(a) If a person makes a contract secured by, or on the credit of, a vessel covered by a mortgage filed or recorded under this chapter and sustains a monetary loss because the mortgagor or the master or other individual in charge of the vessel does not comply with a requirement imposed on the mortgagor, master, or individual under this chapter, the mortgagor is liable for the loss.
(b) A civil action may be brought to recover for losses referred to in subsection (a) of this section. The district courts have original jurisdiction of the action, regardless of the amount in controversy or the citizenship of the parties. If the plaintiff prevails, the court shall award costs and attorney fees to the plaintiff.
|Revised section||Source section (U.S. Code)|
Section 31304 imposes liability on the mortgagor if the mortgagor, master, or other individual in charge of the vessel does not comply with the statutory requirements. A civil action may be brought in a district court of the United States for losses incurred. If the plaintiff prevails, the court shall award costs and attorneys fees to the plaintiff. This section makes two substantive changes to law. First, is the broadening of its coverage from documented vessels covered by a preferred mortgage to any vessel covered by a mortgage that is filed or recorded under the chapter. The second substantive change repeals the liability on the United States Government for losses caused because the Secretary did not comply with statutory requirements. This is covered by the Federal Tort Claims Act due to the nondiscretionary responsibility of the Secretary.
Section effective Jan. 1, 1989, with certain exceptions and qualifications, see section 107 of Pub. L. 100–710, set out as a note under section 31301 of this title.
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