United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jan 28, 2023

§ 55305.
Cargoes procured, furnished, or financed by the United States Government
In this section, the term “privately-owned commercial vessel of the United States” does not include a vessel that, after September 21, 1961, was built or rebuilt outside the United States or documented under the laws of a foreign country, until the vessel has been documented under the laws of the United States for at least 3 years.
Minimum Tonnage.—
When the United States Government procures, contracts for, or otherwise obtains for its own account, or furnishes to or for the account of a foreign country, organization, or persons without provision for reimbursement, any equipment, materials, or commodities, or provides financing in any way with Federal funds for the account of any persons unless otherwise exempted, within or without the United States, or advances funds or credits, or guarantees the convertibility of foreign currencies in connection with the furnishing or obtaining of the equipment, materials, or commodities, the appropriate agencies shall take steps necessary and practicable to ensure that at least 50 percent of the gross tonnage of the equipment, materials, or commodities (computed separately for dry bulk carriers, dry cargo liners, and tankers) which may be transported on ocean vessels is transported on privately-owned commercial vessels of the United States, to the extent those vessels are available at fair and reasonable rates for commercial vessels of the United States, in a manner that will ensure a fair and reasonable participation of commercial vessels of the United States in those cargoes by geographic areas.
The President, the Secretary of Defense, or Congress (by concurrent resolution or otherwise) may waive this section temporarily by—
declaring the existence of an emergency justifying a waiver; and
notifying the appropriate agencies of the waiver.
Programs of Other Agencies.—
Each department or agency that has responsibility for a program under this section shall administer that program with respect to this section under regulations and guidance issued by the Secretary of Transportation. The Secretary, after consulting with the department or agency or organization or person involved, shall have the sole responsibility for determining if a program is subject to the requirements of this section.
The Secretary—
shall conduct an annual review of the administration of programs determined pursuant to paragraph (1) as subject to the requirements of this section;
may direct agencies to require the transportation on United States-flagged vessels of cargo shipments not otherwise subject to this section in equivalent amounts to cargo determined to have been shipped on foreign carriers in violation of this section;
may impose on any person that violates this section, or a regulation prescribed under this section, a civil penalty of not more than $25,000 for each violation willfully and knowingly committed, with each day of a continuing violation following the date of shipment to be a separate violation; and
may take other measures as appropriate under the Federal Acquisition Regulations issued pursuant to section 25(c)(1) 1
 See References in Text note below.
of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 1303(a)(1)) or contract with respect to each violation.
Security of Government-Impelled Cargo.—
In order to ensure the safety of vessels and crewmembers transporting equipment, materials, or commodities under this section, the Secretary of Transportation shall direct each department or agency (except the Department of Defense), when responsible for the carriage of such equipment, materials, or commodities, to reimburse, subject to the availability of appropriations, the owners or operators of vessels of the United States carrying such equipment, materials, or commodities for the cost of providing armed personnel aboard such vessels if the vessels are transiting high-risk waters.
In this subsection, the term “high-risk waters” means waters so designated by the Commandant of the Coast Guard in the maritime security directive issued by the Commandant and in effect on the date on which an applicable voyage begins, if the Secretary of Transportation—
determines that an act of piracy occurred in the 12-month period preceding the date the voyage begins; or
in such period, issued an advisory warning that an act of piracy is possible in such waters.
(Pub. L. 109–304, § 8(c), Oct. 6, 2006, 120 Stat. 1642; Pub. L. 110–417, div. C, title XXXV, § 3511(a), (b), Oct. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 4769; Pub. L. 112–213, title V, § 503, Dec. 20, 2012, 126 Stat. 1575; Pub. L. 113–281, title III, § 306, Dec. 18, 2014, 128 Stat. 3044; Pub. L. 115–232, div. C, title XXXV, § 3546(s), Aug. 13, 2018, 132 Stat. 2327.)
cite as: 46 USC 55305