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111th Congress 
 1st Session                     SENATE                          Report
                                                                 111-26
_______________________________________________________________________
                                                        Calendar No. 77
 
                    OIL SPILL PREVENTION ACT OF 2009

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

           COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION

                                   on

                                 S. 685



                                     

                 June 15, 2009.--Ordered to be printed 

       SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION
                     one hundred eleventh congress

                             first session

           JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER IV, West Virginia, Chairman
DANIEL K. INOUYE, Hawaii             KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, Texas
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts         OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
BYRON L. DORGAN, North Dakota        JOHN ENSIGN, Nevada
BARBARA BOXER, California            JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
BILL NELSON, Florida                 JOHN THUNE, South Dakota
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington           ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG, New Jersey      JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
MARK PRYOR, Arkansas                 DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
CLAIRE McCASKILL, Missouri           SAM BROWNBACK, Kansas
AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota             MEL MARTINEZ, Florida
TOM UDALL, New Mexico                MIKE JOHANNS, Nebraska
MARK WARNER, Virginia
MARK BEGICH, Alaska
                     Ellen Doneski, Chief of Staff
                   James Reid, Deputy Chief of Staff
                     Bruce Andrews, General Counsel
     Christine Kurth, Republican Staff Director and General Counsel
                     Brian Hendricks, Chief Counsel
                Todd Bertoson, Republican Senior Counsel
                                                        Calendar No. 77
111th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                     111-26

======================================================================

                    OIL SPILL PREVENTION ACT OF 2009

                                _______
                                

                 June 15, 2009.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

     Mr. Rockefeller, from the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
                Transportation, submitted the following

                                 REPORT

                         [To accompany S. 685]

    The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 685) to require new vessels for 
carrying oil fuel to have double hulls, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with 
amendments and recommends that the bill (as amended) do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

  S. 685, the Oil Spill Prevention Act of 2009, would make 
improvements to the design and construction of fuel tanks for 
non-tank vessels and to the medical review program for merchant 
mariners.

                          Background and Needs

  Oil spills that result from accidents, groundings, or 
collisions create substantial environmental and economic 
damage. The most expensive spill in U.S. waters, the 1989 tank 
vessel Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, cost $2.5 billion to clean 
up. Less expensive but still significant spills have occurred 
since then. Most recently, in July 2008, a collision occurred 
in the Mississippi River between an oil tanker, the Tintomara, 
and an American Commercial Lines barge resulting in a 270,000 
gallon oil spill. In addition to harming wetlands, riverbank, 
and other coastal habitats, the incident resulted in 
significant economic disruption including extensive waterway 
closures, closure of industrial and municipal water intakes, 
and interference with critical channel dredging operations. The 
water intake closures affected hundreds of thousands of people 
in communities along the river. The Mississippi River was 
closed to traffic for six days which resulted in an estimated 
economic impact of $275 million per day. In November 2007, the 
non-tank vessel Cosco Busan spilled 58,000 gallons of fuel oil 
into San Francisco Bay, but had fuel tanks capable of carrying 
2 million gallons of heavy-duty bunker fuel oil. Cleanup costs 
for this incident exceeded $70 million, and other claims and 
losses, including commercial fishing closures and natural 
resource damages, are still being tabulated.
  A tank vessel transports oil or hazardous materials in bulk. 
A non-tank vessel transports other types of cargo or provides 
other services, such as offshore supply vessels, passenger 
vessels, fishing vessels, or containerized cargo vessels. While 
oil transport and maritime traffic continues to increase, the 
total number of reported spills has generally declined each 
year since 1990, when the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 was signed 
into law. According to Coast Guard oil spill statistics 
compiled between 1973 and 2004, non-tank vessels and fishing 
vessels now account for the highest number of spill incidents, 
however tank vessels and barges are responsible for the 
majority of oil spilled by volume.

                         Summary of Provisions

  The major provisions in this bill would: (1) implement the 
International Maritime Organization (IMO) amendment requiring a 
double hull or an additional protective layer around the fuel 
tank for non-tank vessels; (2) clarify the Coast Guard's 
authority to direct the movement of vessel traffic in a Vessel 
Traffic System area and require the Coast Guard to assess the 
need for improved vessel traffic management measures; (3) 
create a medical review program for merchant mariners; (4) 
require the Coast Guard to conduct a study into the causes of 
marine accidents; (5) conform the duration of mariner licenses, 
certificates of registry, merchant mariner documents, and 
transportation worker identification credentials; and (6) 
establish a mechanism to allow the Coast Guard to provide 
humanitarian relief for seafarers abandoned in the United 
States and support of seafarers who are witnesses to maritime-
related crimes.

                          Legislative History

  During the 110th Congressional Session a similar bill, S. 
2699, was introduced on March 4, 2008, by Senators Lautenberg 
and Boxer and was referred to the Committee on Commerce, 
Science, and Transportation. A hearing on oil spill prevention 
was held on March 4, 2008. On May 15, 2008, the Committee met 
in open executive session and ordered S. 2699 reported 
favorably with amendment.
  On March 24, 2009, Senator Lautenberg introduced S. 685, the 
Oil Spill Prevention Act of 2009, by Senators Rockefeller, 
Boxer, Cantwell and Begich. The legislation was referred to the 
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. On 
May 18, 2009, a manager's amendment was filed of the underlying 
bill by Senator Lautenberg to modify: Section 4 to expand the 
eligibility for mariners to submit medical examinations by 
medical examiners not on the national registry and further 
defines the term `medical examiner'; Section 5 to require the 
evaluation of additional criteria to determine the causes of 
marine casualties as well as consultation of appropriate 
federal advisory committees; and, Section 10 to make a 
technical correction.
  Staff assigned to this legislation are Dabney Hegg, 
Democratic Senior Professional Staff Member, and Todd Bertoson, 
Republican Senior Counsel.

                            Estimated Costs

  In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate and section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee provides the 
following cost estimate, prepared by the Congressional Budget 
Office:

Hon. John D. Rockefeller IV,
Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 685, the Oil Spill 
Prevention Act of 2009.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
             Sincerely,
                                              Douglas W. Elmendorf.
    Enclosure.

S. 685--Oil Spill Prevention Act of 2009

    Summary: S. 685 would address maritime safety issues, 
including spills of fuel oil from vessels. Based on information 
provided by the U.S. Coast Guard and assuming appropriation of 
the necessary amounts, CBO estimates that implementing S. 685 
would cost about $7 million over the 2010-2014 period. 
Implementing section 9 could reduce offsetting receipts from 
commercial fees charged by the Coast Guard, but CBO estimates 
that any such reductions would be minimal and would be 
partially offset by reductions in direct spending. Enacting S. 
685 would not affect revenues.
    S. 685 contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would impose no 
costs on state, local, or tribal governments. The bill, 
however, contains private-sector mandates as defined in UMRA on 
U.S. merchant mariners and U.S. ship owners. While the cost of 
one of the mandates is likely to be small, the cost to comply 
with the other mandate is uncertain. Consequently, CBO cannot 
determine whether the aggregate costs to comply with the 
private-sector mandates in the bill would exceed the annual 
threshold established in UMRA ($139 million in 2009, adjusted 
annually for inflation).
    Estimated Cost to the Federal Government :
    The estimated budgetary impact of S. 685 is shown in the 
following table. The costs of this legislation fall within 
budget function 300 (natural resources and environment).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2010     2011     2012     2013     2014   2010-2014
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Estimated Authorization Level...........................        3        2        2        *        *         7
Estimated Outlays.......................................        2        3        2        *        *         7
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: * = less than $500,000.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate CBO assumes that S. 
685 will be enacted near the end of fiscal year 2009 and that 
the amounts specifically authorized by the legislation or 
estimated to be necessary will be appropriated for each year. 
Estimated outlays are based on historical spending patterns for 
similar programs.

