The Maritime Administration was transferred to the DOT in 1981. The Maritime Administration conducts programs to aid in the development, promotion, and operation of the U.S. merchant marine. It is also charged with organizing and directing emergency merchant ship operations.
Through the Maritime Subsidy Board, the Maritime Administration handles subsidy programs under which the federal government, subject to statutory limitations, pays the difference between certain costs of operating ships under the U.S. flag and foreign competitive flags. The government also subsidizes the difference between the costs of constructing ships in U.S. and foreign shipyards. The Maritime Administration provides financing guarantees for the construction, reconstruction, and reconditioning of ships and enters into capital construction fund agreements that grant tax deferrals on moneys to be used for the acquisition, construction, or reconstruction of ships.
The administration constructs or supervises the construction of merchant-type ships for the federal government. It helps industry generate increased business for U.S. ships and conducts programs to promote domestic shipping and to develop ports, facilities, and intermodal transport.
Under emergency conditions the Maritime Administration charters government-owned ships to U.S. operators, requisitions or procures ships owned by U.S. citizens, and allocates them to meet defense needs. It maintains a National Defense Reserve Fleet of government-owned ships that it operates through ship managers and general agents when required for the national defense. An element of this activity is the Ready Reserve Force, consisting of a number of ships that can be activated for quick response.
The administration regulates sales to ALIENS and transfers to foreign registry of ships that are fully or partially owned by U.S. citizens. It also disposes of government-owned ships found nonessential for national defense.
The administration operates the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, where young people are trained to become merchant marine officers, and conducts training in shipboard firefighting in Earle, New Jersey, and Toledo, Ohio. It also administers a federal assistance program for the maritime academies operated by California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Texas.
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