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vessels shall be subject to all laws, regulations, and liabilities governing merchant vessels, whether the United States be interested therein as owner, in whole or in part, or hold any mortgage, lien, or other interest therein. No such vessel, without the approval of the board, shall be transferred to a foreign registry or flag, or sold; nor, except under regulations prescribed by the board, be chartered or leased.
When the United States is at war, or during any national emergency the existence of which is declared by proclamation of the President, no vessel registered or enrolled and licensed under the laws of the United States shall, without the approval of the board, be sold, leased, or chartered to any person not a citizen of the United States, or transferred to a foreign registry or flag. No vessel registered or enrolled and licensed under the laws of the United States, or owned by any person a citizen of the United States, except one which the board is prohibited from purchasing, shall be sold to any person not a citizen of the United States or transferred to a foreign registry or flag, unless such vessel is first tendered to the board at the price in good faith offered by others, or, if no such offer, at a fair price to be determined in the manner provided in section ten.
Any vessel sold, chartered, leased, transferred, or operated in violation of this section shall be forfeited to the United States, and whoever violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of not more than $5,000 or to imprisonment of not more than five years, or both such fine and imprisonment.
SEC. 10. That the President, upon giving to the person interested such reasonable notice in writing as in his judgment the circumstances permit, may take possession, absolutely or temporarily, for any naval or military purpose, of any vessel purchased, leased, or chartered from the board : Provided, That if, in the judgment of the President, an emergency exists requiring such action he may take possession of any such vessel without notice.
Thereafter, upon ascertainment by agreement or otherwise, the United States shall pay the person interested the fair actual value based upon normal conditions at the time of taking of the interest of such person in every vessel taken absolutely, or if taken for a limited period, the fair charter value under normal conditions for such period. In case of disagreement as to such fair value it shall be determined by appraisers, one to be appointed by the board, one by the person interested, and a third by the two so appointed. The finding of such appraisers shall be final and binding upon both parties.
Sec. 11. That the board, if in its judgment such action is necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act, may form under the laws of the District of Columbia one or more corporations for the purchase, construction, equipment, lease, charter, maintenance, and operation of merchant vessels in the commerce of the United States. The total capital stock thereof shall not exceed $50,000,000. The board may, for and on behalf of the United States, subscribe to, purchase, and vote not less than a majority of the capital stock of any such corporation, and do all other things in regard thereto necessary to protect the interests of the United States and to carry out the purposes of this Act. The board, with the approval of the President, may sell any or all of the stock of the United States in such corporation, but at no time shall it be a minority stockholder therein: Provided, That no corporation in which the United States is a stockholder, formed under the authority of this section, shall engage in the operation of any vessel constructed, purchased, leased, chartered, or transferred under the authority of this Act unless the board shall be unable, after a bona fide effort, to contract with any person a citizen of the United States for the purchase, lease, or charter of such vessel under such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the board.
The board shall give public notice of the fact that vessels are offered and the terms and conditions upon which a contract will be made, and shall invite competitive offerings. In the event the board shall, after full compliance with the terms of this proviso, determine that it is unable to enter into a contract with such private parties for the purchase, lease, or charter of such vessel, it shall make a full report to the President, who shall examine such report, and if he shall approve the same he shall make an order declaring that the conditions have been found to exist which justify the operation of such vessel by a corporation formed under the provisions of this section.
At the expiration of five years from the conclusion of the present European war the operation of vessels on the part of any such corporation in which the United States is then a stockholder shall cease and the said corporation stand
dissolved. The date of the conclusion of the war shall be declared by proclamation of the President. The vessels and other property of any such corporation shall revert to the board. The board may sell, lease, or charter such vessels as provided in section seven and shall dispose of the property other than vessels on the best available terms and, after payment of all debts and obligations, deposit the proceeds thereof in the Treasury to its credit. All stock in such corporations owned by others than the United States at the time of dissolution shall be taken over by the board at a fair and reasonable value and paid for with funds to the credit of the board. In case of disagreement, such value shall be determined in the manner provided in section ten.
