(a) Operation of Vessel.—An Operating Agreement under this chapter shall require that, during the period the vessel is operating under the Agreement, the vessel—
(1) shall be operated in the trade for Cable Services, or under a charter to the United States; and
(2) shall be documented under chapter 121 of this title.
(b) Annual Payments by the Secretary.—
(1) In general.—An Operating Agreement under this chapter shall require, subject to the availability of appropriations, that the Secretary make payment to the Contractor in accordance with section 53206.
(2) Operating agreement is an obligation of the united states government.—An Operating Agreement under this chapter constitutes a contractual obligation of the United States Government to pay the amounts provided for in the Operating Agreement to the extent of actual appropriations.
(c) Documentation Requirement.—Each vessel covered by an Operating Agreement (including an Agreement terminated under section 53204(c)(2)) shall remain documented under chapter 121 of this title, until the date the Operating Agreement would terminate according to its own terms.
(d) National Security Requirements.—
(1) In general.—A Contractor with respect to an Operating Agreement (including an Agreement terminated under section 53204(c)(2)) shall continue to be bound by the provisions of section 53207 until the date the Operating Agreement would terminate according to its terms.
(2) Contingency agreement with operating agency.—All terms and conditions of a Contingency Agreement entered into under section 53207 shall remain in effect until a date the Operating Agreement would terminate according to its terms, except that the terms of such Contingency Agreement may be modified by the mutual consent of the Contractor, and the Operating Agency.
(e) Transfer of Operating Agreements.—Operating Agreements shall not be transferrable by the Contractor.
(f) Replacement Vessel.—A Contractor may replace a vessel under an Operating Agreement with another vessel that is eligible to be included in the Fleet under section 53202(b), if the Secretary and the Operating Agency jointly determine that the replacement vessel meets national security requirements and approve the replacement.