(a) An investigation to determine the existence of adverse conditions as described in §555.3 may be initiated by the Commission on its own motion or on the petition of any person pursuant to §555.4. An investigation shall be considered to have been initiated for the purpose of the time limits imposed by the Foreign Shipping Practices Act of 1988 upon the publication in the Federal Register of the Commission's notice of investigation, which shall announce the initiation of the proceeding upon either the Commission's own motion or the filing of a petition.

(b) The provisions of part 502 of this chapter (Rules of Practice and Procedure) shall not apply to this part except for those provisions governing ex parte communications (§502.11 of this chapter) and except as the Commission may otherwise determine by order. The precise procedures and timetables for participation in investigations initiated under this part will be established on an ad hoc basis as appropriate and set forth in the notice. Proceedings may include oral evidentiary hearings, but only when the Commission determines that there are likely to be genuine issues of material fact that cannot be resolved on the basis of written submissions, or that the nature of the matter in issue is such that an oral hearing and cross-examination are necessary for the development of an adequate record. In any event, investigations initiated under this part shall proceed expeditiously, consistent with due process, to conform with the time limits specified in the Foreign Shipping Practices Act and to identify promptly the conditions described in §555.3 of this part.

(c) Upon initiation of an investigation, interested persons will be given the opportunity to participate in the proceeding pursuant to the procedures set forth in the notice. Submissions filed in response to a notice of investigation may include written data and statistics, views, and legal arguments. Factual information submitted shall be certified under oath. An original and 15 copies of such submissions will be filed with the Secretary, Federal Maritime Commission, Washington, DC 20573. Persons who receive information requests from the Commission pursuant to §555.6 of this part are not precluded from filing additional voluntary submissions in accordance with this paragraph.

(d) An investigation shall be completed and a decision rendered within 120 days after it has commenced as defined in paragraph (a) of this section, unless the Commission determines that an additional 90-day period is necessary in order to obtain sufficient information on which to render a decision. When the Commission determines to extend the investigation period for an additional 90 days, it shall issue a notice clearly stating the reasons therefor.

[54 FR 11533, Mar. 21, 1989. Redesignated at 64 FR 8010, Feb. 18, 1999, and amended at 67 FR 39862, June 11, 2002; 74 FR 50733, Oct. 1, 2009]

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