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§ 289c. Transportation of passengers between Puerto Rico and other United States ports; foreign-flag vessels; unavailability of United States flag service

(a) Authorization of transportation
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, passengers may be transported on passenger vessels not qualified to engage in the coastwise trade between ports in Puerto Rico and other ports in the United States, directly or by way of a foreign port, except as otherwise provided in this section.
(b) Notification by Secretary; termination of services
(1) Upon a showing to the Secretary of Transportation, by the vessel owner or charterer, that service aboard a United States passenger vessel qualified to engage in the coastwise trade is being offered or advertised pursuant to a Certificate of Financial Responsibility for Indemnification of Passengers for Nonperformance of Transportation (46 App. U.S.C. 817e) from the Federal Maritime Commission for service in the coastwise trade between ports in Puerto Rico and other ports in the United States, the Secretary shall notify the owner or operator of each vessel transporting passengers under authority of this section that he shall, within 270 days after notification, terminate all such service. Coastwise privileges granted to every owner or operator under this section shall expire on the 270th day following the Secretary’s notification.
(2) Upon a showing to the Secretary, by the vessel owner or charterer, that service aboard a United States passenger vessel not qualified to engage in the coastwise trade is being offered or advertised pursuant to a Certificate of Financial Responsibility for Indemnification of Passengers for Nonperformance of Transportation (46 App. U.S.C. 817e) from the Federal Maritime Commission for service in the coastwise trade between ports in Puerto Rico and other ports in the United States, the Secretary shall notify the owner or operator of each foreign-flag vessel transporting passengers under authority of this section that he shall, within 270 days after notification, terminate all such service. Coastwise privileges granted to every owner or operator of a foreign-flag vessel transporting passengers under authority of this section shall expire on the 270th day following the Secretary’s notification.
(c) Extension of termination period
If, at the expiration of the 270-day period specified in subsections (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section, the vessel that has been offering or advertising service pursuant to a certificate described in either of those subsections has not entered the coastwise passenger trade between ports in Puerto Rico and other ports in the United States, then the termination of service required by either of those subsections shall not be required until 90 days following the entry into that trade by the United States vessel.
(d) Reinstatement of coastwise privileges
Any coastwise privileges granted in this section that expire under subsection (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this section shall be reinstated upon a determination by the Secretary that the service on which the expiration of the privileges was based is no longer available.
(e) “Passenger vessel” defined
For the purposes of subsections (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section, the term “passenger vessel” means any vessel of similar size or offering service comparable to any other vessel transporting passengers under authority of this section.

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