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H.R. 4009 (101st): Federal Maritime Commission Authorization Act of 1990

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.


10/27/1990--Senate agreed to House amendment with amendment. Federal Maritime Commission Authorization Act of 1990 - Title I: Federal Maritime Commission Authorization for Fiscal Year 1991 - Authorizes appropriations for the Federal Maritime Commission. Increases the amount allowed to be expended for official reception and representation expenses. Amends the Shipping Act of 1984 to change the due date for a final report by the Advisory Commission on Conferences in Ocean Shipping to one year after all of the Commission's members have been appointed (currently, one year after the Commission is established). Amends the Merchant Marine Act, 1920 to authorize and direct the Federal Maritime Commission to make rules and regulations regarding intermodal movements, terminal operations, cargo solicitation, forwarding and agency services, non-vessel-operating common carrier operations, and other activities integral to transportation systems. Authorizes the Commission, in furtherance of the purposes of such Act, to initiate rules and regulations on its own motion or pursuant to a petition by a person. Authorizes the Commission to require a person to file information with the Commission. Makes a person who fails to file such required information liable for civil fines. Empowers the Commission to authorize a party to use depositions, written interrogatories, and discovery procedures in conformity, to the extent practicable, with those of the U.S. district courts. Grants the Commission subpoena power. Entitles, subject to funds being appropriated, witnesses to the same fees and mileage as in U.S. courts. Authorizes the Commission, for failure to supply information ordered or subpoenaed, to: (1) suspend tariffs of a common carrier or suspend that carrier's right to use tariffs of conferences of which it is a member; or (2) assess a civil fine. Authorizes the Commission to seek enforcement of such information order or subpoena in U.S. district court. Authorizes the Commission, notwithstanding another law, to refuse to disclose to the public information provided under certain provisions amended by this Act. Authorizes the Commission, upon its finding of conditions unfavorable to shipping in the foreign trade of the United States, to: (1) limit sailings; (2) suspend tariffs; (3) suspend a common carrier's right to operate under an agreement filed with the Commission; (4) impose a per-voyage fee up to a specified amount; or (5) take any other action the Commission finds necessary and appropriate. Requires the collector of customs, upon request by the Commission, to: (1) refuse clearance to a vessel of a country named in a rule or regulation issued by the Commission; and (2) collect any such per-voyage fees imposed by the Commission. Requires the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to: (1) deny such a vessel entry, for purpose of oceanborne trade, into the United States; or (2) detain from leaving a place in the United States for another place in the United States. Makes a common carrier which accepts or handles cargo under a tariff which has been suspended as provided in this Act or after its right to use another tariff has been so suspended subject to a civil fine. Authorizes the Commission to consult with other Government agencies before taking action under the provisions amended by this Act. Title II: Documentation of Vessels - Authorizes the Secretary of Transportation, notwithstanding specified provisions of the Merchant Marine Act, 1920 and other specified Federal law, to issue for specified vessels a certificate of documentation. Declares that, notwithstanding specified provisions of the Merchant Marine Act, 1920 and other Federal law, a vessel owned by a nonprofit corporation for use exclusively an oceanographic research vessel and meeting other requirements shall: (1) be deemed to be owned by a citizen of the United States for documentation purposes; and (2) has not been "sold foreign" unless it has been placed under the registry of a foreign nation. Deems a specified vessel to be less than a certain weight and directs the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, in applying the regulations relating to the inspection of passenger vessels, to inspect under regulations applying to vessels of that weight. Directs the Secretary, notwithstanding any other provision of law, to inspect the vessel under specified provisions of Federal regulations. Requires any certification issued under those regulations to permit that vessel to carry not more than a specified number of passengers on lakes, bays, and sounds service. Title III: Coast Guard Omnibus Act of 1990 - Coast Guard Omnibus Act of 1990 - Deems the Sidney Lanier Bridge at mile 6.3 on the Brunswick River in Georgia to be an obstruction to navigation. Limits the Federal share of the costs of altering the bridge to 50 percent. Amends Federal law to authorize the Secretary of Transportation to issue a permit exempting three specified vessels from passenger vessel inspection requirements so long as such vessels are owned by nonprofit organizations and operated as nonprofit memorials to merchant mariners. Provides for the biennial designation of members of the Board of Visitors to the Coast Guard Academy. Declares that certain Federal measurement of vessel requirements shall not apply to barges (except a barge engaged on a foreign voyage) unless the owner of the barge requests. Authorizes the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating or the Commandant of the Coast Guard