§ 1196. Advertising for bids for charters; rejection of bids
(a) The Secretary of Transportation shall not charter the Department of Transportation’s vessels to private operators except upon competitive sealed bids submitted in strict compliance with all the terms and conditions of a public advertisement soliciting such bids. Each and every advertisement for bids to charter the Department of Transportation’s vessels shall state the number, type, and tonnage of the vessels the Secretary of Transportation is offering for bare-boat charter for operation as a steamship line on a designated trade route, the minimum number of sailings that will be required, the length of time for which the charter will be given, and all other information the Secretary of Transportation shall deem necessary for the information of prospective bidders.
(b) The Secretary of Transportation shall have authority to, and shall announce in his advertisements for bids that the Secretary of Transportation reserves the right to, reject any and all bids submitted. The Secretary of Transportation shall reject any bid for the charter (under sections 1191 to 1203 of this Appendix) of any vessel constructed under the provisions of this chapter, as amended, if the charter hire offered by the bidder is lower than the minimum charter hire for such vessel would be if chartered under the provisions of section 1204 of this Appendix.