Spending subject to appropriation

    Under section 2 of the bill, newly constructed ships that 
have an aggregate capacity of at least 600 cubic meters of fuel 
oil would be required to be built with a double hull or other 
protection against spills. CBO estimates that implementing this 
provision would cost the Coast Guard less than $500,000 
annually, assuming the availability of appropriated funds. The 
agency would need such additional amounts to promulgate and 
enforce new regulations.
    The bill also would require the Coast Guard to conduct 
studies on marine casualties or environmental threats and on 
the need for tractor tugboats to escort vessels that carry 
large amounts of fuel into U.S. ports. CBO estimates that the 
total cost of conducting the two studies in 2010 would be about 
$500,000, assuming availability of the necessary amounts.
    Finally, section 10 would establish a Support of Seafarers 
Fund to pay the expenses of seamen who are abandoned by their 
ships or who must remain in the United States as witnesses in 
certain legal proceedings. The proposed fund would be available 
to pay seamen's wages and subsistence, medical care, 
repatriation, and other expenses. The fund would receive 
appropriated amounts (at an authorized level of $1.5 million 
for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2012), and any amounts 
transferred from other federal accounts, or reimbursed by ship 
owners.
    Assuming appropriation of the amounts authorized to be paid 
into the new fund, CBO estimates that implementing section 10 
would increase discretionary spending by $4.5 million over the 
2010-2014 period. We estimate that direct spending of amounts 
transferred to the fund from other accounts or amounts 
reimbursed by ship owners (which would be treated as offsetting 
receipts, a credit against direct spending) would be minimal 
and would have no net impact on the federal budget.

                            Direct spending

    Section 9 would authorize the Coast Guard to extend for one 
year certain expiring marine licenses, certificates of 
registry, and merchant mariner documents. The authority to 
provide such extensions would apply through December 11, 2011. 
Because the extensions would delay the collection of fees 
charged for renewal of such documents, enacting this provision 
could reduce offsetting receipts (an offset against direct 
spending) over the next year or two. Some of those receipts may 
be spent without further appropriation, however, to cover 
collection expenses. CBO estimates that the net effect on 
direct spending from enacting this provision would be less than 
$500,000 in each of fiscal years 2010 and 2011.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 685 
contains no intergovernmental mandates as defined in UMRA and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments. 
The bill, however, contains private-sector mandates as defined 
in UMRA on U.S. merchant mariners and U.S. ship owners. While 
the cost of one of the mandates is likely to be small, the cost 
to comply with the other mandate is uncertain. Consequently, 
CBO cannot determine whether the aggregate costs to comply with 
the private-sector mandates in the bill would exceed the annual 
threshold established in UMRA ($139 million in 2009, adjusted 
annually for inflation).
    Section 4 of the bill would require U.S. merchant mariners 
to comply with new medical standards established by the U.S. 
Coast Guard to ensure that the physical condition of all 
merchant mariners (approximately 220,000 currently employed) is 
adequate for them to safely carry out their duties onboard 
vessels. The standards would be based on a future study by the 
U.S. Coast Guard and consultation with the advisory committee 
established under the bill. The cost to comply with the mandate 
would depend on standards to be issued under the bill. Because 
the scope and stringency of those standards are uncertain, the 
cost is uncertain.
    Section 10 would require ship owners to pay certain 
expenses of seamen who are abandoned under the conditions 
specified in the bill. The bill would require ship owners who 
do not pay those expenses to reimburse the Support of Seafarers 
Fund the total amount paid from the fund to support the seamen, 
plus a surcharge of 25 percent.
    According to industry sources, situations in which ship 
owners would have to pay such expenses are rare, and payments 
would likely be low. Therefore, CBO estimates that the cost to 
ship owners to comply with this mandate would likely be 
minimal.
    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act excludes from the 
application of that act any legislative provision that is 
necessary for the ratification or implementation of 
international treaty obligations. CBO has determined that 
section 2 of S. 685 falls within that exclusion; therefore, we 
have not reviewed it for intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Deborah Reis; Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Ryan Miller; Impact on 
the Private Sector: Jacob Kuipers.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

  In accordance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides the 
following evaluation of the regulatory impact of the 
legislation, as reported:

                       NUMBER OF PERSONS COVERED

  This bill is intended to minimize the damage of an accidental 
oil spill by requiring a double hull or an additional 
protective layer around the fuel tank for non-tank vessels. 
This requirement already exists through the IMO Marine 
Environment Protection Committee, so it affects those already 
subject to the rules of the IMO. Additionally, any person 
affected by the creation of the medical advisory committee in 
this bill would be contributing to a safer and healthier 
maritime industry. The provision to allow merchant mariner 
credentials up to eight months in advance of their expiration 
would positively impact mariners with appropriate 
documentation.

                            ECONOMIC IMPACT

  This legislation would not have an adverse economic impact on 
the Nation. This bill would promote a safer and more efficient 
maritime environment, which could ultimately reduce the 
monetary consequences of oil spills or other manmade disasters.

                                PRIVACY

  S. 685 would have minimal effect on the privacy rights of 
individuals.

                               PAPERWORK

  The Committee does not anticipate a major increase in 
paperwork burdens for individuals or business resulting from 
the passage of this legislation.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

  In compliance with paragraph 4(b) of rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee provides that no 
provisions contained in the bill, as reported, meet the 
definition of congressionally directed spending items under the 
rule.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

  Section 1 would title S. 685 as the Oil Spill Prevention Act 
of 2009.