SEC. 12. That the board shall investigate the relative cost of building merchant vessels in the United States and in foreign maritime countries, and the relative cost, advantages, and disadvantages of operating in the foreign trade vessels under United States registry and under foreign registry. It shall examine the rules under which vessels are constructed abroad and in the United States, and the methods of classifying and rating same, and it shall examine into the subject of marine insurance, the number of companies in the United States, domestic and foreign, engaging in marine insurance, the extent of the insurance on hulls and cargoes placed or written in the United States, and the extent of reinsurance of American maritime risks in foreign companies, and ascertain what steps may be necessary to develop an ample marine insurance system as an aid in the development of an American merchant marine. It shall examine the navigation laws of the United States and the 'rules and regulations thereunder, and make such recommendations to the Congress as it deems proper for the amendment, improvement, and revision of such laws, and for the development of the American merchant marine. It shall investigate the legal status of mortgage loans on vessel property, with a view to means of improving the security of such loans and of encouraging investment in American shipping.
It shall, on or before the first day of December in each year, make a report to the Congress, which shall include its recommendations and the results of its investigations, a summary of its transactions, and a statement of all expenditures and receipts under this Act, and of the operations of any corporation in which the United States is a stockholder, and the names and compensation of all persons employed by the board.
SEC. 13. That for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of sections five and eleven no liability shall be incurred exceeding a total of $50,000,000 and the Secretary of the Treasury, upon the request of the board, approved by the President, shall from time to time issue and sell or use any of the bonds of the United States now available in the Treasury under the Acts of August fifth, nineteen hundred and nine, February fourth, nineteen hundred and ten, and March second, nineteen hundred and eleven, relating to the issue of bonds for the construction of the Panama Canal, to a total amount not to exceed $50,000,000: Provided, That any bonds issued and sold or used under the provisions of this section may be made payable at such time within fifty years after issue as the Secretary of the Treasury may fix, instead of fifty years after the date of issue, as prescribed in the Act of August fifth, nineteen hundred and nine.
The proceeds of such bonds and the net proceeds of all sales, charters, and leases of vessels and of sales of stock made by the board, and all other moneys received by it from any source, shall be covered into the Treasury to the credit of the board, and are hereby permanently appropriated for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of sections five and eleven.
Sec. 14. That no common carrier by water shall directly or indirectly
First. Pay, or allow, or enter into any combination, agreement, or understanding, express or implied, to pay or allow, a deferred rebate to any shipper. The term “deferred rebate in this Act means a return of any portion of the freight money by a carrier to any shipper as a consideration for the giving of all or any portion of his shipments to the same or any other carrier, or for any other purpose, the payment of which is deferred beyond the completion of the service for which it is paid, and is made only if, during both the period for which computed and the period of deferment, the shipper has complied with the terms of the rebate agreement or arrangement.
Second. Use a fighting ship either separately or in conjunction with any other carrier, through agreement or otherwise. The term “fighting ship ” in this Act means a vessel used in a particular trade by a carrier or group of carriers for the purpose of excluding, preventing, or reducing competition by driving another carrier out of said trade.
Third. Retaliate against any shipper by refusing, or threatening to refuse, space accommodations when such are available, or resort to other discriminating or unfair methods, because such shipper has patronized any other carrier or has filed a complaint charging unfair treatment, or for any other reason.
Fourth. Make any unfair or unjustly discriminatory contract with any shipper based on the volume of freight offered, or unfairly creat or unjustly discriminate against any shipper in the matter of (a) cargo space accommodations or other facilities, due regard being had for the proper loading of the vessel and the available tonnage; (b) the loading and landing of freight in proper condition; or (c) the adjustment and settlement of claims.
Any carrier who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $25,000 for each offense.
SEC. 15. That every common carrier by water, or other person subject to this Act, shall file immediately with the board a true copy, or, if oral, a true and complete memorandum, of every agreement with another such carrier or other person subject to this Act, or modification or cancellation thereof, to which it may be a party or conform in whole or in part, fixing or regulating transportation rates or fares; giving or receiving special rates, accommodations, or other special privileges or advantages ; controlling, regulating, preventing, or destroying competition; pooling or apportioning earnings, losses, or traffic; allotting ports or restricting or otherwise regulating the number and character of sailings between ports; limiting or regulating in any way the volume or character of freight or passenger traffic to be carried; or in any manner providing for an exclusive, preferential, or cooperative working arrangement. The term
agreement in this section includes understandings, conferences, and other arrangements.
The board may by order disapprove, cancel, or modify any agreement, or any modification or cancellation thereof, whether or not previously approved by it, that it finds to be unjustly discriminatory or unfair as between carriers, shippers, exporters, importers, or ports, or between exporters from the United States and their foreign competitors, or to operate to the detriment of the commerce of the United States, or to be in violation of this Act, and shall approve all other agreements, modifications, or cancellations.
