Historical and Revision Notes
Source section (U.S. Code)
Derived from 46:971–974
46:951 (2d par. less proviso)
Section 31301(1) defines the term “acknowledge”. This paragraph makes a substantive change to law to expand the current law by allowing a notarization under State law, a form prescribed by the Secretary, as well as a certificate issued under the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, 1961.
Section 31301(2) defines “district court”. This paragraph makes a substantive change to law by including the District Court of Guam, the District Court of the Virgin Islands, the District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands, the High Court of American Samoa, and other Federal territorial courts as they are established. Under current law, only the district courts of the United States have jurisdiction under the Ship Mortgage Act, 1920.
Section 31301(3) defines “mortgagee” as a person to whom property is mortgaged and the trustee authorized under section 31328 that is designated in the trust agreement.
Section 31301(4) defines “necessaries” to include repairs, supplies, towage, and the use of a drydock and marine railway for a vessel. As in all codifications, the term “includes” means “includes but is not limited to” and, therefore, is not intended to be an exclusive listing of those items that a court has determined or may determine as falling within the meaning of the term “other necessaries” as contained in current law. The definition is new, is based on 46 App. U.S.C. 971–974, and makes no substantive change to law.
Section 31301(5) defines “preferred maritime lien” to mean a lien on a vessel that arises before a preferred mortgage was filed under section 31321 of this title for damages arising out of maritime tort, stevedore wages, crew wages, general average, and salvage. The definition is new and is based on 46 App. U.S.C. 953(a). The only substantive change to law made by this paragraph is to change the effective date from the day the preferred mortgage is recorded and endorsed to when it is filed. This change is in keeping with other changes with regard to filing. The term “duly and validly” that is in existing law is not used because it is unnecessary. An instrument that is not “duly and validly” executed is not executed under the laws of the foreign country. This makes no substantive change to law.
Section 31301(6)(A) defines “preferred mortgage” to mean a mortgage that meets the requirements of section 31322. This clause makes no substantive change to law.
Section 31301(6)(B) defines “preferred mortgage” to also mean a mortgage on a documented foreign vessel that is preferred under sections 31325 and 31326 for purposes of enforcement of the outstanding mortgage indebtedness. Preference is only granted if the mortgage is executed under the laws of a foreign country, registered under those laws in a public register at the port of registry or at a central office. The use of the word “established” in place of “created” in the current law or “effective” as used in the treaties is not intended to make any substantive change to law. The only substantive changes to law made by this clause are the elimination of the exemption of foreign vessels of less than 200 gross tons, and clarification of the rule of interpretation that if a vessel is registered in one country, but is permitted to fly temporarily the flag of another country (such as through a demise charter), it is the law of the country in which the ownership of the vessel is documented that is used to determine when a mortgage attains preferred status.
2010—Par. (7). Pub. L. 111–281 added par. (7).
Pub. L. 100–710, title I, § 107,