to require, under specified circumstances, the posting of a bond or other financial instruments by contractors for the construction of Coast Guard vessels. Exempts certain dredges from Federal laws requiring vessels to be under the control of a licensed pilot. Directs the Secretary of Transportation to quitclaim without consideration to the Town of Hempstead, Nassau County, New York, all rights, title, and interest of the United States in Coast Guard property and improvements at Reynolds Channel, Atlantic Beach, New York. Directs the Secretary of Transportation to transfer without consideration all rights, title, and interest of the United States in certain Coast Guard property to the city of South Haven, Michigan. Directs the Secretary of Transportation to transfer without consideration to the Secretary of Commerce all rights, title, and interest of the United States in certain Coast Guard property and improvements in the city of Muskegon, Michigan. Requires the Secretary of Commerce to make such property available to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Prohibits the use of authorized FY 1992 funds by the Coast Guard to acquire additional information resources, including information equipment, until the Commandant of the Coast Guard develops a strategic information resources plan. Revises Federal law relating to the computation of Federal funds allocated to States for recreational boating safety programs. Directs the Secretary of the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating to transfer without compensation to Dare County, North Carolina, all rights, title, and interest of the United States in Coast Guard property and improvements located in that county. Deems Bayou Lafourche, Louisiana, between the Percy Brown Road (Hwy 648), and the Southern Pacific Railroad bridge crossing the bayou, to be a navigable waterway. Declares that: (1) the United States releases, without monetary consideration, all restrictions, conditions, and limitations on the use, encumbrance, or conveyance of certain property in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, except for the right of access and use for national defense in time of war or national emergency; and (2) nothing in these provisions affects the disposition or ownership of oil, gas, or other mineral resources associated with the property. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1992 to the University of Alaska to establish a Cold Water Survival Training Center in Kenai, Alaska. Includes aliens lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence in the definition of "citizen of the United States" for purposes of applying to a fishing vessel in U.S. waters off California provisions relating to: (1) requirements for serving in certain officer positions on a documented vessel; (2) vessels eligible for documentation; (3) limitations on operations authorized by certificates; and (4) surrender and invalidation of certificates of documentation. Declares the portion of the Wisconsin River above the hydroelectric dam at Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, to be a nonnavigable waterway of the United States. Authorizes the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating to: (1) contract for the delivery of health care to which covered beneficiaries are entitled under specified provisions of Federal law; and (2) prescribe a premium, deductible, copayment, or other charge for health care provided under these provisions. Authorizes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to contract for the future purchase of atmospheric wind data, subject to certain contingencies. Title IV: False Distress Reports - Amends Federal law relating to the authority of the Coast Guard in saving life and property to provide for criminal penalties and liability for costs for communicating a false distress message to the Coast Guard. Title V: Additional Coast Guard Authorization for Fiscal Year 1991 - Amends the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1989 to authorize appropriations for environmental compliance and restoration at Coast Guard facilities. Title VI: Aleutian Trade Act of 1990 - Aleutian Trade Act of 1990 - Amends Federal law to define, for specified chapters of Federal law, the term "Aleutian trade" to mean transportation of cargo (including fishery related products) for hire on a fish tender vessel to or from a place in Alaska between specified longitudes, if that place receives weekly common carrier service by water, to or from any place in the United States (except a place in Alaska). Exempts Aleutian trade and certain fishing, fish processing, and fish tender vessels from specified inspection requirements. Modifies safety requirements for documented vessels, including Aleutian trade. Excludes Aleutian trade from provisions relating to load lines. Provides for certain manning requirements, including those relating to watches, crew requirements, and merchant mariner's documents. Removes provisions allowing: (1) the collection of an additional annual fee for maintaining the vessel identification system; and (2) use of such fees, and fees collected for providing information to or requesting information from the system, to make information available to the Secretary of Transportation and to pay incremental administrative costs. Title VII: Maritime Administration Authorization - Authorizes appropriations for the Maritime Administration for: (1) operating-differential subsidies; (2) manpower, education, and training; (3) operating programs; (4) national security support capabilities; and (5) the Ready Reserve Force. Amends Federal law to authorize the Secretary of Transportation to make awards (currently, to