Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement; Changes to the Open Season Enrollment Period, 4552-4554 [2018-01851]

Download as PDF 4552 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 21 / Wednesday, January 31, 2018 / Notices criteria given in section 388.4 of MARAD’s regulations at 46 CFR part 388. Privacy Act In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT/MARAD solicits comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT/MARAD posts these comments, without edit, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice, DOT/ALL– 14 FDMS, accessible through www.dot.gov/privacy. In order to facilitate comment tracking and response, we encourage commenters to provide their name, or the name of their organization; however, submission of names is completely optional. Whether or not commenters identify themselves, all timely comments will be fully considered. If you wish to provide comments containing proprietary or confidential information, please contact the agency for alternate submission instructions. Authority: 49 CFR 1.93(a), 46 U.S.C. 55103, 46 U.S.C. 12121 * * * * * By Order of the Maritime Administrator. Dated: January 26, 2018. T. Mitchell Hudson, Jr., Secretary, Maritime Administration. [FR Doc. 2018–01860 Filed 1–30–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–81–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Maritime Administration [Docket No. MARAD–2018–0012] Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel DOWN UNDER; Invitation for Public Comments Maritime Administration, DOT. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: The Secretary of Transportation, as represented by the Maritime Administration (MARAD), is authorized to grant waivers of the U.S.build requirement of the coastwise laws under certain circumstances. A request for such a waiver has been received by MARAD. The vessel, and a brief description of the proposed service, is listed below. DATES: Submit comments on or before March 2, 2018. ADDRESSES: Comments should refer to docket number MARAD–2018–0012. Written comments may be submitted by hand or by mail to the Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M–30, West sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:36 Jan 30, 2018 Jkt 244001 Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. You may also send comments electronically via the internet at http://www.regulations.gov. All comments will become part of this docket and will be available for inspection and copying at the above address between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. An electronic version of this document and all documents entered into this docket is available at http://www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bianca Carr, U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Room W23–453, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone 202– 366–9309, Email Bianca.carr@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: As described by the applicant the intended service of the vessel DOWN UNDER is: —Intended Commercial Use of Vessel: ‘‘Sunset Cruises’’ —Geographic Region: ‘‘Massachusetts and Rhode Island’’ The complete application is given in DOT docket MARAD–2018–0012 at http://www.regulations.gov. Interested parties may comment on the effect this action may have on U.S. vessel builders or businesses in the U.S. that use U.S.flag vessels. If MARAD determines, in accordance with 46 U.S.C. 12121 and MARAD’s regulations at 46 CFR part 388, that the issuance of the waiver will have an unduly adverse effect on a U.S.vessel builder or a business that uses U.S.-flag vessels in that business, a waiver will not be granted. Comments should refer to the docket number of this notice and the vessel name in order for MARAD to properly consider the comments. Comments should also state the commenter’s interest in the waiver application, and address the waiver criteria given in section 388.4 of MARAD’s regulations at 46 CFR part 388. Privacy Act In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT/MARAD solicits comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT/MARAD posts these comments, without edit, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system of records notice, DOT/ALL– 14 FDMS, accessible through www.dot.gov/privacy. In order to facilitate comment tracking and response, we encourage commenters to provide their name, or the name of their organization; however, submission of names is completely optional. Whether or not commenters identify themselves, PO 00000 Frm 00090 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 all timely comments will be fully considered. If you wish to provide comments containing proprietary or confidential information, please contact the agency for alternate submission instructions. Authority: 49 CFR 1.93(a), 46 U.S.C. 55103, 46 U.S.C. 12121. * * * * * By Order of the Maritime Administrator. Dated: January 26, 2018. T. Mitchell Hudson, Jr., Secretary, Maritime Administration. [FR Doc. 2018–01858 Filed 1–30–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–81–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Maritime Administration Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement; Changes to the Open Season Enrollment Period Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Maritime Administration (MARAD) announces that it is changing the open season enrollment procedures for U.S.