Collapse to view only § 1601. Definitions

§ 1601.
Definitions
For the purposes of this chapter—
(1) “vessel” means every description of watercraft, including nondisplacement craft and seaplanes, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water; and
(2) “high seas” means all parts of the sea that are not included in the territorial sea or in the internal waters of any nation.
(Pub. L. 95–75, § 2, July 27, 1977, 91 Stat. 308.)
§ 1602.
International Regulations
(a)
Proclamation by President; effective date

The President is authorized to proclaim the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (hereinafter referred to as the “International Regulations”). The effective date of the International Regulations for the United States shall be specified in the proclamation and shall be the date as near as possible to, but no earlier than, the date on which the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (hereinafter referred to as the “Convention”), signed at London, England, under date of October 20, 1972, enters into force for the United States. The International Regulations proclaimed shall consist of the rules and other annexes attached to the Convention.

(b)
Publication of proclamation in Federal Register

The proclamation shall include the International Regulations and shall be published in the Federal Register. On the date specified in the proclamation, the International Regulations shall enter into force for the United States and shall have effect as if enacted by statute.

(c)
Amendment of International Regulations

Subject to the provisions of subsection (d) of this section, the President is also authorized to proclaim any amendment to the International Regulations hereafter adopted in accordance with the provisions of article VI of the Convention, and to which the United States does not object. The effective date of the amendment shall be specified in the proclamation and shall be in accordance with the provisions of the said article VI. The proclamation shall include the adopted amendment and shall be published in the Federal Register. On the date specified in the proclamation, the amendment shall enter into force for the United States as a constituent part of the International Regulations, as amended, and shall have effect as if enacted by statute.

(d)
Notification to Congress of proposed amendments; Congressional resolution of disapproval
(1) Upon receiving a proposed amendment to the International Regulations, communicated to the United States pursuant to clause 3 of article VI of the Convention, the President shall promptly notify the Congress of the proposed amendment. If, within sixty days after receipt of such notification by the Congress, or ten days prior to the date under clause 4 of article VI for registering an objection, whichever comes first, the Congress adopts a resolution of disapproval, such resolution shall be transmitted to the President and shall constitute an objection by the United States to the proposed amendment. If, upon receiving notification of the resolution of disapproval, the President has not already notified the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization of an objection to the United States to the proposed amendment, he shall promptly do so.
(2) For the purposes of this subsection, “resolution of disapproval” means a concurrent resolution initiated by either House of the Congress, the matter after the resolving clause of which is to read as follows: “That the        (the        concurring) does not favor the proposed amendment to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, relating to          , and forwarded to the Congress by the President on   
(3) Any proposed amendment transmitted to the Congress by the President and any resolution of disapproval pertaining thereto shall be referred, in the House of Representatives, to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and shall be referred, in the Senate, to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
(Pub. L. 95–75, § 3, July 27, 1977, 91 Stat. 308; Pub. L. 107–295, title IV, § 408(b)(1), Nov. 25, 2002, 116 Stat. 2117.)
§ 1603.
Vessels subject to International Regulations
Except as provided in section 1604 of this title and subject to the provisions of section 1605 of this title, the International Regulations, as proclaimed under section 1602 of this title, shall be applicable to, and shall be complied with by—
(1) all vessels, public and private, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, while upon the high seas or in waters connected therewith navigable by seagoing vessels, and
(2) all other vessels when on waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
(Pub. L. 95–75, § 4, July 27, 1977, 91 Stat. 309.)
§ 1604.
Vessels not subject to International Regulations
(a) The International Regulations do not apply to vessels while in the waters of the United States shoreward of the navigational demarcation lines dividing the high seas from harbors, rivers, and other inland waters of the United States.
(b) Whenever a vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States is in the territorial waters of a foreign state the International Regulations shall be applicable to, and shall be complied with by, that vessel to the extent that the laws and regulations of the foreign state are not in conflict therewith.
(Pub. L. 95–75, § 5, July 27, 1977, 91 Stat. 309; Pub. L. 96–591, § 6(1), Dec. 24, 1980, 94 Stat. 3434.)
§ 1605.
Navy and Coast Guard vessels of special construction or purpose
(a)
Certification for alternative compliance

