H.R. 3821 (103rd): United States Passenger Vessel Development Act

103rd Congress, 1993–1994. Text as of Feb 09, 1994 (Introduced).

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HR 3821 IH1S

103d CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 3821

To promote construction and operation of passenger vessels in the United States, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 9, 1994

Mrs. UNSOELD (for herself, Mr. STUDDS, Mr. LIPINSKI, Mr. DICKS, Ms. CANTWELL, Ms. DUNN, Mr. KREIDLER, Mr. SWIFT, Mr. MANTON, Mr. BORSKI, Mr. HOYER, Mr. CUNNINGHAM, and Mr. JOHNSON of South Dakota) introduced the following bill; which was referred jointly to the Committees on Merchant Marine and Fisheries and Natural Resources


A BILL

To promote construction and operation of passenger vessels in the United States, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘United States Passenger Vessel Development Act’.

SEC. 2. PURPOSE.

    The purpose of this Act is to promote construction and operation of United States flag passenger vessels in the United States.

SEC. 3. INTERIM COASTWISE PASSENGER TRADE ENDORSEMENT.

    (a) ENDORSEMENT AUTHORIZED- Chapter 121 of title 46, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 12112 the following new section:

‘Sec. 12113. Interim coastwise passenger trade endorsement

    ‘(a) Before December 31, 2000, a certificate of documentation for a passenger vessel may be endorsed with an interim coastwise passenger trade endorsement, if the vessel is--

      ‘(1) eligible for documentation under section 12102;

      ‘(2) owned by, or demise chartered for at least 18 months to, a citizen of the United States for purposes of issuing a certificate of documentation with an interim coastwise passenger trade endorsement under section 2(e) of the Shipping Act, 1916 (46 App. U.S.C. 802(e));

      ‘(3) at least 250 gross tons (as measured under chapter 143 of this title) and has at least 175 berths; and

      ‘(4) not a ferry.

    ‘(b) As a condition of issuing an interim coastwise passenger trade endorsement for a vessel, the Secretary shall require the owner or charterer of the vessel to enter into one or more contracts for the construction in the United States of one or more vessels having a total berthing capacity that is at least 80 percent of the capacity of the vessel for which the endorsement is issued.

    ‘(c) A vessel with a certificate of documentation with an interim coastwise passenger trade endorsement may be employed in the coastwise trade in the carriage of passengers.

    ‘(d) On termination of a demise charter required under subsection (a)(2)(B) for a vessel, an interim coastwise passenger trade endorsement for the vessel may be continued for a period not to exceed 6 months on any terms and conditions that the Secretary of Transportation may prescribe.

    ‘(e)(1) An interim coastwise passenger trade endorsement issued for a vessel under subsection (a) expires--

      ‘(A) on the date that is 12 months after the date of issuance of the endorsement, if the owner or demise charter of the vessel fails to submit to the Secretary before the end of that 12-month period a letter that--

        ‘(i) states the interest of the owner or demise charter, respectively, and a representative of a shipyard in the United States to enter into a contract for the construction in the shipyard of at least one passenger vessel that has a total berthing capacity that is at least equivalent to 80 percent of the berthing capacity of the vessel for which the endorsement is issued; and

        ‘(ii) is signed by the owner or demise charterer, respectively, and the representative;

      ‘(B) on the date that is 24 months after the date of issuance of the endorsement, if the owner or demise charterer of the vessel does not enter into a contract before the end of that 24-month period for the construction in the United States of one or more passenger vessels described in subparagraph (A)(i);

      ‘(C) on the date that is 3 years after the date of issuance of the endorsement, if construction of such a vessel under the contract is not begun before the end of that 3-year period; and

      ‘(D) on the date that is 180 days after the date of delivery of a vessel for which construction is completed pursuant to the contract.

    ‘(2) The Secretary may extend the period applicable under paragraph (1)(B) or (C), or both, for not more than 6 months.