-flag vessel operators wishing to enroll their vessels in the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement (VISA) program. Specifically, MARAD will no longer announce an annual open season for enrollment. MARAD invites interested U.S.-flag vessel operators that are not currently in the program to apply at any time throughout the year. The open enrollment change will be in line with new requirements in the Department of Defense (DOD) VISA contingency contract. Any U.S.-flag vessel operator organized under the laws of a state of the United States or the District of Columbia, and who is able and willing to commit militarily useful sealift assets and assume the related consequential risks of commercial disruption, may be eligible to participate in the VISA program. The mission of VISA is to provide commercial sealift and intermodal shipping services and systems, including access to vessels, vessel space, intermodal systems and equipment, terminal facilities, and related management services, to the DOD, as necessary, to meet national defense contingency requirements or national emergencies. Carriers enrolled in the VISA program provide DOD with assured access to such services during contingencies. In return for their VISA commitment, DOD gives VISA SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\31JAN1.SGM 31JAN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 21 / Wednesday, January 31, 2018 / Notices sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES participants priority for peacetime cargos. DATES: VISA program applications may be submitted at any time. ADDRESSES: Submit applications and questions related to this notice to William G. McDonald, Director, Office of Sealift Support, U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone (202) 366–0688; Fax (202) 366–5904. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William G. McDonald, Director, Office of Sealift Support, U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone (202) 366–0688; Fax (202) 366–5904, electronic mail to william.g.mcdonald@dot.gov or visit http://www.marad.dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The VISA program was established pursuant to Sec. 708 of the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (DPA) (50 U.S.C. 4558). The VISA program was created to provide for voluntary agreements for emergency preparedness programs. Pursuant to the DPA, voluntary agreements for preparedness programs, including the VISA program expire five (5) years after the date they became effective. The VISA program is open to U.S.-flag vessel operators of oceangoing militarily useful vessels, to include tugs and barges. An operator is defined as an owner or bareboat charterer of a vessel. Tug enrollment alone does not satisfy VISA eligibility. Barge enrollment alone does not satisfy VISA eligibility. Operators include vessel owners and bareboat charter operators if satisfactory signed agreements are in place committing the assets of the owner to VISA. Voyage and space charterers are not considered U.S.-flag vessel operators for purposes of VISA eligibility. VISA Program The VISA program provides for the staged, time-phased availability of participants’ shipping services/systems through pre-negotiated contracts between the Government and participants. Such arrangements are jointly planned with the MARAD, U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), and participants in peacetime to allow effective and best valued use of commercial sealift capacity, provide DOD assured contingency access, and to minimize commercial disruption. There are three time-phased stages in the event of VISA activation. VISA VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:36 Jan 30, 2018 Jkt 244001 Stages I and II provide for prenegotiated contracts between DOD and participants to provide sealift capacity to meet all projected DOD contingency requirements. These contracts are executed in accordance with approved DOD contracting methodologies. VISA Stage III provides for additional capacity to DOD when Stages I and II commitments or volunteered capacity are insufficient to meet contingency requirements, and adequate shipping services from non-participants are not available through established DOD contracting practices or U.S. Government treaty agreements. Change to Enrollment Process Historically, the VISA program’s annual open season enrollment period was tied to DOD’s peacetime cargo contracting cycle which was based on the Government’s fiscal year (October 1 through September 30) and VISA participants’ capacity commitments were locked in for an annual period. Currently, DOD’s new contract requirements have been revised and state that if any change in a VISA participant’s U.S.-flag fleet is necessary during the period of their contract, a minimum 30-day notice must be provided to USTRANSCOM identifying the change. Therefore, MARAD is no longer required to announce an annual open season because DOD modifies VISA participants’ capacity commitments and contingency contracts throughout the year. This new process adds efficiency and eliminates redundancy. Advantages of Peacetime Participation In return for their VISA commitment, DOD awards peacetime cargo contracts to VISA participants on a priority basis. Award of DOD cargoes to meet DOD peacetime and contingency requirements is made on the basis of the following priorities: U.S.