Section 2. Oil fuel tank protection

  Section 2 would implement the IMO amendment 12A to the 
International Convention to Prevent Pollution from Ships 
(MARPOL) Annex I which establishes design requirements for 
protectively locating fuel tanks on all ships consistent with 
amendment 12A. It would also allow the Secretary to apply the 
requirements to vessels not subject to the convention 
consistent with the Administrative Procedures Act.
  In March 2006, the IMO Marine Environment Protection 
Committee adopted a resolution to establish design requirements 
for protectively locating fuel tanks on all ships with an 
aggregate oil fuel capacity of 600 cubic meters or more that 
have a building contract on or after August 1, 2007, or a 
delivery date on or after August 1, 2010. The resolution limits 
fuel oil tank capacity to 2,500 cubic meters or approximately 
660 thousand gallons. The resolution also includes inspection 
requirements for wing and double-bottom tanks or spaces when 
approving the design and construction of ships.
  The IMO resolution offers two mechanisms through which a 
vessel can meet the new requirement. Vessel operators can 
either: (1) install a double-hull, or (2) install some form of 
bulkhead or shell plating surrounding a fuel tank. If operators 
install a bulkhead or shell plating, they must place the fuel 
tank a calculated safe distance from both the side and bottom 
of the non-tank vessel. The resolution also requires that fuel 
oil piping within specific proximity to the actual sides or 
bottom of the vessel be fitted with readily accessible valves 
or similar closing devices or immediately adjacent to the fuel 
oil tank. The valves will be required to close in case of 
remote system failure and remain closed at sea any time the 
tank contains fuel oil. As a signatory to the International 
Convention to Prevent Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex I, 
amendment 12A, the United States has an obligation to act in 
accordance with the convention.

Section 3. Maritime emergency prevention

  Section 3 would clarify the Coast Guard's authority to direct 
the movement of vessel traffic in a VTS area and would require 
the Coast Guard to develop and distribute guidance to VTS 
personnel that clearly defines the authority to direct vessel 
movement when it is in the best interest of safety. The 
provision would direct the Coast Guard to conduct an assessment 
of the need for new, expanded, or improved vessel traffic 
management measures. The provision also would set forth 
additional navigational training requirements for Coast Guard 
VTS watch stander personnel. This provision is based on the 
National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) recommendation 
from the Cosco Busan incident.

Section 4. Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee, medical 
        standards, and medical requirements

  Section 4 would establish an advisory committee of medical 
subject matter specialists familiar with the unique maritime 
occupational environment. These subject matter specialists 
would: (1) advise the Secretary on medical matters relating to 
the issuance of Merchant Mariner Credentials; (2) recommend 
medical standards and guidelines for the physical 
qualifications of mariners; and (3) develop training materials 
in order to certify that medical examiners in a national 
registry established by this section satisfy performance 
standards. This provision would provide a way for the Coast 
Guard to standardize the training for medical examiners and the 
reporting of medical examinations. The national registry would 
ensure a basic level of quality and the timely management of 
the medical review process. This language would create a 
medical review process and national registry of examiners 
similar to that within the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration. This 
provision is based on a NTSB recommendation.

Section 5. Study of marine casualty causation

  Section 5 would require the Coast Guard to conduct a study 
into the causes of marine accidents.

Section 6. Coast Guard study on the use of tractor tugs

  Section 6 would direct the Coast Guard to perform a study at 
the five highest volume ports in the United States on the use 
of tractor tug escorts that aid in avoiding shipping accidents 
by escorting vessels that transport or carry a high volume of 
oil. The use of tractor tug escorts is mandated by State 
regulation and/or by order of the Captain of the Port in a 
number of west coast ports. New generation tugboats are 
powerful enough to hold vessels in a static location in the 
event of a mechanical problem or the onset of fog. These tugs 
also provide a number of other safety improvements by providing 
increased maneuverability in the tight confines of a harbor.

Section 7. Trained pollution investigators

  Section 7 would require the Coast Guard to have at least one 
pollution investigator either on duty or on recall status at 
all time in each Sector Command pursuant to recommendations in 
the Incident Specific Preparedness Review of the Cosco Busan 
collision.

Section 8. Duration of credentials

  Section 8 would amend current law to allow merchant mariners' 
credentials to be issued up to eight months in advance. The new 
credential would not be effective until the date that the 
previous merchant mariner credential expires. Under current 
law, licenses, certificates of registry, and merchant mariners' 
documents (credentials) are valid for exactly five years.

Section 9. Authorization to extend the duration of licenses, 
        certificates of registry, and merchant mariner documents

  Section 9 would provide the Coast Guard with the authority to 
extend the expiration date of credentials when deemed 
appropriate or necessary, such as during a national disaster, 
in the interest of national security, or to align the 
credential expiration date with the expiration of a 
Transportation Worker Identification Credential.

Section 10. Protection and fair treatment of seafarers

  Section 10 would create a legal and fiscal remedy for two 
intractable, often inter-related problems: humanitarian relief 
for seafarers abandoned in the United States and support of 
seafarers who are witnesses to maritime-related crimes. In both 
instances, this section would allow the Secretary of the 
Department in which the Coast Guard operates to draw from a 
special fund to pay necessary support for abandoned seafarers, 
including seafarers who are witnesses in Coast Guard 
investigations and subsequent proceedings. Under current law, 
the Coast Guard has limited ability to assist abandoned 
seafarers, including those whose testimony is necessary for an 
investigation.

                        Changes in Existing Law

  In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill, 
as reported, are shown as follows (existing law proposed to be 
omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new material is printed 
in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown 
in roman):

                 PORTS AND WATERWAYS SAFETY ACT OF 1972


SEC. 4. VESSEL OPERATING REQUIREMENTS.

                            [33 U.S.C. 1223]

