§ 1125. Acquisition of vessels
The Secretary of Transportation is authorized to acquire by purchase or otherwise such vessels constructed in the United States as he may deem necessary to establish, maintain, improve, or effect replacements upon any service, route, or line in the foreign commerce of the United States determined to be essential under section 1121 of this Appendix, and to pay for the same out of his construction fund: Provided, That the price paid therefor shall be based upon a fair and reasonable valuation, but it shall not exceed by more than 5 per centum the cost of such vessel to the owner (excluding any construction-differential subsidy and the cost of national defense features paid by the Secretary of Transportation) plus the actual cost previously expended thereon for reconditioning less depreciation based upon a twenty-five year life expectancy of the vessel. No such vessel shall be acquired by the Secretary of Transportation unless the Secretary of the Navy has certified to the Secretary of Transportation that such vessel is suitable for economical and speedy conversion into a naval or military auxiliary, or otherwise suitable for the use of the United States in time of war or national emergency. Every vessel acquired under authority of this section that is not documented under the laws of the United States at the time of its acquisition shall be so documented as soon as practicable.