(b)(1), (2), Oct. 15, 1966, 80 Stat. 938; Pub. L. 97–31, §12(152), Aug. 6, 1981, 95 Stat. 167, which was formerly classified to section 198 of Title 50, War and National Defense, before being transferred to this chapter and renumbered as this section.

Amendments

2017Pub. L. 115–91, §3504(c)(3)(A), substituted "section 56309 or 56310, as applicable" for "this Act" wherever appearing, except in first sentence of subsec. (c) and second sentence of subsec. (d).

Pub. L. 115–91, §3504(c)(2), inserted section enumerator and catchline.

Pub. L. 115–91, §3504(c)(1), transferred section 3 of act Aug. 9, 1954, to this chapter and renumbered it as this section. See Codification note above.

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 115–91, §3504(c)(3)(B), substituted "section 56309 or 56310, as applicable," for "this Act" in first sentence and "Section 57109" for "The second paragraph of section 9 of the Shipping Act, 1916, as amended," in third sentence.

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 115–91, §3504(c)(3)(C)(i)–(iii), substituted, in first sentence, "section 6101 of title 41" for "provisions of section 3709 of the Revised Statutes", in second sentence, "section 56309 or 56310, as applicable," for "this Act" and "section 6101 of title 41" for "said section 3709", and, in third sentence, "chapter 575" for "title VII of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936".

Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 115–91, §3504(c)(3)(C)(iv), struck out subsec. (f) which read as follows: "When used in this Act, the term 'documented' means 'registered', 'enrolled and licensed', or 'licensed'." See section 56312 of this title.

Transfer of Functions

For transfer of authorities, functions, personnel, and assets of the Coast Guard, including the authorities and functions of the Secretary of Transportation relating thereto, to the Department of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see sections 468(b), 551(d), 552(d), and 557 of Title 6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified, set out as a note under section 542 of Title 6.

"Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating" substituted in subsec. (a) for "Secretary of the Treasury" pursuant to section 6(b)(1), (2) of Pub. L. 89–670, which transferred Coast Guard to Department of Transportation and transferred to and vested in Secretary of Transportation functions, powers, and duties relating to Coast Guard, of Secretary of the Treasury and of all other officers and offices of Department of the Treasury, and which provided that notwithstanding such transfer Coast Guard shall operate as part of Navy in time of war or when President directs as provided in former section 3 (now 103) of Title 14, Coast Guard. See section 108 of Title 49, Transportation.

1 So in original. The word "the" probably should not appear.

2 So in original. Probably should be followed by a comma.

§56312. Documented defined

In sections 56309 through 56311, the term "documented" means, with respect to a vessel, that a certificate of documentation has been issued for the vessel under chapter 121.

(Added Pub. L. 115–91, div. C, title XXXV, §3504(d), Dec. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 1913.)