make research grants) to a National Maritime Enhancement Institute from amounts appropriated (currently, from amounts appropriated under specified provisions). Limits the aggregate annual amount (currently, the aggregate amount) to a specified dollar sum. Amends the Merchant Marine Act, 1936 to require that the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York, be established for a term of two years commencing at the beginning of each Congress. Replaces provisions authorizing the Secretary to acquire suitable vessels in exchange for obsolete vessels in the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF) with provisions authorizing the Secretary to acquire suitable vessels with funds in the Vessel Operations Revolving Fund derived from the sale of obsolete vessels in the NDRF. Allows, notwithstanding specified provisions of the Shipping Act, 1916, vessels sold under these provisions to be scrapped in approved foreign markets. Amends Federal law to prohibit the Secretary from: (1) implementing any ship sharing program until 60 legislative days (currently, 60 days) after submission of a specified study to the Congress; (2) taking any vessel, currently in service as a State academy training vessel, out of service to implement any alternative program, including ship sharing, until or unless the vessel is incapable of being maintained in good repair as required under provisions of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936; or (3) implementing any training vessel sharing program without first receiving the express consent of the Congress. Extends until October 1, 1994, the effective date of provisions mandating that State maritime academies require passage of a Coast Guard licensing examination as a condition for: (1) graduation by an individual; and (2) any payment or use of any vessel received by such an academy under specified provisions after December 31, 1989. Amends the Merchant Marine Act, 1936 to authorize the Secretary of Transportation to recover from an individual the cost of education at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (Academy) if the Secretary of Defense is unable or unwilling to order an individual to active duty under provisions relating to failure to fulfill commitment agreements. Allows the Secretary to permit, in addition to those allowed under other provisions, additional individuals from the Republic of Panama to receive instruction at the Academy. (Current law allows the Secretary to annually permit, until September 30, 1995, in addition to those allowed under other provisions, up to six additional individuals from the Republic of Panama to receive instruction at the Academy.) Requires that the Secretary be reimbursed for the cost of the instruction. Merchant Mariner Memorial Act of 1990 - Authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to convey to any group of two or three nonprofit organizations, without consideration, the right, title, and interest of the United States in a vessel of a specified minimum displacement tonnage in the National Defense Reserve Fleet for use in funding a merchant marine memorial, provided the vessel has no usefulness to the Government and is scheduled to be scrapped and the organizations agree to sell the vessel for scrap, divide the proceeds equally, and use them for the memorial. Requires organizations to have raised a minimum amount from non-Federal sources before enactment of this Act. Allows an organization to apply individually or as a member of a group. Directs the Secretary to designate groups of two or three nonprofits. Prohibits an organization from being a member of more than one group. Directs the Secretary to deliver a vessel conveyed: (1) at its location on the date of approval of the conveyance; (2) in its condition on that date; and (3) at no cost to the Government. Terminates this Act two years after enactment. Non-Vessel-Operating Common Carrier Amendments of 1990 - Amends the Shipping Act of 1984 to require each non-vessel-operating common carrier (NVO) to furnish to the Federal Maritime Commission a bond of an amount set (subject to a specified minimum) by the Commission to insure the financial responsibility of the carrier, making the bond available to pay any judgment for damages from transportation-related activities, any order for reparations, or any penalty assessed. Requires an NVO not domiciled in the United States to designate a resident agent in the United States for receipt of service. Allows the Commission to suspend or cancel any or all tariffs of an NVO for: (1) failure to meet the bond or resident agent requirements of this Act; or (2) prohibited Acts of a list of prohibited acts. Adds to that list knowingly and willfully: (1) accepting or transporting cargo of an NVO that does not have a tariff and a bond; and (2) entering into a service contract with an NVO or in which an NVO is listed as an affiliate that does not have a tariff and a bond. Amends the Merchant Marine Act, 1936 to direct the Secretary of Transportation to assist maritime training institutions in establishing a maritime oil pollution prevention, response, and clean-up training program. Authorizes the Secretary to provide to such institutions U.S.-built offshore supply and tug/supply vessels in the possession of the Maritime Administration as a result of Federal ship mortgage insurance loan defaults, with title free of all liens but subject to certain requirements. Requires the institutions to: (1) use the vessels for training students in oil spill prevention, clean-up, and related skills; and (2) make the vessels and qualified students available to Federal, State and local authorities in the event of a maritime spill.