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HQ H009330

April 13, 2007



Captain Howard A. Newhoff
Royal Caribbean International
1050 Caribbean Way
Miami, Florida 33132

Dear Mr. Newhoff:

This letter is in response to your request of April 5, 2007, with respect to the coastwise transportation of numerous individuals. Our ruling is set forth below.


You ask whether numerous individuals may be transported on the non-coastwise qualified GRANDEUR OF THE SEAS ("vessel"), from New Orleans, Louisiana to Mobile, Alabama, or alternatively, from Mobile to New Orleans. You state that 22 individuals will embark in New Orleans on April 14, 2007 and disembark in Mobile on April 15, 2007, 16 will embark in Mobile on April 27, 2007, and 476 will embark in New Orleans on April 14, 2007, disembark in Mobile on April 15, 2007, and subsequently embark in Mobile on April 27, 2007. Those individuals embarking in Mobile will disembark in New Orleans on April 28, 2007.

The individuals will be performing the following various duties: closed circuit television (CCTV) camera installation, CCTV installation, bedding project installation, bedding project coordinator, shoreside project manager, project manager, Director of Facilities and Refurbishment, Refurbishment Manager, Facilities Consultant, check galley work, CCTV Installation Project Manager, Supervisor of Frontal Decoration Counter, start up and commissioning of cooling paint, Supervisor for Stainless Steel Installation, deckcovering works technician, supervisor of electrician and various installers, electrical work, installation of granite, Interior Installer, Service Installer, Welder, steel work, painter, refinish hardwood floors, pool deck and teak work, cabin refurbishment, Project Manager for welder and mechanics, Mechanic, Fitter-Welder, SS Welder, Welder-Mechanic, tiling, Plumber, “stone/decor,” “worker,” stainless steel work, provide restorative painting of hanging structure, window washing, replace lightbulbs, marble polishing, marble restoration and installation, replace owner’s suite bathroom, “cabling for POS, Network & Satellite,” “termination of POS, Network & Satellite,” “installation of POS,” installation of satellite communications system, carpet installation, interior painting, television installation, remove bulkheads and ceilings, guest stateroom bathroom refurbishment, regrout public restrooms, repair tile in solarium, replace tiles in steam room, refinish wood floors, repair scratches on laminate walls, install new faucets, “HVAC,” fresh water pipe replacement, Ship Manager, Director Fleet, Electrical Superintendent, Manager RCMT (Riding Crew), Coordinator, RCMT, relaunch support, Safety Manager, “IT,” “POS Business An,” IT infrastructure resource for POS, Network and Satellite, Logistics Manager, Logistics Support Specialist, supervision of heavylifting works, heavylift specialist work on PM equipment, propulsion motor work, maintenance and repair, and cabin restoration.

You further explain the following terms as such:

1) "check galley work"; -  Galley extraction , fire supression 2) "Service Installer"; - Installation of Windjamer outdoor beverage Station 3) "steel work"; - Installation Vertical stainless steel for jacuzzi 4) "stone/decor"; - Installation of Windjamer buffet counter granite counter tops. 5) "worker"; - Crew Cabin demolition & refitting 6) "stainless steel work"; - Installation of Windjamer buffet counters 7) POS; - Point of Sale System installation of new system 8) "HVAC"; - Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning - noted for the shoreside HVAC superintendent that will be on board overseeing various works in the refrigeration department. 9) "RCMT"; - Royal Caribbean Maintenance Team / Riding Crews for Marine Operations (RCMT) and Hotel Operations(RHMT)  -  company employees (ship crew members) that perform specilized work fleetwide. Please refer to the RCMT and RHMT workbook tabs column O for further detailed description of work to be performed on this ship. 10) "IT"; - Information Technology -   Infrastructure POS, & Network upgrade to include satellite. 11) "POS Business An"; and - Business Analyst for operational support for the installation of the new POS. 12) "heavylift specialist work on PM equipment." - Repairing Propulsion Motor  - Specialist.


Whether the subject individuals are "passengers" within the meaning of 46 U.S.C. § 55103 and 19 CFR 4.50(b).


Generally, the coastwise laws prohibit the transportation of passengers or merchandise 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. Such a vessel, after it has obtained a coastwise endorsement from the U.S. Coast Guard, is said to be "coastwise qualified."

The coastwise laws generally apply to points in the territorial sea, which is 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.

The coastwise law applicable to the carriage of passengers is found in 46 U.S.C. § 55103 (recodified by Pub. L. 109-304, enacted on October 6, 2006) and provides that:

In General. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter or chapter 121 of this title, a vessel may not transport passengers between ports or places in the United States to which the coastwise laws apply, either directly or via a foreign port, unless the vessel
is wholly owned by citizens of the United States for purposes of engaging in the coastwise traffic; and
has been issued a certificate of documentation with a coastwise endorsement under chapter 121 or is exempt from documentation but would otherwise be eligible for such a certificate and endorsement.

Penalty. The penalty for violating subsection (a) is $300 for each passenger transported and landed.

Section 4.50(b), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Regulations (19 CFR 4.50(b)) provides as follows:

A passenger within the meaning of this part is any person carried on a vessel who is not connected with the operation of such vessel, her navigation, ownership, or business.

You state that the subject individuals will be transported on the vessel for the purpose performing the various tasks as noted in the second and third paragraphs of the FACTS section of this ruling. In this context, and in accordance with previous Headquarters rulings, workmen, technicians, or observers transported by vessel between ports of the United States are not classified as "passengers" within the meaning of 46 U.S.C. § 55103 and 19 CFR § 4.50(b), if they are required to be on board to contribute to the accomplishment of the operation or navigation of the vessel during the voyage or are on board because of a necessary vessel ownership or business interest during the voyage. CBP Ruling HQ 101699 (November 5, 1975); see also CBP Ruling HQ 116721 (September 25, 2006).

Thus, in the present case, to the extent that the individuals would be engaged in any shipboard activities while traveling on the foreign vessel between coastwise ports, that would be "directly and substantially" related to the operation or business of the vessel itself, as would be the case under the facts herein submitted, such individual would not be considered to be a passengers (see HQ 116721, supra; and CBP Ruling HQ 116659 (May 19, 2006), referencing the "direct and substantial" test). See also, e.g., Customs telex 104712, of July 21, 1980, finding that repairmen were not passengers when carried aboard a foreign vessel between U.S. ports "for [the] purpose of repairing vessel en route between such ports."

We find that the proposed activities in this case are directly and substantially connected with the operation and business of the vessel. Therefore, we determine that the subject individuals are not "passengers" within the meaning of 46 U.S.C. § 55103 and 19 CFR 4.50(b). Accordingly, the coastwise transportation of such individuals is not in violation of 46 U.S.C. § 55103.


The subject individuals are not "passengers" within the meaning of 46 U.S.C. § 55103 and 19 CFR 4.50(b). Therefore, the coastwise transportation of such individuals is not in violation of 46 U.S.C. § 55103.


Glen E. Vereb

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