It shall be the duty of the Secretary of Transportation to make a survey of the American merchant marine, as it now exists, to determine what additions and replacements are required to carry forward the national policy declared in section
of this Appendix, and the Secretary of Transportation is directed to study, perfect, and adopt a long-range program for replacements and additions to the American merchant marine so that as soon as practicable the following objectives may be accomplished:
First, the creation of an adequate and well-balanced merchant fleet, including vessels of all types, to provide shipping service essential for maintaining the flow of the foreign commerce of the United States, the vessels in such fleet to be so designed as to be readily and quickly convertible into transport and supply vessels in a time of national emergency. In planning the development of such a fleet the Secretary of Transportation is directed to cooperate closely with the Navy Department as to national-defense needs and the possible speedy adaptation of the merchant fleet to national-defense requirements.
Second, the ownership and the operation of such a merchant fleet by citizens of the United States insofar as may be practicable.
Third, the planning of vessels designed to afford the best and most complete protection for passengers and crew against fire and all marine perils.
Fourth, the creation and maintenance of efficient shipbuilding and repair capacity in the United States with adequate numbers of skilled personnel to provide an adequate mobilization base.