  (a) In General.--Subject to the requirements of section 5, 
the Secretary--
          (1) in any port or place under the jurisdiction of 
        the United States, in the navigable waters of the 
        United States, or in any area covered by an 
        international agreement negotiated pursuant to section 
        11, may construct, operate, maintain, improve, or 
        expand vessel traffic services, consisting of measures 
        for controlling or supervising vessel traffic or for 
        protecting navigation and the marine environment and 
        may include, but need not be limited to one or more of 
        the following: reporting and operating requirements, 
        surveillance and communications systems, routing 
        systems, and fairways;
          (2) shall require appropriate vessels which operate 
        in an area of a vessel traffic service to utilize or 
        comply with that service;
          (3) may require vessels to install and use specified 
        navigation equipment, communications equipment, 
        electronic relative motion analyzer equipment, or any 
        electronic or other device necessary to comply with a 
        vessel traffic service or which is necessary in the 
        interests of vessel safety: Provided, That the 
        Secretary shall not require fishing vessels under 300 
        gross tons as measured under section 14502 of title 46, 
        United States Code, or an alternate tonnage measured 
        under section 14302 of that title as prescribed by the 
        Secretary under section 14104 of that title or 
        recreational vessels 65 feet or less to possess or use 
        the equipment or devices required by this subsection 
        solely under the authority of this Act;
          (4) may control vessel traffic in areas subject to 
        the jurisdiction of the United States which the 
        Secretary determines to be hazardous, or under 
        conditions of reduced visibility, adverse weather, 
        vessel congestion, or other hazardous circumstances 
        by--
                  (A) specifying times of entry, movement, or 
                departure;
                  (B) establishing vessel traffic routing 
                schemes;
                  (C) establishing vessel size, speed, draft 
                limitations and vessel operating conditions; 
                and
                  (D) restricting operation, in any hazardous 
                area or under hazardous conditions, to vessels 
                which have particular operating characteristics 
                or capabilities which he considers necessary 
                for safe operation under the circumstances;
          (5) may require the receipt of prearrival messages 
        from any vessel, destined for a port or place subject 
        to the jurisdiction of the United States, in sufficient 
        time to permit advance vessel traffic planning prior to 
        port entry, which shall include any information which 
        is not already a matter of record and which the 
        Secretary determines necessary for the control of the 
        vessel and the safety of the port or the marine 
        environment; and
          (6) may prohibit the use on vessels of electronic or 
        other devices that interfere with communication and 
        navigation equipment, except that such authority shall 
        not apply to electronic or other devices certified to 
        transmit in the maritime services by the Federal 
        Communications Commission and used within the frequency 
        bands 157.1875-157.4375 MHz and 161.7875-162.0375 MHz.
  (b) Special Powers.--The Secretary may order any vessel, in a 
port or place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States 
or in the navigable waters of the United States, to [operate 
or] operate, including direction to change the vessel's heading 
and speed, or anchor in a manner he directs if--
          (1) he has reasonable cause to believe such vessel 
        does not comply with any regulation issued under this 
        Act or any other applicable law or treaty;
          (2) he determines that such vessel does not satisfy 
        the conditions for port entry set forth in section 9; 
        or
          (3) by reason of weather, visibility, sea conditions, 
        port congestion, other emergency or hazardous 
        circumstances, or the condition of such vessel, he is 
        satisfied that such directive is justified in the 
        interest of safety.
  (c) Port Access Routes.--
          (1) In order to provide safe access routes for the 
        movement of vessel traffic proceeding to or from ports 
        or places subject to the jurisdiction of the United 
        States, and subject to the requirements of paragraph 
        (3) hereof, the Secretary shall designate necessary 
        fairways and traffic separation schemes for vessels 
        operating in the territorial sea of the United States 
        and in high seas approaches, outside the territorial 
        sea, to such ports or places. Such a designation shall 
        recognize, within the designated area, the paramount 
        right of navigation over all other uses.
          (2) No designation may be made by the Secretary 
        pursuant to this subsection, if such a designation, as 
        implemented, would deprive any person of the effective 
        exercise of a right granted by a lease or permit 
        executed or issued under other applicable provisions of 
        law: Provided, That such right has become vested prior 
        to the time of publication of the notice required by 
        clause (A) of paragraph (3) hereof: Provided further, 
        That the determination as to whether the designation 
        would so deprive any such person shall be made by the 
        Secretary, after consultation with the responsible 
        official under whose authority the lease was executed 
        or the permit issued.
          (3) Prior to making a designation pursuant to 
        paragraph (1) hereof, and in accordance with the 
        requirements of section 5, the Secretary shall--
                  (A) within six months after date of enactment 
                of this Act (and may, from time to time 
                thereafter), undertake a study of the potential 
                traffic density and the need for safe access 
                routes for vessels in any area for which 
                fairways or traffic separation schemes are 
                proposed or which may otherwise be considered 
                and shall publish notice of such undertaking in 
                the Federal Register;
                  (B) in consultation with the Secretary of 
                State, the Secretary of the Interior, the 
                Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of the 
                Army, and the Governors of affected States, as 
                their responsibilities may require, take into 
                account all other uses of the area under 
                consideration (including, as appropriate, the 
                exploration for, or exploitation of, oil, gas, 
                or other mineral resources, the construction or 
                operation of deepwater ports or other 
                structures on or above the seabed or subsoil of 
                the submerged lands or the Outer Continental 
                Shelf of the United States, the establishment 
                or operation of marine or estuarine 
                sanctuaries, and activities involving 
                recreational or commercial fishing); and
                  (C) to the extent practicable, reconcile the 
                need for safe access routes with the needs of 
                all other reasonable uses of the area involved.
          (4) In carrying out his responsibilities under 
        paragraph (3), the Secretary shall proceed 
        expeditiously to complete any study undertaken. 
        Thereafter, he shall promptly issue a notice of 
        proposed rulemaking for the designation contemplated or 
        shall have published in the Federal Register a notice 
        that no designation is contemplated as a result of the 
        study and the reason for such determination.
          (5) In connection with a designation made pursuant to 
        this subsection, the Secretary--
                  (A) shall issue reasonable rules and 
                regulations governing the use of such 
                designated areas, including the applicability 
                of rules 9 and 10 of the International 
                Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 
                1972, relating to narrow channels and traffic 
                separation schemes, respectively, in waters 
                where such regulations apply;
                  (B) to the extent that he finds reasonable 
                and necessary to effectuate the purposes of the 
                designation, make the use of designated 
                fairways and traffic separation schemes 
                mandatory for specific types and sizes of 
                vessels, foreign and domestic, operating in the 
                territorial sea of the United States and for 
                specific types and sizes of vessels of the 
                United States operating on the high seas beyond 
                the territorial sea of the United States;
                  (C) may, from time to time, as necessary, 
                adjust the location or limits of designated 
                fairways or traffic separation schemes, in 
                order to accommodate the needs of other uses 
                which cannot be reasonably accommodated 
                otherwise: Provided, That such an adjustment 
                will not, in the judgment of the Secretary, 
                unacceptably adversely affect the purpose for 
                which the existing designation was made and the 
                need for which continues; and
                  (D) shall, through appropriate channels, (i) 
                notify cognizant international organizations of 
                any designation, or adjustment thereof, and 
                (ii) take action to seek the cooperation of 
                foreign States in making it mandatory for 
                vessels under their control to use any fairway 
                or traffic separation scheme designated 
                pursuant to this subsection in any area of the 
                high seas, to the same extent as required by 
                the Secretary for vessels of the United States.
  (d) Exception.--Except pursuant to international treaty, 
convention, or agreement, to which the United States is a 
party, this Act shall not apply to any foreign vessel that is 
not destined for, or departing from, a port or place subject to 
the jurisdiction of the United States and that is in--
          (1) innocent passage through the territorial sea of 
        the United States, or
          (2) transit through the navigable waters of the 
        United States which form a part of an international 
        strait.
  (e) Cooperative Agreements.--
          (1) The Secretary may enter into cooperative 
        agreements with public or private agencies, 
        authorities, associations, institutions, corporations, 
        organizations, or other persons to carry out the 
        functions under subsection (a)(1).
          (2) A nongovernmental entity may not under this 
        subsection carry out an inherently governmental 
        function.
          (3) As used in this paragraph, the term ``inherently 
        governmental function'' means any activity that is so 
        intimately related to the public interest as to mandate 
        performance by an officer or employee of the Federal 
        Government, including an activity that requires either 
        the exercise of discretion in applying the authority of 
        the Government or the use of judgment in making a 
        decision for the Government.

