2016 US Code
Title 46 - Shipping
Subtitle V - Merchant Marine
Part E - Control of Merchant Marine Capabilities
Chapter 565 - Essential Vessels Affected by Neutrality Act
Sec. 56502 - Adjusting obligations and arranging maintenance

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Citation 46 U.S.C. § 56502 (2016)
Section Name §56502. Adjusting obligations and arranging maintenance
Section Text

(a) General Authority.—On written application, the Secretary of Transportation may adjust obligations and arrange for maintenance of an essential vessel as provided in this chapter if the Secretary determines, after any investigation or proceeding the Secretary considers desirable, that—

(1) the operation of the vessel in the service, route, or line to which it is assigned under this subtitle, or in which it otherwise would be operated, is not—

(A) lawful under the Neutrality Act of 1939 (22 U.S.C. 441 et seq.) or a proclamation issued under that Act; or

(B) compatible with maintaining the availability of the vessel for national defense and commerce;

(2) it is not feasible under existing law to employ the vessel in any other service or operation in foreign or domestic trade (except temporary or emergency operation under section 56503(b)(5) of this title); and

(3) the applicant, because of the restrictions of the Neutrality Act of 1939 (22 U.S.C. 441 et seq.) or the withdrawal of vessels for national defense under paragraph (1), is not earning or will not earn a reasonable return on the capital necessarily employed in its business.

(b) Effective Period.—Adjustments and arrangements under subsection (a) shall continue in effect only as long as the circumstances described in subsection (a) continue to exist.

Source Credit

(Pub. L. 109–304, §8(c), Oct. 6, 2006, 120 Stat. 1657.)

Editorial Notes
Historical and Revision Notes


Source (U.S. Code)Source (Statutes at Large)
56502 46 App.:1242a(b), (e). June 29, 1940, ch. 442, subdivs. (b), (e), 54 Stat. 684, 686; Pub. L. 97–31, §12(132), Aug. 6, 1981, 95 Stat. 165.

The text of 46 App. U.S.C. 1242a(b) (1st sentence) is omitted as surplus. The text of 46 App. U.S.C. 1242a(e) is omitted as obsolete.


The Neutrality Act of 1939, referred to in subsec. (a)(1)(A), (3), is act Nov. 4, 1939, ch. 2, 54 Stat. 4, which is classified generally to subchapter II (§441 et seq.) of chapter 9 of Title 22, Foreign Relations and Intercourse. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 441 of Title 22 and Tables.

Publication Title United States Code, 2012 Edition, Supplement 4, Title 46 - SHIPPING
Category Bills and Statutes
Collection United States Code
SuDoc Class Number Y 1.2/5:
Contained Within Title 46 - SHIPPING
Subtitle V - Merchant Marine
Part E - Control of Merchant Marine Capabilities
Sec. 56502 - Adjusting obligations and arranging maintenance
Contains section 56502
Date 2016
Laws In Effect As Of Date January 6, 2017
Positive Law Yes
Disposition standard
Statutes at Large References 54 Stat. 4, 684
95 Stat. 165
120 Stat. 1657
Public Law References Public Law 97-31, Public Law 109-304
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