-flag vessel capacity operated by VISA participants and U.S.-flag Vessel Sharing Agreement (VSA) capacity held by VISA participants; U.S.-flag vessel capacity operated by non-participants; combination U.S.-flag/foreign-flag vessel capacity operated by VISA participants, and combination U.S.-flag/foreign-flag VSA capacity held by VISA participants; combination U.S.-flag/ foreign-flag vessel capacity operated by non-participants; U.S.-owned or operated foreign-flag vessel capacity and VSA capacity held by VISA participants; U.S.-owned or operated foreign-flag vessel capacity and VSA capacity held by non-participants; and foreign-owned or operated foreign-flag vessel capacity of non-participants. PO 00000 Frm 00091 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 4553 Participation Applicants must provide satisfactory evidence that the vessels being committed to the VISA program are operational and are intended to be operated by the applicant in the carriage of commercial or government preference cargoes. Operator is defined as an ocean common carrier or contract carrier that owns, controls or manages vessels by which ocean transportation is provided. While vessel brokers, freight forwarders, and agents play an important role as a conduit to locate and secure appropriate vessels for the carriage of DOD cargo, they are not eligible to participate in the VISA program due to lack of requisite vessel ownership or operation. Commitment Any U.S.-flag vessel operator desiring to receive priority consideration for DOD peacetime contracts must enroll 100% of their entire U.S.-flag militarily useful capacity and associated services to the VISA program and commit no less than 50 percent of its total U.S.-flag capacity in Stage III of the VISA program. Participants operating vessels in international trade may receive top tier consideration in the award of DOD peacetime contracts by committing the minimum percentages of capacity to all three stages of VISA or bottom tier consideration by committing the minimum percentage of capacity to only Stage III of VISA. USTRANSCOM and MARAD will coordinate to ensure that the amount of sealift assets committed to Stages I and II will not have an adverse national economic impact. To minimize domestic commercial disruption, participants operating vessels exclusively in the domestic Jones Act trades are not required to commit the capacity of those U.S. domestic trading vessels to VISA Stages I and II. Overall VISA commitment requirements are based on annual enrollment. In order to protect a U.S.-flag vessel operator’s market share during contingency activation, VISA allows participants to join with other vessel operators in Carrier Coordination Agreements (CCAs) to satisfy commercial or DOD requirements. VISA provides a defense against antitrust laws in accordance with the DPA. CCAs must be submitted to MARAD for coordination with the Department of Justice for approval, before they can be utilized. Vessel Position Reporting If VISA applicants have the capability to track their vessels, they must include the tracking system used in their VISA E:\FR\FM\31JAN1.SGM 31JAN1 4554 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 21 / Wednesday, January 31, 2018 / Notices application. Such applicants are required to provide MARAD access to their vessel tracking systems upon approval of their VISA application. If VISA applicants do not have a tracking system, they must indicate this in their VISA application. The VISA program requires enrolled ships to comply with 46 CFR pt. 307, Establishment of Mandatory Position Reporting System for Vessels. Compensation In addition to receiving priority in the award of DOD peacetime cargo, a participant will receive compensation during contingency activation for that capacity activated under Stage I, II and III. The amount of compensation will depend on the Stage at which capacity is activated. During enrollment, each participant must select one of several compensation methodologies. The compensation methodology selection will be completed with USTRANSCOM resulting in prices in contingency contracts between DOD and the participant. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES Security Clearances All VISA applicants accepted for VISA participation, but which do not have a Facility Security Clearance (FCL), will be required to pursue the clearance process with the Defense Security Service (DSS). If the accepted applicant does not have a clearance, MARAD will initiate the clearance process with DSS. Participants must have a FCL and individual security clearances, at a minimum of SECRET level, for key personnel in order for them to participate in the VISA Joint Planning Advisory Group (JPAG) meetings and to meet VISA contingency contract obligations. One of the objectives of the JPAG is to provide the USTRANSCOM, MARAD, and VISA participants a planning forum to analyze DOD contingency sealift/intermodal service and resource requirements against industry commitments. JPAG meetings are often SECRET classified sessions. Eligibility for VISA participation will be terminated if an applicant is rejected for a facility clearance or if it