FALCON GROUP SEEKS LEEWAY WITH SUBSIDY

FALCON GROUP SEEKS LEEWAY WITH SUBSIDY

A group of subsidized U.S.-flag bulk carriers wants the Maritime Administration to allow it more latitude in using its subsidy.

The companies - Falcon Carriers Inc., Equity Carriers Inc., Equity Carriers I Inc., Equity Carriers III Inc., Asco-Falcon II Shipping Co. - sought the change with the assurance that it would not increase the government's operating subsidy expenditures.That assurance was necessary because of the Marad policy, dating back to 1981, of entering no more subsidy contracts.

Equity I, Equity III and Asco-Falcon now operate three dry bulk carriers under subsidy - Star of Texas, Pride of Texas and Spirit of Texas.

They proposed that the Falcon group be allowed to use its 1983 and 1984- built product tankers Falcon Leader and Falcon Champion, with subsidy.

They would be operated instead of two of the bulkers so that Marad still would only be liable for no more subsidy than for three vessels a year as at present.

Five-year charters to the Military Sealift Command will expire in August in the case of Falcon Leader and in January 1989 in that of Falcon Champion, a notice explained.

MSC, however, has notified Falcon that it probably will not wish to enter into renewal negotiations, Marad said.

The agency gave interested parties until March 31 to comment on the proposal.