                           TITLE 46. SHIPPING


                    SUBTITLE II. VESSELS AND SEAMEN

              PART B. INSPECTION AND REGULATION OF VESSELS

                    CHAPTER 33. INSPECTION GENERALLY

 3306. Regulations

  (a) To carry out this part and to secure the safety of 
individuals and property on board vessels subject to 
inspection, the Secretary shall prescribe necessary regulations 
to ensure the proper execution of, and to carry out, this part 
in the most effective manner for--
          (1) the design, construction, alteration, repair, and 
        operation of those vessels, including superstructures, 
        hulls, fittings, equipment, appliances, propulsion 
        machinery, auxiliary machinery, boilers, unfired 
        pressure vessels, piping, electric installations, and 
        accommodations for passengers and crew, sailing school 
        instructors, and sailing school students;
           (2) lifesaving equipment and its use;
          (3) firefighting equipment, its use, and 
        precautionary measures to guard against fire;
           (4) inspections and tests related to paragraphs (1), 
        (2), and (3) of this subsection; and
          (5) the use of vessel stores and other supplies of a 
        dangerous nature.
  (b)(1) Equipment and material subject to regulation under 
this section may not be used on any vessel without prior 
approval of the Secretary.
  (2) Except with respect to use on a public vessel, the 
Secretary may treat an approval of equipment or materials by a 
foreign government as approval by the Secretary for purposes of 
paragraph (1) if the Secretary determines that--
          (A) the design standards and testing procedures used 
        by that government meet the requirements of the 
        International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 
        1974;
          (B) the approval of the equipment or material by the 
        foreign government will secure the safety of 
        individuals and property on board vessels subject to 
        inspection; and
          (C) for lifesaving equipment, the foreign 
        government--
                  (i) has given equivalent treatment to 
                approvals of lifesaving equipment by the 
                Secretary; and
                  (ii) otherwise ensures that lifesaving 
                equipment approved by the Secretary may be used 
                on vessels that are documented and subject to 
                inspection under the laws of that country.
  (c) In prescribing regulations for sailing school vessels, 
the Secretary shall consult with representatives of the private 
sector having experience in the operation of vessels likely to 
be certified as sailing school vessels. The regulations shall--
          (1) reflect the specialized nature of sailing school 
        vessel operations, and the character, design, and 
        construction of vessels operating as sailing school 
        vessels; and
          (2) include requirements for notice to sailing school 
        instructors and sailing school students about the 
        specialized nature of sailing school vessels and 
        applicable safety regulations.
  (d) In prescribing regulations for nautical school vessels 
operated by the United States Merchant Marine Academy or by a 
State maritime academy (as defined in section 51102 of this 
title), the Secretary shall consider the function, purpose, and 
operation of the vessels, their routes, and the number of 
individuals who may be carried on the vessels.
  (e) When the Secretary finds it in the public interest, the 
Secretary may suspend or grant exemptions from the requirements 
of a regulation prescribed under this section related to 
lifesaving and firefighting equipment, muster lists, ground 
tackle and hawsers, and bilge systems.
  (f) In prescribing regulations for offshore supply vessels, 
the Secretary shall consider the characteristics, methods of 
operation, and the nature of the service of offshore supply 
vessels.
  (g) In prescribing regulations for fish processing or fish 
tender vessels, the Secretary shall consult with 
representatives of the private sector having experience in the 
operation of these vessels. The regulations shall reflect the 
specialized nature and economics of fish processing or fish 
tender vessel operations and the character, design, and 
construction of fish processing or fish tender vessels.
  (h) The Secretary shall establish appropriate structural fire 
protection, manning, operating, and equipment requirements for 
vessels of at least 100 gross tons but less than 300 gross tons 
as measured under section 14502 of this title, or an alternate 
tonnage measured under section 14302 of this title as 
prescribed by the Secretary under section 14104 of this title 
carrying not more than 150 passengers on domestic voyages, 
which meet the eligibility criteria of section 2113(4) of this 
title.
  (i) The Secretary shall establish appropriate structural fire 
protection, manning, operating, and equipment requirements for 
former public vessels of the United States of at least 100 
gross tons but less that 500 gross tons as measured under 
section 14502 of this title, or an alternate tonnage measured 
under section 14302 of this title as prescribed by the 
Secretary under section 14104 of this title carrying not more 
than 150 passengers on domestic voyages, which meet the 
eligibility criteria of section 2113(5) of this title.
  (j) The Secretary may establish by regulation a safety 
management system appropriate for the characteristics, methods 
of operation, and nature of service of towing vessels.
  (k)(1) Each vessel of the United States that is constructed 
under a contract entered into after the date of enactment of 
the Oil Spill Prevention Act of 2009, or that is delivered 
after August 1, 2010, with an aggregate capacity of 600 cubic 
meters or more of oil fuel, shall comply with the requirements 
of Regulation 12A under Annex I to the Protocol of 1978 
relating to the International Convention for the Prevention of 
Pollution from Ships, 1973, entitled ``Oil Fuel Tank 
Protection''.
  (2) The Secretary may prescribe regulations to apply the 
requirements described in Regulation 12A to vessels described 
in paragraph (1) that are not otherwise subject to that 
convention.
  (3) In this subsection the term ``oil fuel'' means any oil 
used as fuel in connection with the propulsion and auxiliary 
machinery of the vessel in which such oil is carried.

                           TITLE 46. SHIPPING

                    SUBTITLE II. VESSELS AND SEAMEN

     PART E. MERCHANT SEAMEN LICENSES, CERTIFICATES, AND DOCUMENTS

           CHAPTER 71. LICENSES AND CERTIFICATES OF REGISTRY

Sec. 7115. Merchant mariner medical advisory committee, medical 
                    standards, and medical requirements

