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§ 1205. Experimental operation and testing of United States vessels; number; bareboat charters; review of charters and agency agreements; provisions applicable to charters and agreements

The Secretary of Transportation, for the purpose of practical development, trial, and testing, is authorized without regard to other provisions of this subchapter or other laws relating to chartering and general agency operations, to operate, under general agency agreements, or bareboat charter, vessels owned by the United States (including any national defense reserve vessel) which have been constructed, reconditioned, or remodeled for experimental or testing purposes, in the foreign or domestic trade of the United States or for use for the account of any agency or department of the United States, under such reasonable terms or conditions as the Secretary of Transportation determines to be necessary to carry out the objects of this chapter: Provided, however, That not in excess of ten such vessels shall be operated and tested under the authority of this section in any one year. Bareboat charters entered into under this section shall be made at reasonable rates of charter and shall include such restrictions and conditions as the Secretary of Transportation determines to be necessary or appropriate to protect the public interest, including provisions for recapture of profits as provided for in section 1199 of this Appendix. Charters and general agency agreements entered into under this section shall be reviewed annually for the purpose of determining whether conditions exist which would justify continuance of the charter or agreement. Those provisions of law prescribed or incorporated under section 1241a of this Appendix, which relate to vessel operating activities of the Secretary of Transportation and to employment of seamen through general agents, shall be applicable in connection with charters and agreements entered into under this section.
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