Agreements existing at the time of the organization of the board shall be lawful until disapproved by the board. It shall be unlawful to carry out any agreement or any portion thereof disapproved by the board.
A:11 agreements, modifications, or cancellations made after the organization of the board shall be lawful only when and as long as approved by the board, and before approval or after disapproval it shall be unlawful to carry out in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, any such agreement, modification, or cancellation.
Every agreement, modification, or cancellation lawful under this section shall be excepted from the provisions of the Act approved July second, eighteen hundred and ninety, entitled "An Act to protect trade and commerce against unlawful restraints and monopolies,” and amendments and Acts supplementary thereto, and the provisions of sections seventy-three to seventy-seven, both inclusive, of the Act approved August twenty-seventh, eighteen hundred and ninety-four, entitled “An Act to reduce taxation, to provide revenue for the Government, and for other purposes,” and amendments and Acts supplementary thereto.
Whoever violates any provision of this section shall be liable to a penalty of $1,000 for each day such violation continues, to be recovered by the United States in a civil action.
SEC. 16. That it shall be unlawful for any common carrier by water, or other person subject to this Act, either alone or in conjunction with any other person, directly or indirectly
First. To make or give any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage to any particular person, locality, or description of traffic in any respect whatsoever, or to subject any particular person, locality, or description of traffic to any undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage in any respect whatsoever.
Second. To allow any person to obtain transportation for property at less than the regular rates then established and enforced on the line of such carrier, by means of false billing, false classification, false weighing, false report of weight, or by any other unjust or unfair device or means.
Third. To induce, persuade, or otherwise influence any marine insurance company or underwriter, or agent thereof, not to give a competing carrier by
water as favorable a rate of insurance on vessel or cargo, having due regard to the class of vessel or cargo, as is granted to such carrier or other person subject to this Act.
SEC. 17. That no common carrier by water in foreign commerce shall demand, charge, or collect any rate, fare, or charge which is unjustly discriminatory between shippers or ports, or unjustly prejudicial to exporters of the United States as compared with their foreign competitors. Whenever the board finds that any such rate, fare, or charge is demanded, charged, or collected it may alter the same to the extent necessary to correct such unjust discrimination or prejudice and make an order that the carrier shall discontinue demanding, charging, or collecting any such unjustly discriminatory or prejudicial rate, fare, or charge.
Every such carrier and every other person subject to this Act shall establish, observe, and enforce just and reasonable regulations and practices relating to or connected with the receiving, handling, storing, or delivering of property. Whenever the board finds that any such regulation or practice is unjust or unreasonable it may determine, prescribe, and order enforced a just and reasonable regulation or practice.
SEC. 18. That every common carrier by water in interstate commerce shall establish, observe, and enforce just and reasonable rates, fares, charges, classifications, and tariffs, and just and reasonable regulations and practices relating thereto and to the issuance, form, and substance of tickets, receipts, and bills of lading, the manner and method of presenting, marking, packing, and delivering property for transportation, the carrying of personal, sample, and excess baggage, the facilities for transportation, and all other matters relating to or connected with the receiving, handling, transporting, storing, or delivering of property.
Every such carrier shall file with the board and keep open to public inspection, in the form and manner and within the time prescribed by the board, the maximum rates, fares, and charges for or in connection with transportation between points on its own route; and if a through route has been established, the maximum rates, fares, and charges for or in connection with transportation between points on its own route and points on the route of any other carrier by water.
No such carrier shall demand, charge, or collect a greater compensation for such transportation than the rates, fares, and charges filed in compliance with this section, except with the approval of the board and after ten days' public notice in the form and manner prescribed by the board, stating the increase proposed to be made; but the board for good cause shown may waive such notice.
Whenever the board finds that any rate, fare, charge, classification, tariff, regulation, or practice, demanded, charged, collected, or observed by such carrier is unjust or unreasonable, it may determine, prescribe, and order enforced a just and reasonable maximum rate, fare, or charge, or a just and reasonable classification, tariff, regulation, or practice.
SEC. 19. That whenever a common carrier by water in interstate commerce reduces its rates on the carriage of any species of freight to or from competitive points below a fair and remunerative basis with the intent of driving out or otherwise injuring a competitive carrier by water, it shall not increase such rates unless after hearing the board finds that such proposed increase rests upon changed conditions other than the elimination of said competition.