  (a) Establishment.--
          (1) In general.--There is established a Merchant 
        Mariner Medical Advisory Committee.
          (2) Functions.--The Committee shall--
                  (A) advise the Secretary on matters relating 
                to--
                          (i) medical certification 
                        determinations for issuance of merchant 
                        mariner credentials;
                          (ii) medical standards and guidelines 
                        for the physical qualifications of 
                        operators of commercial vessels;
                          (iii) medical examiner education; and
                          (iv) medical research; and,
                  (B) develop, as appropriate, specific courses 
                and materials to be used by medical examiners 
                listed in the national registry established 
                under this section.
          (3) Membership.--
                  (A) In general.--The Committee shall consist 
                of the chief medical examiner and--
                          (i) 10 individuals who are health-
                        care professionals with particular 
                        expertise, knowledge, or experience 
                        regarding the medical examinations of 
                        merchant mariners or occupational 
                        medicine; and
                          (ii) 4 individuals who are 
                        professional mariners with knowledge 
                        and experience in mariner occupational 
                        requirements.
                  (B) Status of members.--Except for the chief 
                medical examiner, members of the Committee 
                shall not be considered Federal employees or 
                otherwise in the service or the employment of 
                the Federal Government, except that members 
                shall be considered special Government 
                employees, as defined in section 202(a) of 
                title 18 and shall be subject to any 
                administrative standards of conduct applicable 
                to the employees of the department in which the 
                Coast Guard is operating.
                  (C) Compensation; Reimbursement.--Except for 
                the chief medical examiner, members of the 
                Committee shall serve without compensation, 
                except that, while engaged in the performance 
                of duties away from their homes or regular 
                places of business of the member, the member of 
                the Committee may be allowed travel expenses, 
                including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as 
                authorized by section 5703 of title 5.
  (b) Appointments; Terms; Vacancies; Organization.--
          (1) Appointment.--The Secretary shall appoint the 
        members of the Committee, and each member shall serve 
        at the pleasure of the Secretary.
          (2) Term of office.--The members shall be appointed 
        for a term of 4 years, except that, of the members 
        first appointed, 4 members shall be appointed for a 
        term of 2 years and 4 members shall be appointed for a 
        term of 1 year.
          (3) Vacancies.--Any member appointed to fill the 
        vacancy prior to the expiration of the term for which 
        such member's predecessor was appointed shall be 
        appointed for the remainder of such term.
          (4) Chairman; vice chairman.--The Secretary shall 
        designate 1 member other than the chief medical 
        examiner as the Chairman and 1 member other than the 
        chief medical examiner as the Vice Chairman. The Vice 
        Chairman shall act as Chairman in the absence or 
        incapacity of, or in the event of a vacancy in the 
        office of, the Chairman.
          (5) Staff; services.--The Secretary shall furnish to 
        the Committee the personnel and services as are 
        considered necessary for the conduct of its business.
          (6) Meetings.--No later than 6 months after the date 
        of enactment of the Oil Spill Prevention Act of 2009, 
        the Committee shall hold its first meeting and shall 
        meet at least once each fiscal year.
  (c) Chief Medical Examiner.--The Secretary shall appoint an 
employee of the Coast Guard who will serve as a chief medical 
examiner and who shall hold a position under section 3104 of 
title 5 relating to employment of specially qualified 
scientific and professional personnel, and shall be paid under 
section 5376 of title 5, relating to pay for certain senior-
level positions.
  (d) Medical Standards and Requirements.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary, with the advice of 
        the Committee, shall--
                  (A) establish, review, and revise--
                          (i) medical standards for merchant 
                        mariners that will ensure that the 
                        physical condition of merchant mariners 
                        is adequate to enable them to safely 
                        carry out their duties on board 
                        vessels; and
                          (ii) requirements for periodic 
                        physical examinations of such merchant 
                        mariners performed by a medical 
                        examiner who has, at a minimum, self-
                        certified that he or she has completed 
                        training in physical and medical 
                        examination standards and is listed on 
                        a registry of medical examiners 
                        maintained in accordance with 
                        subsection (e) of this section;
                  (B) require each merchant mariner to have a 
                current valid physical examination;
                  (C) conduct periodic reviews of a select 
                number of medical examiners on the national 
                registry to ensure that proper examinations of 
                merchant mariners are being conducted;
                  (D) require each such medical examiner to, at 
                a minimum, self-certify that he or she has 
                completed specific training, including 
                refresher courses, to be listed in the 
                registry;
                  (E) require medical examiners to submit all 
                completed medical examination reports as 
                required under regulations established by the 
                Secretary; and
                  (F) periodically review a representative 
                sample of the medical examiners' reports 
                associated with the name and numerical 
                identifiers of applicants transmitted under 
                subparagraph (E) for errors, omissions, or 
                other indications of improper certification.
          (2) Monitoring performance.--The Secretary shall 
        investigate patterns of errors or improper evaluation 
        by medical examiners. If the Secretary finds that a 
        medical examiner has evaluated a merchant mariner as 
        being fit for seagoing service who fails otherwise to 
        meet the applicable standards at the time of the 
        examination or that a medical examiner has falsely 
        claimed to have completed training in physical and 
        medical examination standards as required by this 
        section, the Secretary may remove the name of such 
        medical examiner from the registry and may void the 
        medical examinations of the applicant or holder.
  (e) National Registry of Medical Examiners.--The Secretary, 
acting through the Commandant of the Coast Guard--
          (1) shall establish and maintain a current national 
        registry of medical examiners who are qualified to 
        perform examinations;
          (2) shall accept as valid only examinations by 
        persons on the national registry of medical examiners;
          (3) shall remove from the registry the name of any 
        medical examiner who fails to meet or maintain the 
        qualifications established by the Secretary for being 
        listed in the registry or otherwise does not meet the 
        requirements of this section or a regulation issued 
        under this section;
          (4) may make participation of medical examiners in 
        the national registry voluntary if such a change will 
        enhance the safety of merchant mariners holding United 
        States Coast Guard credentials; and
          (5) may include in the registry established under 
        paragraph (1) licensed physicians who are certified by 
        the Secretary of Transportation to perform medical 
        examinations of operators of commercial motor vehicles 
        under section 31149 of title 49 and airmen.
  (f) Use of Medical Examiners Not on the National Registry.--
The Secretary shall accept examinations of merchant mariners 
conducted by medical examiners not listed on the national 
registry if such examinations meet specifications (including 
standards of review) established by the Secretary in 
consultation with the Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory 
Committee.
  (g) Medical Examiner Defined.--In this section, the term 
`medical examiner' means a licensed physician, physician's 
assistant, or nurse practitioner who complies with the 
regulations issued by the Secretary for medical examiners 
conducting examinations of merchant mariners.
  (h) Coordination.--The Secretary, in coordination with the 
Secretary of Transportation, shall utilize the systems, 
processes, and procedures established for the administration of 
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Medical 
Program authorized under section 31149 of title 49 and the 
Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Aerospace Medicine 
authorized under section 44702 of that title where synergies 
exist between such systems, processes, and procedures.
  (i) Regulations.--The Secretary may issue such regulations as 
may be necessary to carry out this section.

                           TITLE 46. SHIPPING

                    SUBTITLE II. VESSELS AND SEAMEN

     PART E. MERCHANT SEAMEN LICENSES, CERTIFICATES, AND DOCUMENTS

           CHAPTER 71. LICENSES AND CERTIFICATES OF REGISTRY

Sec. 7302. Issuing merchant mariners' documents and continuous 
                    discharge books

  (a) The Secretary shall issue a merchant mariner's document 
to an individual required to have that document under part F of 
this subtitle if the individual satisfies the requirements of 
this part. The document serves as a certificate of 
identification and as a certificate of service, specifying each 
rating in which the holder is qualified to serve on board 
vessels on which that document is required under part F.
  (b) The Secretary also may issue a continuous discharge book 
to an individual issued a merchant mariner's document if the 
individual requests.
  (c) The Secretary may not issue a merchant mariner's document 
under this chapter unless the individual applying for the 
document makes available to the Secretary, under section 
30305(b)(5) of title 49, any information contained in the 
National Driver Register related to an offense described in 
section 30304(a)(3)(A) or (B) of title 49 committed by the 
individual.
  (d) The Secretary may review the criminal record of an 
individual who applies for a merchant mariner's document under 
this section.
  (e) The Secretary shall require the testing of an individual 
applying for issuance or renewal of a merchant mariner's 
document under this chapter for the use of a dangerous drug in 
violation of law or Federal regulation.
  [(f) Except as provided in subsection (g), a merchant 
mariner's document issued under this chapter is valid for 5 
years and may be renewed for additional 5-year periods.]
  (f) Periods of Validity and Renewal of Merchant Mariners' 
Documents.--
          (1) In general.--Except as provided in subsection 
        (g), a merchant mariner's document issued under this 
        chapter is valid for a 5-year period and may be renewed 
        for additional 5-year periods.
          (2) Advance renewals.--A renewed merchant mariner's 
        document may be issued under this chapter up to 8 
        months in advance but is not effective until the date 
        that the previously issued merchant mariner's document 
        expires.
  (g)(1) The Secretary may, pending receipt and review of 
information required under subsections (c) and (d), immediately 
issue an interim merchant mariner's document valid for a period 
not to exceed 120 days, to--
                  (A) an individual to be employed as gaming 
                personnel, entertainment personnel, wait staff, 
                or other service personnel on board a passenger 
                vessel not engaged in foreign service, with no 
                duties, including emergency duties, related to 
                the navigation of the vessel or the safety of 
                the vessel, its crew, cargo or passengers; or
                  (B) an individual seeking renewal of, or 
                qualifying for a supplemental endorsement to, a 
                valid merchant mariner's document issued under 
                this section.
          (2) No more than one interim document may be issued 
        to an individual under paragraph (1)(A) of this 
        subsection.

