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November 23, 1994

HQ 113280

VES-3-02-CO:R:IT:C 113280 LLB


Ms. Ernestina Franco
Inchcape Shipping Services
100 West Broadway, Suite 200
Long Beach, California 90802

RE: Coastwise transportation of persons: Passengers: Company employees; 46 U.S.C. App. 289

Dear Ms. Franco:

Reference is made to your memorandum dated November 23, 1994, which forwarded for our consideration and determination, questions concerning the transportation of persons between coastwise points on a non-coastwise-qualified vessel.


Silversea Cruises, Ltd., of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, proposes to transport certain persons aboard its vessel the M.V. SILVER CLOUD beginning on November 25, 1994. It is proposed that sixteen (16) persons be embarked in the port of Long Beach, California, and travel with the vessel to San Francisco. At that port, four (4) of those persons would disembark, thus severing their connection with the voyage. The remaining twelve (12) persons would return with the vessel to Long Beach where they would disembark. All of the persons under consideration are reported to be paid employees of Silversea Cruises.


Whether the persons described in this ruling may be transported aboard the named vessel as anticipated without incurring violations of the Passenger Vessel Act of 1886, codified at 46 U.S.C. App. 289.


The coastwise passenger transportation statute prohibits the transportation of passengers between points in the United States embraced within the coastwise laws in any vessel other than a vessel built in, documented under the laws of, and owned by citizens of the United States. The statute, 46 U.S.C. App. 289, provides that:

No foreign vessel shall transport passengers between ports or places in the United States either directly or by way of a foreign port, under penalty of $200 for each passenger so transported and landed.

For purposes of the coastwise laws, a vessel "passenger" is defined as "... any person carried on a vessel who is not connected with the operation of such vessel, her navigation, ownership, or business." (Section 4.50(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR

The Customs Service has ruled that persons connected with the ownership or business of vessels are not passengers within the meaning of the statutory proscription, regardless of whether a fare is paid for their transportation. Such persons would include paid employees of the vessel operator. Examples of this position may be seen in Customs ruling letters 103279 (February 7, 1978), 108944 (May 8, 1987), and 111255 (February 6, 1991).


Following thorough consideration of the facts as well as an analysis of the law and applicable precedents, we have determined that the transportation of paid company employees aboard the vessel under consideration would not constitute the transportation of passengers as contemplated in the law and regulations. The persons under consideration may be transported as planned without incurring violations of 46 U.S.C. 289.


Arthur P. Schifflin

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