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§ 1204. Construction and chartering of vessels for unsuccessful routes; purchase of vessel by charterer; purchase price; operation of vessel in foreign trade

If the Secretary of Transportation shall find that any trade route (determined by the Secretary of Transportation to be an essential trade route as provided in section 1121 of this Appendix) cannot be successfully developed and maintained and the Secretary of Transportation’s replacement program cannot be achieved under private operation of such trade route by a citizen of the United States with vessels registered under the laws thereof, without further Government aid in addition to the financial aids authorized under subchapters V and VI of this chapter, the Secretary of Transportation is authorized to have constructed, in private shipyards or in navy yards, the vessel or vessels of the types deemed necessary for such trade route, and to demise such new vessel or vessels, or bare-boat charter to the American-flag operator established on such trade route, without advertisement or competition, upon an annual charter hire of not less than 4 per centum of the price (herein referred to as the “foreign cost”) at which such vessel or vessels would be sold if constructed under subchapter V of this chapter plus an amount equal to (i) the sum of a percentage of the depreciated foreign cost computed annually upon the basis of a twenty-five year life of the vessel determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, taking into consideration the current average market yield on outstanding marketable obligations of the United States with remaining periods to maturity comparable to the term of the charter, adjusted to the nearest one-eighth of 1 per centum, plus (ii) an allowance adequate in the judgment of the Secretary of Transportation to cover administrative costs. Such charter may contain an option to the charterer to purchase such vessel or vessels from the Secretary of Transportation within five years after delivery thereof under the charter, upon the same terms and conditions as are provided in subchapter V of this chapter for the purchase of new vessels from the Secretary of Transportation, except that (a) the purchase price shall be the foreign cost less depreciation to the date of purchase based upon a twenty-five year life; (b) the required cash payment payable at the time of such purchase shall be 25 per centum of the purchase price as so determined; (c) the charter may provide that all or any part of the charter hire paid in excess of the minimum charter hire provided for in this section may be credited against the cash payment payable at the time of such purchase; (d) the balance of the purchase price shall be paid within the years remaining of the twenty-five years after the date of delivery of the vessel under the charter and in approximately equal annual installments, except that the first of said installments, which shall be payable upon the next ensuing anniversary date of such delivery under the charter, shall be a proportionate part of the annual installment, interest to be payable upon the unpaid balances from the date of purchase, at a rate not less than (i) a rate determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, taking into consideration the current average market yield on outstanding marketable obligations of the United States with remaining periods to maturity comparable to the average maturities of such loans, adjusted to the nearest one-eighth of 1 per centum, plus (ii) an allowance adequate in the judgment of the Secretary of Transportation to cover administrative costs.
Such charter shall provide for operation of the vessel exclusively in foreign trade, or on a round-the-world voyage, or on a round voyage from the west coast of the United States to a European port or ports which includes intercoastal ports of the United States, or a round voyage from the Atlantic coast of the United States to the Orient which includes intercoastal ports of the United States, or on a voyage in foreign trade on which the vessel may stop at the State of Hawaii, or an island possession or island Territory of the United States, and if the vessel is operated in the domestic trade on any of the above-enumerated services the charterer will pay annually to the Secretary of Transportation that proportion of one-twenty-fifth of the difference between the domestic and foreign cost of such vessel as the gross revenue derived from the domestic trade bears to the gross revenue derived from the entire voyages completed during the preceding year.

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