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HQ 112665

May 26, 1993

VES-13-18-CO:R:IT:C 112665 DEC


Deputy Assistant Regional Commissioner
Classification and Value Branch
Attention: Regional Vessel Repair Liquidation Unit New York, New York 10048-0945

RE: Protest No. 1101-92-100598; Vessel Repair Entry No. C11- 0034380-0; M/V RAINBOW HOPE; Casualty; 19 U.S.C. 1466(d)(1).

Dear Sir:

This is in response to your memorandum dated March 31, 1993, transmitting the above referenced protest and supporting documentation for our review. Our ruling on this matter is set out below.


The M/V RAINBOW HOPE arrived at Salem, New Jersey, on November 27, 1991. An application seeking relief from vessel repair duties was filed on March 19, 1992. Relief was denied for insufficient evidentiary support to sustain a finding of a casualty. Customs denied the petition for relief for failure to provide satisfactory evidence of a casualty (Headquarters Ruling 112167 (May 20, 1992)).

The record reflects that on November 15, 1991, the RAINBOW HOPE, while engaged in cargo operations at Praia de Vatoria, Azores, experienced an on-board crane malfunction which prevented the reloading of its hatch covers. Since the vessel was required to properly secure its hatch covers prior to being put to sea to ensure its seaworthiness, a technician repaired the ship's crane. The protestant seeks remission of vessel repair duties based on a claim that these repairs were a result of a casualty.


Whether sufficient evidence has been submitted to demonstrate that the equipment malfunction constituted a casualty entitling the protestant to remission of vessel repair duties.


Title 19, United States Code, section 1466 provides, in paragraph (1), subsection (d), that duty may be remitted if good and sufficient evidence is furnished establishing that the vessel was compelled by stress of weather or other casualty to be put into a foreign port to make repairs to secure the safety and seaworthiness of the vessel to enable her to reach her port of destination.

The term "casualty" as it is used in the statute, has been interpreted as something which, like stress of weather, comes with unexpected force or violence, such as fire, explosion, or collision. Dollar Steamship Lines, Inc. v. United States, 5 Cust. Ct. 23, 29, C.D. 362 (1940). Consequently, a casualty, in the vessel repair context, arises from a similar identifiable event. Absent evidence of such an event, Customs considers the repair to have been necessitated by normal wear and tear. C.S.D. 89-95.

Upon a review of all of the evidence submitted, Customs finds no basis for granting relief. While the protestant has provided documentation revealing that the vessel's repairs were required due to its crane missing a cotterpin, no explanation of how or why the cotterpin was lost is presented. Under these circumstances, "good and sufficient" evidence of a casualty occurrence has not been provided. Accordingly, remission of vessel repair duties shall be denied.


After thorough review of the evidence presented, and as detailed in the Law and Analysis portion of this ruling, this protest seeking remission of vessel repair duties is denied.


Stuart P. Seidel

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