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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Transferring U.S. Flag Vessels to Foreign Ownership (Reflagging)

The Program

Under 46 U.S.C. § 56101, U.S. documented vessels 1,000 gross tons and over require Maritime Administration approval to be transferred to foreign ownership, flag and/or registry. Vessels 3,000 gross tons and over are subject to additional financial terms and conditions contained in 46 CFR Part 221. In either case, the Maritime Administration requires a formal application (MA-29) with supporting documentation, including an original U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Ownership (CG-1330).

Application Fee

The Maritime Administration charges the following fees to process the MA-29 application: 

  • Vessels at or above 3,000 gross tons: $325.00
  • Vessels less than 3,000 gross tons: $170.00
  • Amendments to an existing contract: $260.00

Notice to Federal Register

The Maritime Administration changed its approval process for the Request for Transfer of Ownership, Registry, and Flag or Charter, Lease, or Mortgage of U.S. documented vessels (MA-29) to include notification to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the request. This notice is to advise applicants of the EPA’s 30-day processing delay so they can factor it into their business plans. The notice must also include a self-certification of accepted polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) quantities in applicant vessel per MARAD’s Federal Register Notice.

Application Process

1. Determine the vessel's gross tonnage and prepare a Cashier’s Check, Certified Check, Company Check or Money Order Payable to “Maritime Administration”

2. Complete the Vessel Transfer Application.

3. Determine the Presence of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) at Regulated Concentrations on Vessels (Ships) to be Reflagged. Consult EPA's “Technical Guidance for Determining the Presence of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) at Regulated Concentrations on Vessels (Ships) to be Reflagged” to make a well-informed self-certification.

4. Mail completed application(s), supporting documentation, and payments to:

Department of Transportation
Maritime Administration MAR-630
1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
W25-314, West Building
Washington, DC 20590

5. Publish a notice of the application request to the Federal Register.


For any assistance, or questions about any aspects of the reflagging process during current pandemic status please contact Deveeda Midgette or

Please submit MA-29's by email to


Passenger Vessel Charter 

On October 22, 2019, MARAD received a request, submitted on a confidential basis, from River 1, LLC (“River 1”) for MARAD confirmation that a time charter of a passenger vessel by Viking USA, LLC (“Viking USA”) for operation in the coastwise trade is subject to the general approval of 46 CFR 221.13(a). Click here for full details. 

MARAD received the following comments in response to the July 31, 2021, passenger vessel charter notice:

  1. American Cruise Lines Letter to MARAD re Time Charter Notice 3502(b) 
  2. July 30 “Passenger vessel charter” Document 
  3. MARAD Time Charter Comment Memorandum with Exhibits
  4. Passenger Vessel Time Charters Section 3502(b)
  5. Public Comments on Passenger Vessel Time Charters Section 3502(b)
  6. Passenger Vessel Charters_from Passenger Vessel Association
  7. US Cruise Operators Comments re MARAD Passenger Vessel Notice (005)

MARAD’s Response to Comments and Final Action Under Section 3502(b) of The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 Regarding the River 1, LLC Time Charter

River 1 3502(b) Final Action -- March 11, 2022

For questions on this action, please contact MARAD Public Affairs at 

Last updated: Friday, March 18, 2022