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HQ 084006

May 4, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:C:G 084006 VEA


TARIFF NO.: 8905.10.10

Ms. Taina Ranta
Lannen Konepaja
SF-27820 Iso-Vimma (Saky La)

RE: Classification of multipurpose vessel (Watermaster)

Dear Ms. Ranta:

In a letter dated January 6, 1989, you requested a ruling on the tariff classification of the Watermaster, a multipurpose vessel, imported from Finland under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS).


The literature submitted with the ruling request states that the Watermaster is a multipurpose vessel designed to preserve, restore, and rehabilitate lakes and inland waterways.

The Watermaster performs tasks in three different areas, environmental management, construction, and maintenance of waterways for leisure-related activities. In the area of environmental management, the watermaster rehabilitates eutrophic rivers and lakes, and provides landscaping and flood control. It also performs such technical work as removing pulp fibers and sunken logs, laying underwater pipe and cable, managing industrial water areas, reservoirs, and special civil engineering water projects. The Watermaster is also designed to perform several functions related to maintaining waterways for leisure activities. These include: constructing boating routes, channels and marinas, rehabilitating bathing beaches, and improving shorelines and banks.

The vessel has a steel frame. It comes with several attachments, including a pump and hoe bucket, discharge pipes, a spout, and digger and inspection equipment. It is self- propelled by a diesel engine which operates a propeller
through a transmission. The dimensions of the Watermaster are as follows. The vessel is 10.2m in length; 3.2m in width and weighs 14.1 tons.

You submit that the Watermaster should be classified in subheading 8905.10.00 as a dredging vessel, the navigability of which is of secondary significance compared to its main use, under the HTS. The following is our decision on the issue.


Whether the Watermaster is properly classifiable as a dredger or other vessel the navigability of which is subsidiary to its function under heading 8905, subheading 8905.90.50, or subheading 8905.10.00, and subject to a free rate of duty.


The General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's) govern classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States. GRI 1 provides, "for legal purposes, classification shall be determined according to the terms of the heading and any relative section or chapter notes, and provided such headings or notes do not otherwise require, according to the following provisions...."

The relevant heading and subheadings at issue in this case provide:

8905 Light-vessels, fire-floats, dredgers, floating cranes, and other vessels the navigability of which is subsidiary to their main function; floating docks; floating or submersible drilling or production platforms:

8905.10.00 Dredgers

8905.90.50 Other

According to GRI 1, in order to be classified in 8905, an article must (1) be a vessel, such as a light-vessel, fire- float, dredger, floating crane, or other vessel, and (2) be the type of vessel for which navigability is subsidiary to its main function.

The article at issue in this case meets these criteria. It qualifies as a dredger since its primary function is removing earth or objects from the bed of a body of water. Also, the vessel's navigable function, i.e. its use as a means of transportation over water, is secondary to its main function. The Watermaster primarily functions as a work machine and is designed to perform certain work-related functions to the body of water on which it is placed, or to the surrounding land areas. These functions include removing pulp fibres and sunken logs, managing industrial water areas and reservoirs, constructing boating routes, channels, and marinas, rehabilitating bathing beaches, and improving shorelines and banks. Although the Watermaster is also capable of performing other secondary or related functions, such as laying underwater pipe and cable, it is primarily a dredging vessel.

You should be aware that the coastwise laws (i.e., 46 U.S.C. App. 883, 289, 316(a), and 316(d)) and the law prohibiting the use of a foreign-built dredge in the United States (i.e., 46 U.S.C. App. 292) may affect the permissible use of the Watermaster. If you have further questions in this regard, we suggest that you write to: Mr. B. James Fritz, Chief, Carrier Rulings Branch, U.S. Customs Service, Room 2137, 1301 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 22209.


The Watermaster is properly classifiable as a dredger the navigability of which is subsidary to its main function, in heading 8905, subheading 8905.10.00 and subject to a free rate of duty.


John Durant, Director

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