Summary: H.R.2151 — 103rd Congress (1993-1994)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (11/04/1993)

Maritime Security and Competitiveness Act of 1993 - Amends the Merchant Marine Act, 1936 to modify the Act's purposes, including ensuring the existence of a U.S.-documented fleet of the best-equipped, safest, and most modern vessels (currently, the best-equipped, safest, and most suitable type of vessels, constructed in the United States).

(Sec. 3) Establishes the Maritime Security Fleet of active commercial vessels to enhance sea lift capabilities and maintain a presence in international commercial shipping of U.S.-documented vessels.

Conditions Fleet enrollment on the vessel owner or operator (the contractor) having an operating agreement with the Secretary of Transportation and on other requirements, including regarding the country in which vessels are built (or rebuilt) and documented and foreign shipbuilding subsidies. Ends eligibility for any vessel that carries goods fraudulently labeled as made in America. Requires: (1) annual payments by the Secretary to each contractor; and (2) that the vessel be made available in time of war or national emergency or for national security, to be compensated at commercial rates. Restricts noncontiguous trade. Prohibits, subject to exception, contractors from owning, chartering, or operating a competing foreign vessel.

Authorizes appropriations for operating agreements. Makes amounts available but unneeded for ODSs available for operating agreement payments.

(Sec. 4) Continues current ODS contracts until they terminate by their terms. Mandates age acceleration for bulk cargo vessels for which construction-differential subsidies (CDSs) have been paid and for which ODSs are required to be paid.

Relieves a contractor, under specified circumstances, from the application of provisions relating to: (1) ODS operating restrictions; (2) operation of competing foreign-flag vessels; and (3) ODS essential service requirements. Exempts the agreements from provisions requiring contracts under the Act to equitably serve all U.S. port ranges.

(Sec. 5) Terminates, 25 years after original delivery of a liner vessel constructed, reconstructed, or reconditioned with a CDS, all restrictions under specified provisions relating to documentation, operation solely in foreign trade, and purchase or requisition of the vessel by the United States.

(Sec. 6) Revises various definitions, including "foreign commerce," "foreign trade," and "citizen of the United States" as they apply to the Act.

(Sec. 7) Revises the definition of "privately owned United States-flag commercial vessel" as it applies to cargo preference provisions.

(Sec. 8) Removes restrictions regarding mortgages from provisions setting forth requirements for a vessel mortgage to qualify as a preferred mortgage. Removes restrictions regarding parties serving as trustees of mortgaged vessel interests.

Amends the Shipping Act, 1916 to remove restrictions on mortgaging of a documented vessel to a non-U.S. citizen.

Allows leased vessels to receive coastwise endorsements if the lessor is primarily engaged in leasing or financing transactions, the vessel is under a demise charter to a U.S. citizen, and other requirements are met. Deems such a leased vessel and certain oil spill response vessels to be owned exclusively by U.S. citizens for purposes of provisions relating to: (1) reacquisition of coastwise rights; and (2) documentation eligibility.

(Sec. 9) Allows a documented vessel to be placed under foreign registry if its owner documents at least one replacement vessel and if a Maritime Security Fleet agreement has not been awarded to the replacement vessel due to the unavailability of funds.

Replaces provisions regarding court sales of documented vessels with provisions requiring that, when a documented vessel is sold by court order to a mortgagee not eligible to own a documented vessel: (1) the sale is not a sale foreign for purposes of provisions relating to reacquisition of coastwise rights; and (2) unless the vessel is transferred to a foreign registry, the vessel may be operated only with the approval of the Secretary of Transportation.

(Sec. 10) Authorizes payments to a shipyard located in the United States for construction of a series of vessels if: (1) payment will contribute to essential national vessel construction capabilities; (2) the vessels are commercially internationally marketable; (3) upon completion of construction of the vessels, the shipyard will be capable of constructing additional vessels for an internationally competitive price; and (4) other requirements are met. Limits payments to a percentage of the construction cost. Allows the construction contracts to be contingent on the making of Federal ship mortgage insurance guarantees. Sets the payments at the cost of construction minus the cost of constructing a similar vessel in a foreign shipyard. provides for termination of the payment agreement, if the shipyard fails to make contracts for the construction of all vessels in the series, without affecting payments for vessels already under contract. Makes the agreements binding obligations of the United States to the extent that construction contracts are in effect. Authorizes an award to a U.S. shipyard for the cost of vessel designs and document and bid preparation.

(Sec. 13) Amends the Merchant Marine Act, 1936 to declare that the collective bargaining representative for officers or crew is an interested party in, and has standing to challenge, any proposed or final order, action, or rule of the Secretary under the Act or provisions of the Shipping Act, 1916 relating to placing a vessel under foreign registry.

(Sec. 14) Mandates a study on the international competitiveness of U.S.-documented vessels.

(Sec. 15) Requires that: (1) a U.S.-flag commercial vessel transporting equipment, materials, or commodities under cargo preference provisions or provisions relating to shipping requirements for Department of Agriculture exports be engaged under terms no less favorable than the most favorable terms offered to any foreign flag vessel under such provisions; (2) the contracts be based on contracts used for commercial shipments; and (3) the Secretary participate in negotiations regarding agreements with recipient countries. Mandates administrative waivers and exemption of cargo preference requirements to ensure and maintain a significant increase of Government-impelled cargo through Great Lakes ports.

(Sec. 16) Specifies that preferred maritime liens may be established for crew or master's wages, including funds relating to certain benefits, scholarships or legal services, or labor management committees. Allows a mortgagor, after executing a preferred mortgage and before the mortgagee has had time to file the mortgage, to incur obligations establishing such a lien.

(Sec. 17) Requires entities expending assistance under this Act to comply with the Buy American Act.

(Sec. 18) Declares that it is the sense of the Congress that entities receiving assistance under this Act should, in expending the assistance for equipment or products, purchase only American-made equipment and products.