Sec. 7106. Duration of licenses

  [A license issued under this part is valid for 5 years and 
may be renewed for additional 5-year periods. However, the 
validity of a license issued to a radio officer is conditioned 
on the continuous possession by the holder of a first-class or 
second-class radiotelegraph operator license issued by the 
Federal Communications Commission.]
  (a) In General.--A license issued under this part is valid 
for a 5-year period and may be renewed for additional 5-year 
periods; except that the validity of a license issued to a 
radio officer is conditioned on the continuous possession by 
the holder of a first-class or second-class radiotelegraph 
operator license issued by the Federal Communications 
Commission.
  (b) Advance Renewals.--A renewed license issued under this 
part may be issued up to 8 months in advance but is not 
effective until the date that the previously issued license 
expires.

Sec. 7107. Duration of certificates of registry

  [A certificate of registry issued under this part is valid 
for 5 years and may be renewed for additional 5-year periods. 
However, the validity of a certificate issued to a medical 
doctor or professional nurse is conditioned on the continuous 
possession by the holder of a license as a medical doctor or 
registered nurse, respectively, issued by a State.]
  (a) In General.--A certificate of registry issued under this 
part is valid for a 5-year period and may be renewed for 
additional 5-year periods; except that the validity of a 
certificate issued to a medical doctor or professional nurse is 
conditioned on the continuous possession by the holder of a 
license as a medical doctor or registered nurse, respectively, 
issued by a State.
  (b) Advance Renewals.--A renewed certificate of registry 
issued under this part may be issued up to 8 months in advance 
but is not effective until the date that the previously issued 
certificate of registry expires.

                           TITLE 46. SHIPPING

                    SUBTITLE II. VESSELS AND SEAMEN

     PART E. MERCHANT SEAMEN LICENSES, CERTIFICATES, AND DOCUMENTS

   CHAPTER 75. GENERAL PROCEDURES FOR LICENSING, CERTIFICATION, AND 
                             DOCUMENTATION

 7507. Authority to extend the duration of licenses, certificates of 
                    registry, and merchant mariner documents

  (a) Licenses and Certificates of Registry.--Notwithstanding 
sections 7106 and 7107, the Secretary of the department in 
which the Coast Guard is operating may extend for up to one 
year an expiring license or certificate of registry issued for 
an individual under chapter 71 if the Secretary determines that 
extension is required--
          (1) to enable the Coast Guard to eliminate a backlog 
        in processing applications for those licenses or 
        certificates of registry;
          (2) because necessary records have been destroyed or 
        are unavailable due to a natural disaster; or
          (3) to align the expiration date of a license or 
        certificate of registry with the expiration date of a 
        transportation worker identification credential under 
        section 70501.
  (b) Merchant Mariner Documents.--Notwithstanding section 
7302(g), the Secretary may extend for one year an expiring 
merchant mariner's document issued for an individual under 
chapter 71 if the Secretary determines that extension is 
required--
          (1) to enable the Coast Guard to eliminate a backlog 
        in processing applications for those licenses or 
        certificates of registry;
          (2) because necessary records have been destroyed or 
        are unavailable due to a natural disaster; or
          (3) to align the expiration date of a license or 
        certificate of registry with the expiration date of a 
        transportation worker identification credential under 
        section 70501.
  (c) Manner of Extension.--Any extensions granted under this 
section may be granted to individual seamen or a specifically 
identified group of seamen.
  (d) Expiration of Authority.--The authority for providing an 
extension under this section shall expire on December 31, 
2011.''.

