Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (12/06/1995)

Maritime Security Act of 1995 - Amends the Merchant Marine Act, 1936 to mandate establishment of a fleet of active, militarily useful, privately-owned vessels to meet national defense and other security requirements and maintain a U.S. presence in international commercial shipping. Requires that fleet vessels have an operating-differential subsidy agreement and be 25 years old or less (for lighter aboard ship vessels) or 15 years old or less (for other types of vessels). Mandates an operating agreement requiring that vessels be operated in the foreign trade (without restriction, notwithstanding specified existing requirements) or in mixed foreign and domestic trade as allowed under specified registry endorsement provisions. Prohibits otherwise operating them in the coastwise trade. Declares that participation in the program fleet shall not subject a contractor to certain provisions of the Act. Mandates, subject to the availability of appropriations, annual payments for each vessel. Releases fleet vessels, if sufficient funds have not been appropriated, from any further obligation under the agreement and allows the owner of such vessels to transfer and register them under a foreign registry deemed acceptable by the Secretary of Transportation, notwithstanding any other provision of law.

Establishes an Emergency Preparedness Program under which a fleet vessel, during time of war or national emergency or as necessary for national security (including any natural disaster, international peace operation, or contingency operation), must make available commercial transportation resources, including vessels or capacity in vessels, intermodal systems and equipment, terminal facilities, intermodal and management services, and other resources as necessary. Requires compensation for resources provided for the commercial diversion period. Allows operation or employment in foreign commerce of a foreign-flag vessel as a temporary replacement for an activated vessel.

(Sec. 3) Prohibits operating-differential subsidy (ODS) payments for a vessel 25 years old or older, unless in the public interest. Prohibits new ODS contracts after enactment of this Act. Continues existing contracts until they terminate by their terms. Makes essential services requirements inapplicable to the ODS program in certain circumstances. Allows a vessel, notwithstanding any other provision of law, to be transferred and registered under an effective U.S.-controlled foreign flag in specified circumstances.

(Sec. 4) Prohibits fleet payments to any contractor or related party when it participates in a noncontiguous domestic trade unless: (1) there is written permission from the Secretary of Transportation; (2) the service is within the level of service provided by that contractor as of specified dates; or (3) the service is in addition to the level of service provided as of those dates in proportion to the annual increase in real gross product of the noncontiguous State or Commonwealth served since such dates.

(Sec. 5) Declares that provisions prohibiting ODS contractors from operating competing foreign-flag vessels do not preclude: (1) owning, chartering, or operating a foreign-flag vessel on a voyage or segment not calling at a U.S. port, any foreign-flag vessel in line haul service between the United States and foreign ports in specified circumstances, or foreign flag bulk cargo vessels operated in foreign-to-foreign services or the foreign commerce of the United States; (2) chartering or operating foreign-flag vessels solely as replacement vessels under the program established by this Act; or (3) entering into time or space charter or other cooperative agreements regarding foreign-flag vessels or acting as agent or broker for a foreign-flag vessel or vessels.

(Sec. 6) Amends the Shipping Act, 1916 to modify the circumstances under which, notwithstanding certain provisions of law, a vessel may be placed under a foreign registry without the approval of the Secretary of Transportation.

(Sec. 7) Amends the Merchant Marine Act, 1936 to require that, notwithstanding any other provision of law or contract, all restrictions and requirements under specified provisions applicable to a liner vessel constructed, reconstructed, or reconditioned with the aid of a construction-differential subsidy terminate 25 years after vessel delivery from the shipyard.

(Sec. 9) Amends the Merchant Ship Sales Act of 1946 to modify requirements regarding use of vessels in the National Defense Reserve Fleet.

(Sec. 10) Amends the Merchant Marine Act, 1936 to entitle a merchant mariner who serves during a war, armed conflict, national emergency, or mobilization need to the same reemployment rights as are guaranteed to a member of a Reserve component of the armed forces who is ordered to active duty.

(Sec. 11) Amends Federal ship mortgage insurance provisions to remove references to vessels being owned by U.S. citizens from: (1) the definition of "vessel"; (2) provisions authorizing the loan guarantees; and (3) provisions authorizing such guarantees regarding commercial demonstration ocean thermal energy conversion facilities.

(Sec. 12) Extends the termination date of the authority to provide war risk insurance and reinsurance.

(Sec. 13) Amends Federal ship mortgage insurance provisions to mandate: (1) establishment of a system of risk categories, for obligations guaranteed under the provisions, reflecting specified risk factors; and (2) determination for each category of a subsidy rate equivalent to the cost of obligations in the category. Prohibits guaranteeing obligations when the amount guaranteed, multiplied by the subsidy rate, equals or exceeds appropriated funds. Mandates a fee, determined according to a specified formula, for the guarantee of an obligation. Allows the fee to be financed under the ship mortgage guarantee provisions.

(Sec. 14) Mandates a report to the Congress regarding the Department of Transportation's policies for a five-year period for specified aspects of the U.S. merchant marine and the maritime industrial base.

(Sec. 15) Authorizes, notwithstanding any other law or agreement with the Government, the sale to a non-U.S. citizen and transfer to or placement under a foreign registry of three named vessels.

(Sec. 16) Mandates a pilot program to evaluate the feasibility of using renewable contracts for the maintenance and repair of outported Ready Reserve Force vessels to enhance those vessels' readiness.

(Sec. 17) Modifies allocation requirements in provisions concerning certain exports sponsored by the Department of Agriculture.