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HQ 084959

October 5, 1989

CLA-2 CO:R:CV:G: 084959 JLV (NY 841222)


TARIFF NO.: 7308.90.90

Steven B. Lehat, Esq.
Sheldon & Mak
201 South Lake Avenue, Suite 800
Pasadena, California 91101

RE: Offshore drilling and production platform jacket

Dear Mr. Lehat:

In a letter of May 12, 1989, as supplemented in part by a letter of May 25, 1989, you request on behalf of your client, Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd., a ruling on the tariff classification of offshore platform jackets, main piles, and certain "shiploose" articles for two offshore platforms, the Harmony and Heritage. The classification of this merchandise was addressed in our ruling of September 15, 1989 (file 085145), copy enclosed. This decision, however, addresses the issue concerning the classification of the jacket as a vessel.


Each jacket is a one-piece construction described as an 8-legged, pile founded structure for the support of an offshore drilling and production platform. It is X-braced and contains pre-installed curved conductors, conductor guides, and other structural components necessary to complete the structural integrity of the jacket. The jacket will support the topside components and the machinery for the drilling and production operations.

The jackets are transported by barge to location. Each jacket contains instrumentation and flotation devices in the legs to permit controlled submersion. The legs and skirt pile sleeves are designed with "buoyancy" compartments which will allow the jacket to float in a more or less horizontal
position after it slides off the barge. The controlled submerging is performed by selective flooding of these compartments so that the jacket is positioned vertically at the desired location. Once the jacket is positioned, the main piles (which also contain closure diaphragms to reduce the load until driven into the seabed) are driven through the legs to permanently anchor and complete the structural base for the offshore platform.

You suggest that the jackets possess the essential character of submersible production platforms and, therefore, are classified as submersible platforms in subheading 8905.20.00, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), and dutiable at a free rate. You reach this conclusion because the jackets meet the description of "submersible platforms" in the Explanatory Notes (EN) for heading 8905: they float, can be towed, are submerged by controlled flooding of the legs, and have piles which penetrate more or less deeply into the seabed.


Are the platform jackets classifiable under the HTSUSA as submersible platforms?


The relevant language in EN 89.05(C) is as follows:

(C) Floating or submersible drilling or production platforms.

Such platforms are generally designed for the discovery or exploitation of off-shore deposits of oil or natural gas. Apart from the equipment required for drilling or production, such as derricks, cranes, pumps, cementing units, silos, etc., these platforms have living quarters for the personnel.

These platforms, which are towed or in some cases self-propelled to the exploration or production site and are sometimes capable of being floated from one site to another, may be divided into the following main groups:

(2) Submersible platforms, the substructures of which are submerged over the work sites with their ballast tanks resting on the sea
bed in order to provide a high degree of stability to the working platform which is kept above the water level. The ballast tanks may have skirts or piles which penetrate more or less deeply into the sea bed.

Fixed platforms used for the discovery or exploitation of off-shore deposits of oil or natural gas, which are neither floating nor submersible, are excluded from this heading (heading 84.30).

The mere fact that the jackets in issue are capable of flotation and, if so desired, could be towed to location, is not sufficient evidence that the jackets are submersible platforms. The description of a submersible platform addresses an article that is complete with topside or working platform components. There is no evidence that the jackets in issue, when completed in this manner, are designed with "ballast" tanks that would permit them to be towed to location. The design of the "tanks" in the legs and skirts is to permit the jackets alone to be positioned and subsequently fixed to a location. In fact, once the jackets are lowered, the "ballast" tanks become non-existant, and the construction of the topside components takes place.

The design, construction, and function of each jacket are that of a base for a fixed, offshore drilling and production platform. This type of offshore platform is excluded from classification in heading 8905.


The jackets are not submersible platforms. They are properly classified as structures in subheading 7308.90.90, HTSUSA. Our ruling letter of September 15, 1989 (file 085145), is affirmed on the classification of these jackets.


John Durant, Director

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