46 U.S. Code § 31301 - Definitions
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In this chapter—
(1) “acknowledge” means making—
(A) an acknowledgment or notarization before a notary public or other official authorized by a law of the United States or a State to take acknowledgments of deeds; or
(2) “district court” means—
(3) “mortgagee” means—
(5) “preferred maritime lien” means a maritime lien on a vessel—
(A) arising before a preferred mortgage was filed under section 31321 of this title;
(C) for wages of a stevedore when employed directly by a person listed in section 31341 of this title;
(6) “preferred mortgage”—
(A) means a mortgage that is a preferred mortgage under section 31322 of this title; and
(B) also means in sections 31325 and 31326 of this title, a mortgage, hypothecation, or similar charge that is established as a security on a foreign vessel if the mortgage, hypothecation, or similar charge was executed under the laws of the foreign country under whose laws the ownership of the vessel is documented and has been registered under those laws in a public register at the port of registry of the vessel or at a central office; and
Source(Pub. L. 100–710, title I, § 102(c),Nov. 23, 1988, 102 Stat. 4739; Pub. L. 111–281, title IX, § 913(a)(2)–(4), Oct. 15, 2010, 124 Stat. 3017.)
|Revised section||Source section (U.S. Code)|
|31301(4)||Derived from 46:971–974|
|31301(6)(B)||46:951 (2d par. less proviso)|
Section 31301 (1) defines the term “acknowledge”. This paragraph makes a substantive change to law to expand the current law by allowing a notarization under State law, a form prescribed by the Secretary, as well as a certificate issued under the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, 1961.
Section 31301 (2) defines “district court”. This paragraph makes a substantive change to law by including the District Court of Guam, the District Court of the Virgin Islands, the District Court of the Northern Mariana Islands, the High Court of American Samoa, and other Federal territorial courts as they are established. Under current law, only the district courts of the United States have jurisdiction under the Ship Mortgage Act, 1920.
Section 31301 (3) defines “mortgagee” as a person to whom property is mortgaged and the trustee authorized under section 31328 that is designated in the trust agreement.
Section 31301 (4) defines “necessaries” to include repairs, supplies, towage, and the use of a drydock and marine railway for a vessel. As in all codifications, the term “includes” means “includes but is not limited to” and, therefore, is not intended to be an exclusive listing of those items that a court has determined or may determine as falling within the meaning of the term “other necessaries” as contained in current law. The definition is new, is based on 46 App. U.S.C. 971–974, and makes no substantive change to law.
Section 31301 (5) defines “preferred maritime lien” to mean a lien on a vessel that arises before a preferred mortgage was filed under section 31321 of this title for damages arising out of maritime tort, stevedore wages, crew wages, general average, and salvage. The definition is new and is based on 46 App. U.S.C. 953(a). The only substantive change to law made by this paragraph is to change the effective date from the day the preferred mortgage is recorded and endorsed to when it is filed. This change is in keeping with other changes with regard to filing. The term “duly and validly” that is in existing law is not used because it is unnecessary. An instrument that is not “duly and validly” executed is not executed under the laws of the foreign country. This makes no substantive change to law.
Section 31301 (6)(A) defines “preferred mortgage” to mean a mortgage that meets the requirements of section 31322. This clause makes no substantive change to law.
Section 31301 (6)(B) defines “preferred mortgage” to also mean a mortgage on a documented foreign vessel that is preferred under sections 31325 and 31326 for purposes of enforcement of the outstanding mortgage indebtedness. Preference is only granted if the mortgage is executed under the laws of a foreign country, registered under those laws in a public register at the port of registry or at a central office. The use of the word “established” in place of “created” in the current law or “effective” as used in the treaties is not intended to make any substantive change to law. The only substantive changes to law made by this clause are the elimination of the exemption of foreign vessels of less than 200 gross tons, and clarification of the rule of interpretation that if a vessel is registered in one country, but is permitted to fly temporarily the flag of another country (such as through a demise charter), it is the law of the country in which the ownership of the vessel is documented that is used to determine when a mortgage attains preferred status.
2010—Par. (7). Pub. L. 111–281added par. (7).
“(a) This title [see Tables for classification] and amendments made by this title take effect on January 1, 1989. However, sections 31321 and 31322 of title 46 (as enacted by section 102 of this Act), United States Code (as sections 31321 and 32322 [probably should be 31322] apply to vessels for which an application for documentation has been filed), take effect on January 1, 1990.
“(b) An instrument filed before January 1, 1989, but not recorded before that date, is deemed to comply with section 31321 of title 46, United States Code, if it is in substantial compliance with the provisions in that section that had corresponding requirements under the law on December 31, 1988. However, the mortgage may not become a preferred mortgage until the vessel is documented.
“(c) This title and the amendments made by this title do not affect the validity of any instrument filed or recorded before January 1, 1989, if there was a corresponding requirement under the law on December 31, 1988.
“(d) An instrument filed or recorded before January 1, 1989, is deemed to comply with any new requirement under chapter 313 of title 46, United States Code (as enacted by section 102 of this Act), affecting the validity of that instrument.
“(e) Section 102 of this Act and amendments made by that section [enacting former section 30101 andsections 31301 to 31309, 31321 to 31330, and 31341 to 31343 of this title and provisions set out as a note preceding section 2101 of this title] do not affect any civil action filed before January 1, 1989.
“(f) Section 104(b) of this Act and the amendments made by section 104(b) of this Act [amending section 808 of the former Appendix to this title] do not apply to any change in control resulting from, or which may at any time result from, any proposed plan of reorganization filed under the United States bankruptcy laws prior to the date of enactment of this Act [Nov. 23, 1988], except that transactions undertaken as a result of such a plan shall continue to be governed by section 9 of the Shipping Act, 1916 ([former] 46 App. U.S.C. 808) [see 46 U.S.C. 56101, 57109], as it existed prior to the date of enactment of this Act, to the extent that such section 9 would have governed such transactions.”
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