                           TITLE 46. SHIPPING

                    SUBTITLE II. VESSELS AND SEAMEN

             PART G. MERCHANT SEAMEN PROTECTION AND RELIEF

                   CHAPTER 111. PROTECTION AND RELIEF

 11113. Protection and fair treatment of seafarers

  (a) Purpose.--The purpose of this section is to ensure the 
protection and fair treatment of seafarers.
  (b) Fund.--
          (1) Establishment.--There is established in the 
        Treasury a special fund known as the `Support of 
        Seafarers Fund'.
          (2) Use of amounts in fund.--The amounts covered into 
        the Fund shall be available to the Secretary, without 
        further appropriation and without fiscal year 
        limitation, to--
                  (A) pay necessary support, pursuant to 
                subsection (c)(1)(A) of this section; and
                  (B) reimburse a shipowner for necessary 
                support, pursuant to subsection (c)(1)(B) of 
                this section.
          (3) Amounts credited to fund.--Notwithstanding any 
        other provision of law, the Fund may receive--
                  (A) any moneys ordered to be paid to the Fund 
                in the form of community service pursuant to 
                section 3563(b) of title 18;
                  (B) amounts reimbursed or recovered pursuant 
                to subsection (d) of this section;
                  (C) amounts appropriated to the Fund pursuant 
                to subsection (g) of this section; and
                  (D) appropriations available to the Secretary 
                for transfer.
          (4) Prerequisite for community service credits.--The 
        Fund may receive credits pursuant to paragraph (3)(A) 
        of this subsection only when the unobligated balance of 
        the Fund is less than $5,000,000.
          (5) Report required.--
                  (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B) of 
                this paragraph, the Secretary shall not 
                obligate any amount in the Fund in a given 
                fiscal year unless the Secretary has submitted 
                to Congress, concurrent with the President's 
                budget submission for that fiscal year, a 
                report that describes--
                          (i) the amounts credited to the Fund, 
                        pursuant to paragraph (3) of this 
                        subsection, for the preceding fiscal 
                        year;
                          (ii) a detailed description of the 
                        activities for which amounts were 
                        charged; and
                          (iii) the projected level of 
                        expenditures from the Fund for the 
                        coming fiscal year, based on--
                                  (I) on-going activities; and
                                  (II) new cases, derived from 
                                historic data.
                  (B) The limitation in subparagraph (A) of 
                this paragraph shall not apply to obligations 
                during the first fiscal year during which 
                amounts are credited to the Fund.
          (6) Fund manager.--The Secretary shall designate a 
        Fund manager, who shall--
                  (A) ensure the visibility and accountability 
                of transactions utilizing the Fund;
                  (B) prepare the report required by paragraph 
                (5); and
                  (C) monitor the unobligated balance of the 
                Fund and provide notice to the Secretary and 
                the Attorney General whenever the unobligated 
                balance of the Fund is less than $5,000,000.
  (c) In General.--
          (1) Authority.--The Secretary is authorized--
                  (A) to pay, in whole or in part, without 
                further appropriation and without fiscal year 
                limitation, from amounts in the Fund, necessary 
                support of--
                          (i) any seafarer who enters, remains, 
                        or has been paroled into the United 
                        States and is involved in an 
                        investigation, reporting, 
                        documentation, or adjudication of any 
                        matter that is related to the 
                        administration or enforcement of any 
                        treaty, law, or regulation by the Coast 
                        Guard; and
                          (ii) any seafarer whom the Secretary 
                        finds to have been abandoned in the 
                        United States; and
                  (B) to reimburse, in whole or in part, 
                without further appropriation and without 
                fiscal year limitation, from amounts in the 
                Fund, a shipowner, who has filed a bond or 
                surety satisfactory pursuant to subparagraph 
                (A) and provided necessary support of a 
                seafarer who has been paroled into the United 
                States to facilitate an investigation, 
                reporting, documentation, or adjudication of 
                any matter that is related to the 
                administration or enforcement of any treaty, 
                law, or regulation by the Coast Guard, for 
                costs of necessary support, when the Secretary 
                deems reimbursement necessary to avoid serious 
                injustice.
          (2) Limitation.--Nothing in this section shall be 
        construed--
                  (A) to create a right, benefit, or 
                entitlement to necessary support; or
                  (B) to compel the Secretary to pay, or 
                reimburse the cost of, necessary support.
  (d) Reimbursements; Recovery.--
          (1) In general.--Any shipowner shall reimburse the 
        Fund an amount equal to the total amount paid from the 
        Fund for necessary support of the seafarer, plus a 
        surcharge of 25 percent of such total amount if--
                  (A)(i) the shipowner, during the course of an 
                investigation, reporting, documentation, or 
                adjudication of any matter that the Coast Guard 
                referred to a United States Attorney or the 
                Attorney General, fails to provide necessary 
                support of a seafarer who has been paroled into 
                the United States to facilitate the 
                investigation, reporting, documentation, or 
                adjudication; and
                  (ii) a criminal penalty is subsequently 
                imposed against the shipowner; or
                  (B) the shipowner, under any circumstance, 
                abandons a seafarer in the United States, as 
                decided by the Secretary.
          (2) Enforcement.--If a shipowner fails to reimburse 
        the Fund as required under paragraph (1) of this 
        subsection, the Secretary may--
                  (A) proceed in rem against any vessel of the 
                shipowner in the Federal district court for the 
                district in which such vessel is found; and
                  (B) withhold or revoke the clearance, 
                required by section 60105 of this title, of any 
                vessel of the shipowner wherever such vessel is 
                found.
          (3) Whenever clearance is withheld or revoked 
        pursuant to paragraph (2)(B) of this subsection, 
        clearance may be granted if the shipowner reimburses 
        the Fund the amount required under paragraph (1) of 
        this subsection.
  (e) Surety; Enforcement of Treaties, Laws, and Regulations.--
          (1) Bond and surety authority.--The Secretary is 
        authorized to require a bond or surety satisfactory as 
        an alternative to withholding or revoking clearance 
        required under section 60105 of this title if, in the 
        opinion of the Secretary, such bond or surety 
        satisfactory is necessary to facilitate an 
        investigation, reporting, documentation, or 
        adjudication of any matter that is related to the 
        administration or enforcement of any treaty, law, or 
        regulation by the Coast Guard if the surety corporation 
        providing the bond is authorized by the Secretary of 
        the Treasury under section 9305 of title 31 to provide 
        surety bonds under section 9304 of that title.
          (2) Application.--The authority to require a bond or 
        a surety satisfactory or to request the withholding or 
        revocation of the clearance required under section 
        60105 of this title applies to any investigation, 
        reporting, documentation, or adjudication of any matter 
        that is related to the administration or enforcement of 
        any treaty, law, or regulation by the Coast Guard.
  (f) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) Abandons; abandoned.--The term `abandons' or 
        `abandoned' means a shipowner's unilateral severance of 
        ties with a seafarer or the shipowner's failure to 
        provide necessary support of a seafarer.
          (2) Bond or surety satisfactory.--The term `bond or 
        surety satisfactory' means a negotiated instrument, the 
        terms of which may, at the discretion of the Secretary, 
        include provisions that require the shipowner to--
                  (A) provide necessary support of a seafarer 
                who has or may have information pertinent to an 
                investigation, reporting, documentation, or 
                adjudication of any matter that is related to 
                the administration or enforcement of any 
                treaty, law, or regulation by the Secretary;
                  (B) facilitate an investigation, reporting, 
                documentation, or adjudication of any matter 
                that is related to the administration or 
                enforcement of any treaty, law, or regulation 
                by the Secretary;
                  (C) stipulate to certain incontrovertible 
                facts, including, but not limited to, the 
                ownership or operation of the vessel, or the 
                authenticity of documents and things from the 
                vessel;
                  (D) facilitate service of correspondence and 
                legal papers;
                  (E) enter an appearance in United States 
                district court;
                  (F) comply with directions regarding payment 
                of funds;
                  (G) name an agent in the United States for 
                service of process;
                  (H) make stipulations as to the authenticity 
                of certain documents in United States district 
                court;
                  (I) provide assurances that no discriminatory 
                or retaliatory measures will be taken against a 
                seafarer involved in an investigation, 
                reporting, documentation, or adjudication of 
                any matter that is related to the 
                administration or enforcement of any treaty, 
                law, or regulation by the Secretary;
                  (J) provide financial security in the form of 
                cash, bond, or other means acceptable to the 
                Secretary; and
                  (K) provide for any other appropriate 
                measures as the Secretary considers necessary 
                to ensure the Government is not prejudiced by 
                granting the clearance required by section 
                60105 of title 46.
          (3) Fund.--The term `Fund' means the Support of 
        Seafarers Fund, established pursuant to this section.
          (4) Necessary support.--The term `necessary support' 
        means normal wages, lodging, subsistence, clothing, 
        medical care (including hospitalization), repatriation, 
        and any other expense the Secretary deems appropriate.
          (5) Seafarer.--The term `seafarer' means an alien 
        crewman who is employed or engaged in any capacity on 
        board a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the 
        United States.
          (6) Shipowner.--The term `shipowner' means the 
        individual or entity that owns, has an ownership 
        interest in, or operates a vessel subject to the 
        jurisdiction of the United States.
          (7) Vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the united 
        states.--The term `vessel subject to the jurisdiction 
        of the United States' has the same meaning it has in 
        section 70502(c) of this title, except that it excludes 
        a vessel owned or bareboat chartered and operated by 
        the United States, by a State or political subdivision 
        thereof, or by a foreign nation, except when that 
        vessel is engaged in commerce.
  (g) Regulations.--The Secretary may prescribe regulations to 
implement this section.
  (h) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to 
be appropriated to the Fund $1,500,000 for each of fiscal years 
2010, 2011, and 2012.