fails to progress in a timely manner in the clearance process. Application for VISA Program Participation New applicants may apply to participate by obtaining a VISA application package (Form MA–1020 (OMB Approval No. 2133–0532)) from the Director, Office of Sealift Support. Form MA–1020 includes instructions for completing and submitting the application, blank VISA Application VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:36 Jan 30, 2018 Jkt 244001 forms and a request for information regarding the operations and U.S. citizenship of the applicant company. A copy of the VISA document as published in the Federal Register on October 29, 2014, will also be provided with the package. This information is needed in order to assist MARAD in making a determination of the applicant’s eligibility. An applicant company must provide an affidavit that demonstrates that the company is qualified to document a vessel under 46 U.S.C. 12103, and that it owns, or bareboat charters and controls, oceangoing, militarily useful vessel(s) for purposes of committing assets to the VISA program. Applicants must provide the following: U.S. citizenship documentation; copy of their Articles of Incorporation and bylaws; copies of loadline documents from a recognized classification society to validate oceangoing vessel capability; U.S. Coast Guard Certificates of Documentation for all vessels in their fleet; copy of bareboat charters, if applicable, valid through the period of enrollment, which state that the owner will not interfere with the charterer’s obligation to commit chartered vessel(s) to the VISA program for the duration of the charter; and copy of time charters, valid through the period of enrollment, for tug services to barge operators, if sufficient tug service is not owned or bareboat chartered by the VISA applicant. Barge operators must provide evidence to MARAD that tug service of sufficient horsepower will be available for all barges enrolled in the VISA program. Once MARAD has reviewed the application and determined VISA eligibility, MARAD will sign the VISA application document which completes the eligibility phase of the VISA enrollment process. Approved VISA participants will be responsible for ensuring that information submitted with their application remains up to date beyond the approval process. If charter agreements are due to expire, participants must provide MARAD with charters that extend the charter duration for another 12 months or longer. After VISA eligibility is approved by MARAD, approved applicants are required to execute a VISA Contingency Contract with USTRANSCOM. The USTRANSCOM VISA Contingency Contract will specify the following: Participant’s Stage III commitment, and appropriate Stage I and/or II commitments for the period of performance; Drytime Contingency terms and conditions; and Liner Contingency terms and conditions, if applicable. If any change is expected in PO 00000 Frm 00092 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the Contractor’s U.S. flag fleet during the period of the applicable VISA Contingency Contract, a minimum 30day notice shall be provided to MARAD and USTRANSCOM identifying the change and to alter the VISA Capacity Commitment indicated on Attachment 1 of the VISA Contingency Contract. Execution of the USTRANSCOM VISA Contingency Contract completes the enrollment process and establishes the approved applicant as a VISA Participant. The Maritime Administration reserves the right to revalidate all eligibility requirements without notice. USTRANSCOM reserves the right to revalidate eligibility for VISA priority for DOD business at any time without notice. Authority: 49 CFR 1.92, 1.93. * * * * * By Order of the Maritime Administrator. Dated: January 26, 2018. T. Mitchell Hudson, Jr., Secretary, Maritime Administration. [FR Doc. 2018–01851 Filed 1–30–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–81–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Maritime Administration [Docket No. MARAD–2018–0013] Requested Administrative Waiver of the Coastwise Trade Laws: Vessel SNOCKERED; Invitation for Public Comments Maritime Administration, DOT. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: The Secretary of Transportation, as represented by the Maritime Administration (MARAD), is authorized to grant waivers of the U.S.build requirement of the coastwise laws under certain circumstances. A request for such a waiver has been received by MARAD. The vessel, and a brief description of the proposed service, is listed below. DATES: Submit comments on or before March 2, 2018. ADDRESSES: Comments should refer to docket number MARAD–2018–0013. Written comments may be submitted by hand or by mail to the Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M–30, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. You may also send comments electronically via the internet at http://www.regulations.gov. All comments will become part of this docket and will be available for SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\31JAN1.SGM 31JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 21 (Wednesday, January 31, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4552-4554]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-01851]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Maritime Administration


Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement; Changes to the Open 
Season Enrollment Period

AGENCY: Maritime Administration, Department of Transportation.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Maritime Administration (MARAD) announces that it is 
changing the open season enrollment procedures for U.S.-flag vessel 
operators wishing to enroll their vessels in the Voluntary Intermodal 
Sealift Agreement (VISA) program. Specifically, MARAD will no longer 
announce an annual open season for enrollment. MARAD invites interested 
U.S.-flag vessel operators that are not currently in the program to 
apply at any time throughout the year. The open enrollment change will 
be in line with new requirements in the Department of Defense (DOD) 
VISA contingency contract.
    Any U.S.-flag vessel operator organized under the laws of a state 
of the United States or the District of Columbia, and who is able and 
willing to commit militarily useful sealift assets and assume the 
related consequential risks of commercial disruption, may be eligible 
to participate in the VISA program.
    The mission of VISA is to provide commercial sealift and intermodal 
shipping services and systems, including access to vessels, vessel 
space, intermodal systems and equipment, terminal facilities, and 
related management services, to the DOD, as necessary, to meet national 
defense contingency requirements or national emergencies. Carriers 
enrolled in the VISA program provide DOD with assured access to such 
services during contingencies. In return for their VISA commitment, DOD 
gives VISA

[[Page 4553]]

participants priority for peacetime cargos.

DATES: VISA program applications may be submitted at any time.

ADDRESSES: Submit applications and questions related to this notice to 
William G. McDonald, Director, Office of Sealift Support, U.S. 
Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone (202) 366-0688; Fax (202) 
366-5904.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William G. McDonald, Director, Office 
of Sealift Support, U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590. 
Telephone (202) 366-0688; Fax (202) 366-5904, electronic mail to 
[email protected] or visit http://www.marad.dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The VISA program was established pursuant to 
Sec. 708 of the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (DPA) (50 
U.S.C. 4558). The VISA program was created to provide for voluntary 
agreements for emergency preparedness programs. Pursuant to the DPA, 
voluntary agreements for preparedness programs, including the VISA 
program expire five (5) years after the date they became effective.
    The VISA program is open to U.S.-flag vessel operators of 
oceangoing militarily useful vessels, to include tugs and barges. An 
operator is defined as an owner or bareboat charterer of a vessel. Tug 
enrollment alone does not satisfy VISA eligibility. Barge enrollment 
alone does not satisfy VISA eligibility. Operators include vessel 
owners and bareboat charter operators if satisfactory signed agreements 
are in place committing the assets of the owner to VISA. Voyage and 
space charterers are not considered U.S.-flag vessel operators for 
purposes of VISA eligibility.

VISA Program

    The VISA program provides for the staged, time-phased availability 
of participants' shipping services/systems through pre-negotiated 
contracts between the Government and participants. Such arrangements 
are jointly planned with the MARAD, U.S. Transportation Command 
(USTRANSCOM), and participants in peacetime to allow effective and best 
valued use of commercial sealift capacity, provide DOD assured 
contingency access, and to minimize commercial disruption.
    There are three time-phased stages in the event of VISA activation. 
VISA Stages I and II provide for pre-negotiated contracts between DOD 
and participants to provide sealift capacity to meet all projected DOD 
contingency requirements. These contracts are executed in accordance 
with approved DOD contracting methodologies. VISA Stage III provides 
for additional capacity to DOD when Stages I and II commitments or 
volunteered capacity are insufficient to meet contingency requirements, 
and adequate shipping services from non-participants are not available 
through established DOD contracting practices or U.S. Government treaty 
agreements.

Change to Enrollment Process

    Historically, the VISA program's annual open season enrollment 
period was tied to DOD's peacetime cargo contracting cycle which was 
based on the Government's fiscal year (October 1 through September 30) 
and VISA participants' capacity commitments were locked in for an 
annual period. Currently, DOD's new contract requirements have been 
revised and state that if any change in a VISA participant's U.S.-flag 
fleet is necessary during the period of their contract, a minimum 30-
day notice must be provided to USTRANSCOM identifying the change. 
Therefore, MARAD is no longer required to announce an annual open 
season because DOD modifies VISA participants' capacity commitments and 
contingency contracts throughout the year. This new process adds 
efficiency and eliminates redundancy.

