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Merchant Marine Act of 1920 From Title 46 of the U.S. Code
Posted On: Nov 10, 2010

SEC. 1. PURPOSE AND POLICY OF UNITED STATES (46 App. U.S.C. 861 (2002).

It is necessary for the national defense and for the proper growth of its foreign and domestic commerce that the United States shall have a merchant marine of the best equipped and most suitable types of vessels sufficient to carry the greater portion of its commerce and serve as a naval or military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency, ultimately to be owned and operated privately by citizens of the United States; and it is declared to be the policy of the United States to do whatever may be necessary to develop and encourage the maintenance of such a merchant marine, and, in so far as may not be inconsistent with the express provisions of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall, in the disposition of vessels and shipping property as hereinafter provided, in the making of rules and regulations, and in the administration of the shipping laws keep always in view this purpose and object as the primary end to be attained.

PURCHASE ALLOWANCE IN SALE OF VESSELS FOR COST OF PUTTING VESSELS IN CLASS (46 App. U.S.C. 864a (2002).

2 Hereafter the Secretary of Transportation may make allowances to purchasers of vessels for cost of putting such vessels in class, such allowances to be determined on the basis of competitive bids, without regard to the provisions of the last paragraph of section 3(d) of the Merchant Ship Sales Act of 1946.

ELEMENTS CONSIDERED IN SALE OF VESSELS IN DETERMINATION OF SELLING PRICE (46 App. U.S.C. 864b (2002)).

3 Hereafter, no sale of a vessel by the Maritime Administration of the Department of Transportation shall be completed until its ballast and equipment shall have been inventoried and their value taken into consideration by the Maritime Administration in determining the selling price.

SEC. 6. SALE TO ALIENS (46 App. U.S.C. 865 (2002).

The Secretary of Transportation is authorized and empowered to sell to aliens, at such prices and on such terms and conditions as he may determine, not inconsistent with the provisions of section 5 (except that completion of the payment of the purchase price and interest shall not be deferred more than ten years after the making of the contract of sale), such vessels as he shall, after careful investigation, deem unnecessary to the promotion and maintenance of an efficient American merchant marine; but no such sale shall be made unless the Secretary of Transportation, after diligent effort, has been unable to sell, in accordance with the terms and conditions of section 5, such vessels to persons citizens of the United States, and has determined to make such sale; and he shall make as a part of his records a full statement of its reasons for making such sale. Deferred payments of purchase price of vessels under this section shall bear interest at the rate of not less than 5 per centum per annum, payable semiannually.

SEC. 7. ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATION OF STEAMSHIP LINES BETWEEN PORTS OF UNITED STATES; INVESTIGATION AND DETERMINATION; SALE OR CHARTER OF VESSELS; PREFERENCE IN SALES OR CHARTERS; CONTINUED OPERATION OF LINES; ADDITIONAL LINES; RATES AND CHARGES (46 App. U.S.C. 866 (2002).

The Secretary of Transportation is authorized and directed to investigate and determine as promptly as possible after the enactment of this Act and from time to time thereafter what steamship lines should be established and put in operation from ports in the United States or any Territory, District, or possession thereof to such world and domestic markets as in his judgment are desirable for the promotion, development, expansion, and maintenance of the foreign and coastwise trade of the United States and an adequate postal service, and to determine the type, size, speed, and other requirements of the vessels to be employed upon such lines and the frequency and regularity of their sailings, with a view to furnishing adequate, regular, certain, and permanent service. The Secretary of Transportation is authorized to sell, and if a satisfactory sale cannot be made, to charter such of the vessels referred to in section 4 of this Act or otherwise acquired by the Secretary of Transportation, as will meet these requirements to responsible persons who are citizens of the United States who agree to establish and maintain such lines upon such terms of payment and other conditions as the Secretary of Transportation may deem just and necessary to secure and maintain the service desired; and if any such steamship line is deemed desirable and necessary, and if no such citizen can be secured to supply such service by the purchase or charter of vessels on terms satisfactory to the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Transportation shall operate vessels on such line until the business is developed so that such vessels may be sold on satisfactory terms and the service maintained, or unless it shall appear within a reasonable time that such line cannot be made self-sustaining: Provided, That preference in the sale or assignment of vessels for operation on such steamship lines shall be given to persons who are citizens of the United States who have the support, financial and otherwise, of the domestic communities primarily interested in such lines if the Secretary of Transportation is satisfied of the ability of such persons to maintain the service desired and proposed to be maintained, or to persons who are citizens of the United States who may then be maintaining a service from the port of the United States to or in the general direction of the world-market port to which the Secretary of Transportation has determined that such service should be established: Provided further, That where steamship lines and regular service have been established and are being maintained by ships of the board at the time of the enactment of this Act, such lines and service shall be maintained by the board until, in the opinion of the board, the maintenance thereof is unbusinesslike and against the public interests: And provided further, That whenever the Secretary of Transportation shall determine, as provided in this Act, that trade conditions warrant the establishment of a service or additional service under Government administration where a service is already being given by persons, citizens of the United States, the rates and charges for such Government service shall not be less than the cost thereof, including a proper interest and depreciation charge on the value of Government vessels and equipment employed therein.

SEC. 8. INVESTIGATION OF PORT, TERMINAL, AND WAREHOUSE FACILITIES (46 App. U.S.C. 867 (2002).

It shall be the duty of the Secretary of Transportation, in cooperation with the Secretary of War, with the object of promoting, encouraging, and developing ports and transportation facilities in connection with water commerce over which he has jurisdiction, to investigate territorial regions and zones tributary to such ports, taking into consideration the economies of transportation by rail, water, and highway and the natural direction of the flow of commerce; toinvestigate the causes of the congestion of commerce at ports and the remedies applicable thereto; to investigate the subject of water terminals, including the necessary docks, warehouses, apparatus, equipment, and appliances in connection therewith, with a view to devising and suggesting the types most appropriate for different locations and for the most expeditious and economical transfer or interchange of passengers or property between carriers by water and carriers by rail; to advise with communities regarding the appropriate location and plan of construction of wharves, piers, and water terminals; to investigate the practicability and advantages of harbor, river, and port improvements in connection with foreign and coastwise trade; and to investigate any other matter that may tend to promote and encourage the use by vessels of ports adequate to care for the freight which would naturally pass through such ports: Provided, That if after such investigation the Secretary of Transportation shall be of the opinion that rates, charges, rules, or regulations of common carriers by rail subject to the jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board are detrimental to the declared object of this section, or that new rates, charges, rules, or regulations, new or additional port terminal facilities, or affirmative action on the part of such common carriers by rail is necessary to promote the objects of this section, the Secretary of Transportation may submit his findings to the Surface Transportation Board for such action as such Board may consider proper under existing law.

SEC. 9. VESSELS SOLD UNDER DEFERRED PAYMENT PLAN; INSURANCE (46 App. U.S.C. 868 (2002).

If the terms and conditions of any sale of a vessel made under the provisions of this Act include deferred payments of the purchase price, the Secretary of Transportation shall require, as part of such terms and conditions, that the purchaser of the vessel shall keep the same insured (a) against loss or damage by fire, and against marine risks and disasters, and war and other risks if the Secretary of Tran That no vessel which has acquired the lawful right to engage in the coastwise trade, by virtue of having been built in or documented under the laws of the United States, and which has later been rebuilt, shall have the right thereafter to engage in the coastwise trade, unless the entire rebuilding, including the construction of any major components of the hull or superstructure of the vessel, is effected within the United States


 
 
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