When the United States is at war or during any national emergency, the existence of which is declared by proclamation of the President, it shall be unlawful, without first obtaining the approval of the Secretary of Transportation:
To cause or procure any vessel constructed in whole or in part within the United States, which has never cleared for any foreign port, to depart from a port of the United States before it has been documented under the laws of the United States.
Whoever violates, or attempts or conspires to violate, any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 or by imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.
If a bond, note, or other evidence of indebtedness which is secured by a mortgage of a vessel to a trustee or by an assignment to a trustee of the owner’s right, title, or interest in a vessel under construction, or by a mortgage to a trustee on a shipyard, drydock or ship-building or ship-repairing plant or facilities, is issued, transferred, or assigned to a person not a citizen of the United States in violation of subsection (c) of this section, the issuance, transfer or assignment shall be void.
Any vessel, shipyard, drydock, ship-building or ship-repairing plant or facilities, or interest therein, sold, mortgaged, leased, chartered, delivered, transferred, or documented, or agreed to be sold, mortgaged, leased, chartered, delivered, transferred, or documented, in violation of any of the provisions of this section, and any stocks, bonds, or other securities sold or transferred, or agreed to be sold or transferred, in violation of any of such provisions, or any vessel departing in violation of the provisions of subsection (e) of this section, shall be forfeited to the United States.
Any such sale, mortgage, lease, charter, delivery, transfer, documentation, or agreement therefor shall be void, whether made within or without the United States, and any consideration paid therefor or deposited in connection therewith shall be recoverable at the suit of the person who has paid or deposited the same, or of his successors or assigns, after the tender of such vessel, shipyard, drydock, shipbuilding or ship-repairing plant or facilities, or interest therein, or of such stocks, bonds, or other securities, to the person entitled thereto, or after forfeiture thereof to the United States, unless the person to whom the consideration was paid, or in whose interest it was deposited, entered into the transaction in the honest belief that the person who paid or deposited such consideration was a citizen of the United States.