(a) Operation of Vessel.—An operating agreement under this chapter shall require that, during the period the vessel covered by the agreement is operating under the agreement the vessel shall—
(1) be operated in the United States foreign commerce, mixed United States foreign commerce and domestic trade allowed under a registry endorsement issued under section 12111 of this title, in foreign-to-foreign commerce, or under a charter to the United States;
(2) not be operated in the coastwise trade except as described in paragraph (1); and
(3) 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 a payment to the program participant in accordance with section 53406.
(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 agreement to the extent of actual appropriations.
(c) Documentation Requirement.—Each vessel covered by the operating agreement, including an agreement terminated under section 53404(c)(2), shall remain documented under chapter 121 of this title until the date the operating agreement would terminate according to its terms.
(d) National Security Requirements.—
(1) In general.—A program participant with respect to an operating agreement, including an agreement terminated under section 53404(c)(2), shall continue to be bound by the provisions of section 53407 until the date the operating agreement would terminate according to its terms.
(2) Emergency preparedness agreement.—All terms and conditions of an Emergency Preparedness Agreement entered into under section 53407 shall remain in effect until the date the operating agreement would terminate according to its terms, except that the terms of such Emergency Preparedness Agreement may be modified by the mutual consent of the program participant, the Secretary of Transportation, and the Secretary of Defense.
(e) Transfer of Operating Agreements.—A program participant may transfer an operating agreement (including all rights and obligations under the agreement) to any person that is eligible to enter into that operating agreement under this chapter, if the Secretary of Transportation and the Secretary of Defense determine that the transfer is in the best interests of the United States.
(f) Replacement of Vessels Covered by Agreements.—A program participant may replace the vessel with another vessel that is eligible to be included in the Fleet under section 53402(b), if the Secretary of Transportation, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, approves the replacement of the vessel. No court shall have jurisdiction to review a decision by the Secretary of Transportation or the Secretary of Defense pertaining to the replacement of a vessel under this section.