§ 1195. Employment of vessels on foreign trade routes; selection of routes; encouraging private operation by sale or charter; selling price
As soon as practicable after June 29, 1936, and continuing thereafter, the Secretary of Transportation shall arrange for the employment of the Department of Transportation’s vessels in steamship lines on such trade routes, exclusively serving the foreign trade of the United States, as the Secretary of Transportation shall determine are necessary and essential for the development and maintenance of the commerce of the United States and the national defense: Provided, That such needs are not being adequately served by existing steamship lines privately owned and operated by citizens of the United States and documented under the laws of the United States. It shall be the policy of the Secretary of Transportation to encourage private operation of each essential steamship line now owned by the United States by selling such lines to citizens of the United States in the manner provided in section 7 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1920 [46 App. U.S.C. 866], and in strict accordance with the provisions of section 5 of said Act, or by demising his vessels on bare-boat charter to citizens of the United States who shall agree to maintain such line or lines in the manner hereinafter provided. No vessel constructed under the provisions of this chapter, as amended, shall be sold by the Secretary of Transportation for operation in the foreign trade for a sum less than the estimated foreign construction cost exclusive of national defense features (determined as of the date the construction contract therefor is executed) less depreciation based on a twenty-five year life, nor shall any such vessel be sold by the Secretary of Transportation for operation in the domestic trade for a sum less than the cost of construction in the United States exclusive of national defense features less depreciation based on a twenty-five year life.
 See References in Text note below.