(a) If the owner or Mortgagee of a Fishing Industry Vessel believes that there is a conflict between the AFA or 46 CFR part 356 and any international treaty or agreement to which the United States is a party on July 24, 2001, and to which the United States is currently a party, the owner or Mortgagee may petition the Chief Counsel of the Maritime Administration at any time after July 19, 2000 to request a ruling that all or part of the requirements of this part 356 do not apply to that particular owner or particular Mortgagee with respect to a specific vessel; provided, the petitioner had an ownership interest in the Fishing Industry Vessel, or a mortgage on the vessel in the case of a Mortgagee, on July 24, 2001, and is covered by the international agreement.
(b) A petition for exemption from the requirements of this part 356 must include:
(1) Evidence of the ownership structure, or mortgage structure in the case of a Mortgagee, of the Fishing Industry Vessel as of July 24, 2001 (or on the date of the petition, for petitions filed prior to July 24, 2001), and any subsequent changes to the ownership structure, or mortgage structure in the case of a Mortgagee, of the vessel;
(2) A copy of the provisions of the international agreement or treaty which the owner or mortgagee believes are in conflict with the regulations in this part 356;
(3) A detailed description of how the provisions of the international agreement or treaty and the regulations in this part 356 are in conflict; and
(4) A certification in all petitions filed on or after July 24, 2001, that no interest in the vessel-owning entity has been transferred to a Non-Citizen after July 24, 2001.
(c) A separate petition must be filed for each Fishing Industry Vessel for which the vessel owner or a Mortgagee is requesting an exemption unless the Chief Counsel authorizes consolidated filing. Petitions should include two copies of all materials and should be sent to the following address: Maritime Administration, Chief Counsel, Room 7228, 400 7th Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590.
(d) Upon receipt of a complete petition, the Chief Counsel may publish a notice in the Federal Register requesting public comment if the petition presents unique issues that have not been addressed in previous determinations. The Federal Register notice will include the petitioner's descriptions regarding how the AFA and this part 356 are in conflict with a particular investment treaty or agreement, but it will not include proprietary or confidential information about the petitioner. The Chief Counsel, in consultation with other departments and agencies within the Federal Government that have responsibility or expertise related to the interpretation or application of international investment agreements (e.g., the Department of State, United States Trade Representative, Department of Treasury, etc.), will review the petition and the public comments, if any, to determine whether the international agreement and the requirements of the AFA and this part 356 are in conflict and, absent any extenuating circumstances, will render a decision within 120 days of the receipt of a fully completed petition. If MARAD's Chief Counsel determines after the receipt of a fully completed petition that there are extenuating circumstances that will preclude a decision from being rendered on the petition within 120 days, the petitioner will be notified around the 90th day and provided with an estimated date on which a decision will be rendered.
(e) To the extent that it is determined that an international agreement covering the petitioner is in conflict with the requirements of this part 356, the AFA, 46 U.S.C. 31322(a), 46 U.S.C. 12102(c), and this part 356 will not be applied to the petitioner with respect to the specific vessel. If the petitioner is a vessel owner, it will be required to comply with the documentation requirements as in effect prior to passage of the AFA on October 21, 1998. If the petitioner is a Mortgagee, it will be subject to requirements of 46 U.S.C. 31322(a) as in effect prior to passage of the AFA with regard to the mortgage on the particular vessel covered by the petition. Decisions of the Chief Counsel may be appealed to the Maritime Administrator within 15 business days of issuance.
(f) The owner of a Fishing Industry Vessel that is determined through the petition process to be exempt from all or part of the requirements of this part 356 must submit evidence of its ownership structure to the Chief Counsel on an annual basis. The owner must specifically set forth:
(1) The Vessel's current ownership structure;
(2) The identity of all Non-Citizen owners and the percentage owned;
(3) Any changes in the ownership structure that have occurred since the filing of the last Affidavit; and,
(4) A certification that no interest in the vessel was transferred to a Non-Citizen after July 24, 2001.
(1) To all owners and Mortgagees of a Fishing Industry Vessel who acquired an interest in the vessel after July 24, 2001; and
(2) To the owner of a Fishing Industry Vessel on July 24, 2001, if any ownership interest in that owner is transferred to or otherwise acquired by a Non-Citizen or if the percentage of foreign ownership in the vessel is increased after such date.
(3) An ownership interest is deemed to be transferred under this paragraph (g) if:
(i) There is a transfer of direct ownership interest in the primary vessel owning entity. If the primary vessel owning entity is wholly owned by another entity, the parent entity will be considered the primary vessel owning entity; or
(ii) There is a transfer of indirect ownership at any tier.
(4) A transfer of interest in a vessel owner does not include:
(i) Transfers of disparately held shares of a vessel-owning entity if it is a publicly traded company and the total of the shares transferred in a particular transaction equals less than 5% of the shares in that class. An interest in a vessel owning entity that exceeds 5% of the shares in a class can not be sold to the same Non-Citizen through multiple transactions involving less than 5% of the shares of that class of stock in order to maintain the exemption for the vessel owner; or