SEC. 20. That it shall be unlawful for any common carrier by water or other person subject to this Act, or any officer, receiver, trustee, lessee, agent, or employee of such carrier or person, or for any other person authorized by such carrier or person to receive information, knowingly to disclose to or permit to be acquired by any person other than the shipper or consignee, without the consent of such shipper or consignee, any information concerning the nature, kind, quantity, destination, consignee, or routing of any property tendered or delivered to such common carrier or other person subject to this Act for transportation in interstate or foreign commerce, which information may be used to the detriment or prejudice of such shipper or consignee, or which may improperly disclose his business transactions to a competitor, or which may be used to the detriment or prejudice of any carrier; and it shall also be unlawful for any person to solicit or knowingly receive any such information which may be so used.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prevent the giving of such information in response to any legal process issued under the authority of any court, or to any officer or agent of the Government of the United States, or of
any State, Territory, District, or possession thereof, in the exercise of his powers, or to any officer or other duly authorized person seeking such information for the prosecution of persons charged with or suspected of crime, or to another carrier, or its duly authorized agent, for the purpose of adjusting mutual traffic accounts in the ordinary course of business of such carriers.
SEC. 21. That the board may require any common carrier by water, or other person subject to this Act, or any officer, receiver, trustee, lessee, agent, or employee thereof, to file with it any periodical or special report, or any account, record, rate, or charge, or any memorandum of any facts and transactions appertaining to the business of such carrier or other person subject to this Act. Such report, account, record, rate, charge, or memorandum shall be under oath whenever the board so requires, and shall be furnished in the form and within the time prescribed by the board. Whoever fails to file any report, account, record, rate, charge, or memorandum as required by this section shall forfeit to the United States the sum of $100 for each day of such default.
Whoever willfully falsifies, destroys, mutilates, or alters any such report, account, record, rate, charge, or memorandum, or willfully files a false report, account, record, rate, charge, or memorandum shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and subject upon conviction to a fine of not more than $1,000, or imprisonment for not more than one year, or to both such fine and imprisonment.
SEC. 22. That any person may file with the board a sworn complaint setting forth any violation of this Act by a common carrier by water, or other person subject to this Act, and asking reparation for the injury, if any, caused thereby. The board shall furnish a copy of the complaint to such carrier or other person, who shall, within a reasonable time specified by the board, satisfy the complaint or answer it in writing. If the complaint is not satisfied the board shall, except as otherwise provided in this Act, investigate it in such manner and by such means, and make such order as it deems proper. The board, if the complaint is filed within two years after the cause of action accrued, may direct the payment, on or before a day named, of full reparation to the complainant for the injury caused by such violation.
The board, upon its own motion, may in like manner and, except as to orders for the payment of money, with the same powers, investigate any violation of this Act.
SEC. 23. Orders of the board relating to any violation of this Act shall be made only after full hearing, and upon a sworn complaint or in proceedings instituted of its own motion.
All orders of the board other than for the payment of money made under this Act shall continue in force for such time, not exceeding two years, as shall be prescribed therein by the board, unless suspended, modified, or set aside by the board or any court of competent jurisdiction.
SEC. 24. That the board shall enter of record a written report of every investigation made under this Act in which a hearing has been held, stating its conclusions, decision, and order, and, if reparation is awarded, the findings of fact on which the award is made, and shall furnish a copy of such report to all parties to the investigation.
The board may publish such reports in the form best adapted for public information and use, and such authorized publications shall, without further proof or authentication, be competent evidence of such reports in all courts of the United States and of the States, Territories, Districts, and possessions thereof.
SEC. 25. That the board may reverse, suspend, or modify, upon such notice and in such manner as it deems proper, any order made by it. Upon application of any party to a decision or order it may grant a rehearing of the same or any matter determined therein, but no such application for or allowance of a rehearing shall, except by special order of the board, operate as a stay of such order.
SEC. 26. The board shall have power, and it shall be its duty whenever complaint shall be made to it, to investigate the action of any foreign Government with respect to the privileges afforded and burdens imposed upon vessels of the United States engaged in foreign trade whenever it shall appear that the laws, regulations, or practices of any foreign Government operate in such a manner that vessels of the United States are not accorded equal privileges in foreign trade with vessels of such foreign countries or vessels of other foreign countries, either in trade to or from the ports of such foreign country