Any requirement of the International Regulations with respect to the number, position, range, or arc of visibility of lights, with respect to shapes, or with respect to the disposition and characteristics of sound-signaling appliances, shall not be applicable to a vessel of special construction or purpose, whenever the Secretary of the Navy, for any vessel of the Navy, or the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, for any other vessel of the United States, shall certify that the vessel cannot comply fully with that requirement without interfering with the special function of the vessel.

(b)
Closest possible compliance by vessels covered by certification for alternative compliance

Whenever a certification is issued under the authority of subsection (a) of this section, the vessel involved shall comply with the requirement as to which the certification is made to the extent that the Secretary issuing the certification shall certify as the closest possible compliance by that vessel.

(c)
Publication of certifications in Federal Register

Notice of the certifications issued pursuant to subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall be published in the Federal Register.

(d)
Issuance of certification for a class of vessels

A certification authorized by this section may be issued for a class of vessels.

(Pub. L. 95–75, § 6, July 27, 1977, 91 Stat. 309; Pub. L. 96–591, § 6(2), Dec. 24, 1980, 94 Stat. 3434.)
§ 1606.
Special rules for ships of war, vessels proceeding under convoy, and fishing vessels engaged in fishing as a fleet
(a) The Secretary of the Navy is authorized to promulgate special rules with respect to additional station or signal lights or whistle signals for ships of war or vessels proceeding under convoy, and the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating is authorized to promulgate special rules with respect to additional station or signal lights for fishing vessels engaged in fishing as a fleet.
(b) The additional station or signal lights or whistle signals contained in the special rules authorized under subsection (a) of this section shall be, as far as possible, such that they cannot be mistaken for any light or signal authorized by the International Regulations. Notice of such special rules shall be published in the Federal Register and, after the effective date specified in such notice, they shall have effect as if they were a part of the International Regulations.
(Pub. L. 95–75, § 7, July 27, 1977, 91 Stat. 310.)
§ 1607.
Implementation by rules and regulations; authority to promulgate

The Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating is authorized to promulgate such reasonable rules and regulations as are necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter and the International Regulations proclaimed hereunder.

(Pub. L. 95–75, § 8, July 27, 1977, 91 Stat. 310.)
§ 1608.
Civil penalties
(a)
Liability of vessel operator for violations

Whoever operates a vessel, subject to the provisions of this chapter, in violation of this chapter or of any regulation promulgated pursuant to section 1607 of this title, shall be liable to a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for each such violation.

(b)
Liability of vessel for violations; seizure of vessel

Every vessel subject to the provisions of this chapter, other than a public vessel being used for noncommercial purposes, which is operated in violation of this chapter or of any regulation promulgated pursuant to section 1607 of this title, shall be liable to a civil penalty of not more than $5,000 for each such violation, for which penalty the vessel may be seized and proceeded against in the district court of the United States of any district within which such vessel may be found.

(c)
Assessment of penalties; notice; opportunity for hearing; remission, mitigation, and compromise of penalty; action for collection

The Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating may assess any civil penalty authorized by this section. No such penalty may be assessed until the person charged, or the owner of the vessel charged, as appropriate, shall have been given notice of the violation involved and an opportunity for a hearing. For good cause shown, the Secretary may remit, mitigate, or compromise any penalty assessed. Upon the failure of the person charged, or the owner of the vessel charged, to pay an assessed penalty, as it may have been mitigated or compromised, the Secretary may request the Attorney General to commence an action in the appropriate district court of the United States for collection of the penalty as assessed, without regard to the amount involved, together with such other relief as may be appropriate.

(Pub. L. 95–75, § 9, July 27, 1977, 91 Stat. 310; Pub. L. 96–591, § 6(3), (4), Dec. 24, 1980, 94 Stat. 3435.)