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HQ 115365

May 17, 2001

VES-3-19-RR:IT:EC 115365 GEV


G. Michael Hubbard
Vice President California Operations
Quay Cruise Agencies, U.S.A.
1025 W. 190th Street, Site 165
Gardena, CA 90248-4332

RE: Coastwise Trade; Passengers; Employees; 46 U.S.C. App. § 289

Dear Mr. Hubbard:

This is in response to your fax of May 10, 2001, regarding the coastwise transportation of cruise staff members of a foreign-flagged vessel. Our ruling on this matter is set forth below.


The Bahamian-flag vessel CRYSTAL HARMONY will be arriving at Los Angeles, California, on May 20, 2001, to embark passengers en route to San Francisco, California, to commence their 2001 Alaska Cruise Season. While en route to San Francisco, the following employees of Crystal Cruises are required to conduct, implement, and monitor initial new programs on board. Crystal Cruises has requested Quay Cruise Agencies, U.S.A., as their agent, to request permission for these employees of Crystal Cruises to embark in Los Angeles and disembark in San Francisco on May 21, 2001.

Name Passport No. Nationality D.O.B.

John Zimmerman 034479395 American 09/26/62 Manager-Director Systems Operations

Mary Lou Parel 201173615 American 02/19/57 Administrator-Computer Services

Name Passport No. Nationality D.O.B.

Yushi Oku MQ2766245 Japanese t.b.a.
Service Engineer

Knut Aune 93-J0002884 Norwegian 03/23/46
Vice President, Marine Operations


Whether the above-listed individuals are “passengers” within the meaning of 19 CFR § 4.50(b) so that their transportation between Los Angeles and San Francisco aboard the foreign-flag CRYSTAL HARMONY would violate 46 U.S.C. App. § 289.


The U.S. Customs Service enforces various navigation laws which deal with the use of vessels in what is recognized as coastwise trade. Included among these laws is the Act of June 19, 1886, as amended (24 Stat. 81; 46 U.S.C. App. § 289, sometimes called the coastwise passenger law), which 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 a penalty of $200 for each passenger so transported and landed.

Pursuant to § 4.50(b), Customs Regulations (19 CFR § 4.50(b)), the word "passenger," for purposes of the above-cited statute, is defined as "...any person carried on a vessel who is not connected with the operation of such vessel, her navigation, ownership, or business."

Customs has consistently interpreted the prohibition set forth in 46 U.S.C. App. § 289 to apply to all vessels except United States-built, owned, and properly documented vessels (see 46 U.S.C. § 12106, 12110; and 46 U.S.C. App. § 883). Furthermore, Customs has promulgated regulations pursuant to 46 U.S.C. App. § 289. These regulations may be found in title 19, Code of Federal Regulations, § 4.80a.

The coastwise laws generally apply to points in the territorial sea, defined as the belt, three nautical miles wide, seaward of the territorial sea baseline, and to points located in internal waters, landward of the territorial sea baseline, in cases where the baseline and coastline differ.

With respect to the above-listed individuals, upon reviewing their status as employees of the vessel operator as well as their activities while on board the subject vessel during the voyage in question, it is our position that they would be sufficiently connected to the business of the vessel so as not to be considered “passengers” within the meaning of 19 CFR § 4.50(b).

Accordingly, the proposed transportation of these individuals between Los Angeles and San Francisco aboard the Bahamian-flag CRYSTAL HARMONY would not be violative of 46 U.S.C. App. § 289.


The above-listed individuals are not “passengers” within the meaning of 19 CFR § 4.50(b) so that their transportation between Los Angeles and San Francisco aboard the foreign-flag CRYSTAL HARMONY would not violate 46 U.S.C. App. § 289.


Larry L. Burton

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