Advantages of Peacetime Participation

    In return for their VISA commitment, DOD awards peacetime cargo 
contracts to VISA participants on a priority basis. Award of DOD 
cargoes to meet DOD peacetime and contingency requirements is made on 
the basis of the following priorities: U.S.-flag vessel capacity 
operated by VISA participants and U.S.-flag Vessel Sharing Agreement 
(VSA) capacity held by VISA participants; U.S.-flag vessel capacity 
operated by non-participants; combination U.S.-flag/foreign-flag vessel 
capacity operated by VISA participants, and combination U.S.-flag/
foreign-flag VSA capacity held by VISA participants; combination U.S.-
flag/foreign-flag vessel capacity operated by non-participants; U.S.-
owned or operated foreign-flag vessel capacity and VSA capacity held by 
VISA participants; U.S.-owned or operated foreign-flag vessel capacity 
and VSA capacity held by non-participants; and foreign-owned or 
operated foreign-flag vessel capacity of non-participants.

Participation

    Applicants must provide satisfactory evidence that the vessels 
being committed to the VISA program are operational and are intended to 
be operated by the applicant in the carriage of commercial or 
government preference cargoes. Operator is defined as an ocean common 
carrier or contract carrier that owns, controls or manages vessels by 
which ocean transportation is provided. While vessel brokers, freight 
forwarders, and agents play an important role as a conduit to locate 
and secure appropriate vessels for the carriage of DOD cargo, they are 
not eligible to participate in the VISA program due to lack of 
requisite vessel ownership or operation.

Commitment

    Any U.S.-flag vessel operator desiring to receive priority 
consideration for DOD peacetime contracts must enroll 100% of their 
entire U.S.-flag militarily useful capacity and associated services to 
the VISA program and commit no less than 50 percent of its total U.S.-
flag capacity in Stage III of the VISA program. Participants operating 
vessels in international trade may receive top tier consideration in 
the award of DOD peacetime contracts by committing the minimum 
percentages of capacity to all three stages of VISA or bottom tier 
consideration by committing the minimum percentage of capacity to only 
Stage III of VISA. USTRANSCOM and MARAD will coordinate to ensure that 
the amount of sealift assets committed to Stages I and II will not have 
an adverse national economic impact. To minimize domestic commercial 
disruption, participants operating vessels exclusively in the domestic 
Jones Act trades are not required to commit the capacity of those U.S. 
domestic trading vessels to VISA Stages I and II. Overall VISA 
commitment requirements are based on annual enrollment.
    In order to protect a U.S.-flag vessel operator's market share 
during contingency activation, VISA allows participants to join with 
other vessel operators in Carrier Coordination Agreements (CCAs) to 
satisfy commercial or DOD requirements. VISA provides a defense against 
antitrust laws in accordance with the DPA. CCAs must be submitted to 
MARAD for coordination with the Department of Justice for approval, 
before they can be utilized.

Vessel Position Reporting

    If VISA applicants have the capability to track their vessels, they 
must include the tracking system used in their VISA

[[Page 4554]]

application. Such applicants are required to provide MARAD access to 
their vessel tracking systems upon approval of their VISA application. 
If VISA applicants do not have a tracking system, they must indicate 
this in their VISA application. The VISA program requires enrolled 
ships to comply with 46 CFR pt. 307, Establishment of Mandatory 
Position Reporting System for Vessels.

Compensation

    In addition to receiving priority in the award of DOD peacetime 
cargo, a participant will receive compensation during contingency 
activation for that capacity activated under Stage I, II and III. The 
amount of compensation will depend on the Stage at which capacity is 
activated. During enrollment, each participant must select one of 
several compensation methodologies. The compensation methodology 
selection will be completed with USTRANSCOM resulting in prices in 
contingency contracts between DOD and the participant.

