§ 1242. Requisition or purchase of vessels in time of emergency
(a) Compensation; restoration; consequential damages
Whenever the President shall proclaim that the security of the national defense makes it advisable or during any national emergency declared by proclamation of the President, it shall be lawful for the Secretary of Transportation to requisition or purchase any vessel or other watercraft owned by citizens of the United States, a documented vessel, or a vessel under construction within the United States, or for any period during such emergency, to requisition or charter the use of any such property. The termination of any emergency so declared shall be announced by a further proclamation by the President. When any such property or the use thereof is so requisitioned, the owner thereof shall be paid just compensation for the property taken or for the use of such property, but in no case shall the value of the property taken or used be deemed enhanced by the causes necessitating the taking or use. If any property is taken and used under authority of this section, but the ownership thereof is not required by the United States, such property shall be restored to the owner in a condition at least as good as when taken, less ordinary wear and tear, or the owner shall be paid an amount for reconditioning sufficient to place the property in such condition. The owner shall not be paid for any consequential damages arising from a taking or use of property under authority of this section.
(b) Determination of value of vessel
When any vessel is taken or used under authority of this section, upon which vessel a construction-differential subsidy has been allowed and paid, the value of the vessel at the time of its taking shall be determined as provided in section 1212 of this Appendix, and in determining the value of any vessel taken or used, on which a construction-differential subsidy has not been paid, the value of any national defense features previously paid for by the United States shall be excluded.
(c) Charter of vessels; compensation; reimbursement for loss or damage
If any property is taken and used under authority of this section, but the ownership thereof is not required by the United States, the Secretary of Transportation, at the time of the taking or as soon thereafter as the exigencies of the situation may permit, shall transmit to the person entitled to the possession of such property a charter setting forth the terms which, in the Secretary’s judgment, should govern the relationships between the United States and such person and a statement of the rate of hire which, in the Secretary’s judgment, will be just compensation for the use of such property and for the services required under the terms of such charter. If such person does not execute and deliver such charter and accept such rate of hire, the Secretary of Transportation shall pay to such person as a tentative advance only, on account of such just compensation a sum equal to 75 per centum of such rate of hire as the same may from time to time be due under the terms of the charter so tendered, and such person shall be entitled to sue the United States in a court having jurisdiction of such claims to recover such amounts as would be equal to just compensation for the use of the property and for the services required in connection with such use: Provided, however, That in the event of an election by such person to reject the rate of hire fixed by the Secretary of Transportation and to sue in the courts, the excess of any amounts advanced on account of just compensation over the amount of the court judgment will be required to be refunded. In the event of loss or damage to such property, due to operation of a risk assumed by the United States under the terms of a charter prescribed in this subsection, but no valuation of such vessel or other property or mode of compensation has been agreed to, the United States shall pay just compensation for such loss or damage, to the extent the person entitled thereto is not reimbursed therefor through policies of insurance against such loss or damage.
(d) Determination of amount of compensation
In all cases, the just compensation authorized by this section shall be determined and paid by the Secretary of Transportation as soon as practicable, but if the amount of just compensation determined by the Secretary is unsatisfactory to the person entitled thereto; such person shall be paid, as a tentative advance only, 75 per centum of the amount so determined and shall be entitled to sue the United States to recover such amount as would equal just compensation therefor, in the manner provided for by sections 1346 and 1491 of title 28: Provided, however, That in that event of an election to reject the amount determined by the Secretary of Transportation and to sue in the courts, the excess of any amounts advanced on account of just compensation over the amount of the court judgment will be required to be refunded.
The existence of any valid claim by way of mortgage or maritime claim or attachment lien upon such vessel shall not prevent the taking thereof pursuant to this section: Provided, however, That in the event any such claim exists the Secretary of Transportation may in his discretion deposit such portion of the compensation hereunder, or advances on account thereof, as may equal but not exceed the amount of such claims in respect of the vessel, with the Treasurer of the United States, and the fund so deposited shall be available for the payment of such compensation, and shall be subject to be applied to the payment of the amount of any valid claim by way of mortgage or maritime lien or attachment lien upon such vessel, or of any stipulation therefor in a court of the United States, or of any State, subsisting at the time of such requisition or taking of title or possession; the holder of any such claim may commence prior to June 30, 1943, or within six months after the first such deposit with the Treasurer and publication of notice thereof in the Federal Register, whichever date is later, and maintain in the United States district court from whose custody such vessel has been or may be taken or in whose territorial jurisdiction the vessel was lying at the time of requisitioning or taking of title or possession, a suit in admiralty according to the principles of libels in rem against the fund, which shall proceed and be heard and determined according to the principles of law and to the rules of practice obtaining in like cases between private parties, and any decree in said suit shall be paid out of the first and all subsequent deposits of compensation; and such suit shall be commenced in the manner provided by section 742 of this Appendix and service of process shall be made in the manner therein provided by service upon the United States attorney and by mailing by registered mail to the Attorney General and the Secretary of Transportation and due notice shall under order of the court be given to all interested persons, and any decree shall be subject to appeal and revision as now provided in other cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction.
(e) Use of vessels by Secretary; transfer to other departments or agencies; reimbursement of Secretary
The Secretary of Transportation is authorized to repair, recondition, reconstruct, and operate, or charter for operation, any property acquired under authority of this section. The Secretary of Transportation is further authorized to transfer the possession or control of any such property to any department or agency of the Government of the United States upon such terms and conditions as may be approved by the President. In case of any such transfer the department or agency to which the transfer is made shall promptly reimburse the Secretary of Transportation for the Department of Transportation’s expenditures on account of just compensation, purchase price, repairs, reconditioning, reconstruction, or charter hire for the property transferred. Such reimbursements shall be deposited in the construction fund established by section 1116 of this Appendix.