§ 1712. Penalties
(a) Assessment of penalty
Whoever violates a provision of this chapter, a regulation issued thereunder, or a Commission order is liable to the United States for a civil penalty. The amount of the civil penalty, unless otherwise provided in this chapter, may not exceed $5,000 for each violation unless the violation was willfully and knowingly committed, in which case the amount of the civil penalty may not exceed $25,000 for each violation. Each day of a continuing violation constitutes a separate offense. The amount of any penalty imposed upon a common carrier under this subsection shall constitute a lien upon the vessels operated by that common carrier and any such vessel may be libeled therefore in the district court of the United States for the district in which it may be found.
(b) Additional penalties
(1) For a violation of section 1709 (b)(1), (2), or (7) of this Appendix, the Commission may suspend any or all tariffs of the common carrier, or that common carrier’s right to use any or all tariffs of conferences of which it is a member, for a period not to exceed 12 months.
(2) For failure to supply information ordered to be produced or compelled by subpena under section 1711 of this Appendix, the Commission may, after notice and an opportunity for hearing, suspend any or all tariffs of a common carrier, or that common carrier’s right to use any or all tariffs of conferences of which it is a member.
(3) A common carrier that accepts or handles cargo for carriage under a tariff that has been suspended or after its right to utilize that tariff has been suspended is subject to a civil penalty of not more than $50,000 for each shipment.
(4) If the Commission finds, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, that a common carrier has failed to supply information ordered to be produced or compelled by subpoena under section 1711 of this Appendix, the Commission may request that the Secretary of the Treasury refuse or revoke any clearance required for a vessel operated by that common carrier. Upon request by the Commission, the Secretary of the Treasury shall, with respect to the vessel concerned, refuse or revoke any clearance required by section 91 of this Appendix.
(5) If, in defense of its failure to comply with a subpena or discovery order, a common carrier alleges that documents or information located in a foreign country cannot be produced because of the laws of that country, the Commission shall immediately notify the Secretary of State of the failure to comply and of the allegation relating to foreign laws. Upon receiving the notification, the Secretary of State shall promptly consult with the government of the nation within which the documents or information are alleged to be located for the purpose of assisting the Commission in obtaining the documents or information sought.
(6) If, after notice and hearing, the Commission finds that the action of a common carrier, acting alone or in concert with any person, or a foreign government has unduly impaired access of a vessel documented under the laws of the United States to ocean trade between foreign ports, the Commission shall take action that it finds appropriate, including the imposition of any of the penalties authorized under paragraphs (1), (2), (3), and (4) of this subsection.
(7) Before an order under this subsection becomes effective, it shall be immediately submitted to the President who may, within 10 days after receiving it, disapprove the order if the President finds that disapproval is required for reasons of the national defense or the foreign policy of the United States.
(c) Assessment procedures
Until a matter is referred to the Attorney General, the Commission may, after notice and an opportunity for hearing, assess each civil penalty provided for in this chapter. In determining the amount of the penalty, the Commission shall take into account the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation committed and, with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, history of prior offenses, ability to pay, and such other matters as justice may require. The Commission may compromise, modify, or remit, with or without conditions, any civil penalty.
(d) Review of civil penalty
(e) Failure to pay assessment
If a person fails to pay an assessment of a civil penalty after it has become final or after the appropriate court has entered final judgment in favor of the Commission, the Attorney General at the request of the Commission may seek to recover the amount assessed in an appropriate district court of the United States. In such an action, the court shall enforce the Commission’s order unless it finds that the order was not regularly made or duly issued.
(1) No penalty may be imposed on any person for conspiracy to violate section 1709 (a)(1), (b)(1), or (b)(2) of this Appendix, or to defraud the Commission by concealment of such a violation. Neither the Commission nor any court shall order any person to pay the difference between the amount billed and agreed upon in writing with a common carrier or its agent and the amount set forth in any tariff or service contract by that common carrier for the transportation service provided.
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