Security Clearances

    All VISA applicants accepted for VISA participation, but which do 
not have a Facility Security Clearance (FCL), will be required to 
pursue the clearance process with the Defense Security Service (DSS). 
If the accepted applicant does not have a clearance, MARAD will 
initiate the clearance process with DSS. Participants must have a FCL 
and individual security clearances, at a minimum of SECRET level, for 
key personnel in order for them to participate in the VISA Joint 
Planning Advisory Group (JPAG) meetings and to meet VISA contingency 
contract obligations. One of the objectives of the JPAG is to provide 
the USTRANSCOM, MARAD, and VISA participants a planning forum to 
analyze DOD contingency sealift/intermodal service and resource 
requirements against industry commitments. JPAG meetings are often 
SECRET classified sessions. Eligibility for VISA participation will be 
terminated if an applicant is rejected for a facility clearance or if 
it fails to progress in a timely manner in the clearance process.

Application for VISA Program Participation

    New applicants may apply to participate by obtaining a VISA 
application package (Form MA-1020 (OMB Approval No. 2133-0532)) from 
the Director, Office of Sealift Support. Form MA-1020 includes 
instructions for completing and submitting the application, blank VISA 
Application forms and a request for information regarding the 
operations and U.S. citizenship of the applicant company. A copy of the 
VISA document as published in the Federal Register on October 29, 2014, 
will also be provided with the package. This information is needed in 
order to assist MARAD in making a determination of the applicant's 
eligibility. An applicant company must provide an affidavit that 
demonstrates that the company is qualified to document a vessel under 
46 U.S.C. 12103, and that it owns, or bareboat charters and controls, 
oceangoing, militarily useful vessel(s) for purposes of committing 
assets to the VISA program.
    Applicants must provide the following: U.S. citizenship 
documentation; copy of their Articles of Incorporation and bylaws; 
copies of loadline documents from a recognized classification society 
to validate oceangoing vessel capability; U.S. Coast Guard Certificates 
of Documentation for all vessels in their fleet; copy of bareboat 
charters, if applicable, valid through the period of enrollment, which 
state that the owner will not interfere with the charterer's obligation 
to commit chartered vessel(s) to the VISA program for the duration of 
the charter; and copy of time charters, valid through the period of 
enrollment, for tug services to barge operators, if sufficient tug 
service is not owned or bareboat chartered by the VISA applicant. Barge 
operators must provide evidence to MARAD that tug service of sufficient 
horsepower will be available for all barges enrolled in the VISA 
program.
    Once MARAD has reviewed the application and determined VISA 
eligibility, MARAD will sign the VISA application document which 
completes the eligibility phase of the VISA enrollment process. 
Approved VISA participants will be responsible for ensuring that 
information submitted with their application remains up to date beyond 
the approval process. If charter agreements are due to expire, 
participants must provide MARAD with charters that extend the charter 
duration for another 12 months or longer.
    After VISA eligibility is approved by MARAD, approved applicants 
are required to execute a VISA Contingency Contract with USTRANSCOM. 
The USTRANSCOM VISA Contingency Contract will specify the following: 
Participant's Stage III commitment, and appropriate Stage I and/or II 
commitments for the period of performance; Drytime Contingency terms 
and conditions; and Liner Contingency terms and conditions, if 
applicable. If any change is expected in the Contractor's U.S. flag 
fleet during the period of the applicable VISA Contingency Contract, a 
minimum 30-day notice shall be provided to MARAD and USTRANSCOM 
identifying the change and to alter the VISA Capacity Commitment 
indicated on Attachment 1 of the VISA Contingency Contract.
    Execution of the USTRANSCOM VISA Contingency Contract completes the 
enrollment process and establishes the approved applicant as a VISA 
Participant. The Maritime Administration reserves the right to 
revalidate all eligibility requirements without notice. USTRANSCOM 
reserves the right to revalidate eligibility for VISA priority for DOD 
business at any time without notice.

    Authority:  49 CFR 1.92, 1.93.
* * * * *

    By Order of the Maritime Administrator.

    Dated: January 26, 2018.
T. Mitchell Hudson, Jr.,
Secretary, Maritime Administration.
[FR Doc. 2018-01851 Filed 1-30-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-81-P