§ 1181. Transfer of vessels to foreign registry on default of United States
(a) Application; hearing; grant or denial
The contractor, upon compliance with the provisions of this section, may transfer to foreign registry the vessels covered by any operating-differential subsidy contract held by him, in the event that the United States defaults upon such contract or cancels it without just cause. Any contractor desiring to transfer any such vessel to foreign registry upon such default or cancelation shall file an application in writing with the Secretary of Transportation setting forth its contentions with respect to the lack of just cause or lawful grounds for such default or cancelation. The Secretary of Transportation shall afford the contractor an opportunity for a hearing within twenty days after such contractor files written application therefor, and after the testimony, if any, in such hearing has been reduced to writing and filed with the Secretary of Transportation, he shall, within a reasonable time, grant or deny the application by order.
(b) Appeal from denial of application
If any such application is denied, the contractor may obtain a review of the order of denial in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, by filing in such court, within twenty days after the entry of such order, a written petition praying that the order of the Secretary of Transportation be set aside. A copy of such petition shall be forthwith transmitted by the clerk of the court to the Secretary of Transportation or any officer designated by him for that purpose, and thereupon the Secretary of Transportation shall file in the court the record upon which the order complained of was entered, as provided in section 2112 of title 28. Upon the filing of such petition such court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to determine whether such cancelation or default was without just cause, and to affirm or set aside such order. The judgment and decree of the court affirming or setting aside any such order of the Secretary of Transportation shall be final.
(c) Effectiveness of transfer
No transfer of vessels to foreign registry under this section shall become effective until any indebtedness to the Government or to any citizen of the United States, secured by such vessels, has been paid or discharged, and until after the expiration of ninety days from the date of final determination of the application or the appeal, if any. Within such ninety-day period the Secretary of Transportation may
(1) with the consent of the contractor purchase the vessels at cost to the contractor plus cost of capital improvements thereon, less 4 per centum annual depreciation upon such vessel, and the actual depreciated costs of capital improvements thereon, or
(2) reinstate the contract and adjust or settle the default found by the Secretary of Transportation or the court to exist.