United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Feb 26, 2020
In any case where a vessel of the United States is seized by a foreign country under the conditions of section 1972 of this title and a fine, license fee, registration fee, or any other direct charge must be paid in order to secure the prompt release of the vessel and crew, the owners of the vessel shall be reimbursed by the Secretary of State in the amount determined and certified by him as being the amount of the fine, license fee, registration fee, or any other direct charge actually paid. For purposes of this section, the term “other direct charge” means any levy, however characterized or computed (including, but not limited to, any computation based on the value of a vessel or the value of fish or other property on board a vessel), which is imposed in addition to any fine, license fee, or registration fee. Any reimbursement under this section shall be made from the Fishermen’s Protective Fund established pursuant to section 1979 of this title.
The Secretary of State shall make a determination and certification under subsection (a) of this section as soon as possible after he is notified pursuant to section 1972(b) of this title of the amounts of the fines, fees, and other direct charges which were paid by the owners to secure the release of their vessel and crew. The amount of reimbursement made by the Secretary of State to the owners of any vessel under subsection (a) of this section shall constitute a lien on the vessel which may be recovered in proceedings by libel in rem in the district court of the United States for any district within which the vessel may be. Any such lien shall terminate on the ninetieth day after the date on which the Secretary of State reimburses the owners under this section unless before such ninetieth day the United States initiates action to enforce the lien.