    ‘(f) An interim coastwise passenger trade endorsement for a vessel shall prohibit the operation of the vessel in any trade that is served by another passenger vessel of at least 250 gross tons and having at least 175 berths that is documented under section 12106 of this title, unless the owner or charterer of the vessel so operated is also the owner of the other vessel having the endorsement.

    ‘(g) Except as provided in this section, section 2113(b) of this title, or section 2(e) or 9(e) of the Shipping Act, 1916, a vessel with an interim coastwise passenger trade endorsement shall comply with all requirements applicable to a comparable passenger vessel that is otherwise documented under the laws of the United States.’.

    (b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 121 of title 46, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 12112 the following:

      ‘12113. Interim coastwise trade endorsement.’.

    (c) NOTICE TO SECRETARY OF REFLAGGING- Section 9 of the Shipping Act, 1916 (46 App. U.S.C. 808) is amended--

      (1) in subsection (c) by inserting ‘subsection (e),’ after ‘Except as provided in’; and

      (2) by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(e) Notwithstanding subsection (c), a person may place under a foreign registry or operate under the authority of a foreign country, without approval of the Secretary of Transportation, any vessel with an interim coastwise passenger trade endorsement under section 12113 of title 46, United States Code, if the person notifies the Secretary of that action--

      ‘(1) before the 60-day period ending on the date that action is taken; and

      ‘(2) within 12 months after--

        ‘(A) the issuance of the interim coastwise passenger trade endorsement, or

        ‘(B) the beginning of construction of the replacement vessels required for that issuance under section 12113 of title 46, United States Code.’.

SEC. 4. SOLAS CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS.

    Section 2113 of title 46, United States Code, is amended--

      (1) by inserting ‘(a)’ before ‘If’; and

      (2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:

    ‘(b) A documented vessel with an interim coastwise passenger trade endorsement--

      ‘(1) is deemed to comply with parts B, C, and J of this title if the vessel meets the standards for passenger vessel construction for safety of life at sea issued under the International Maritime Organization convention to which the United States is a party; and

      ‘(2) shall be issued by the Secretary the appropriate inspection, load line, and tonnage certificates if that vessel meets those standards.’.

SEC. 5. CITIZENSHIP FOR PURPOSES OF DOCUMENTATION.

    Section 2 of the Shipping Act, 1916 (46 App. U.S.C. 802), is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(e) For purposes of issuing a certificate of documentation with an interim coastwise passenger trade endorsement or a coastwise endorsement for transporting passengers in the coastwise trade under chapter 121 of title 46, United States Code, the controlling interest in a corporation is deemed to be owned or demise chartered by citizens of the United States if at least 51 percent of its stock is vested in citizens of the United States free from any trust or fiduciary obligation in favor of any person not a citizen of the United States.’.

SEC. 6. AMENDMENT TO TITLE XI OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT, 1936.

    Section 1101(b) of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936 (46 App. U.S.C. 1271(b)) is amended by striking ‘passenger cargo’ and inserting ‘passenger, cargo,’.

SEC. 7. PERMITS FOR VESSELS ENTERING UNITS OF NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM.

    (a) PRIORITY- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Commerce may not permit a person to operate a vessel in any unit of the National Park System except in accordance with the following priority:

      (1) First, any person that will operate a vessel that is documented under the laws of, and the home port of which is located in, the United States.

      (2) Second, any person that will operate a vessel--

        (A) that is documented under the laws of a foreign country, and

        (B) which on the date of the enactment of this Act is permitted to be so operated.

      (3) Third, any person that will operate a vessel other than a vessel described in paragraph (1) or (2).

    (b) REVOCATION OF PERMITS FOR FOREIGN-DOCUMENTED VESSELS- The Secretary of Commerce shall revoke permission granted by the Secretary for the operation of a vessel documented under the laws of a foreign country in a unit of the National Park System, if--

      (1) a person requests permission to operate a vessel documented under the laws of the United States in that unit;

      (2) the permission may not be granted because of a limit on the number of permits that may be issued for that operation.