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HQ H017162

September 17, 2007



Mr. John Livingston
Marine Agent
S5/Norton Lilly International
952 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 100
Mt. Pleasant, S.C. 29464

RE: Coastwise Transportation; 46 U.S.C. § 55103; 19 C.F.R. § 4.50(b)

Dear Mr. Livingston:

In your letter transmitted by email on September 17, 2007, you requested that two individuals be permitted to travel aboard the foreign-flagged vessel, M/V MAERSK MONTANA, from Newark, New Jersey to Charleston, South Carolina. Our ruling on your request follows.


Two individuals would be transported aboard the non-coastwise-qualified M/V MAERSK MONTANA, embarking on September 13, 2007 at Newark, New Jersey and disembarking at the port of Charleston, South Carolina on September 17, 2007. The cruise line’s agent has stated that the first individual is a chief engineer in training and is riding aboard the vessel to observe the duties and responsibilities of a chief engineer on board. The second individual is a technician who is traveling aboard the vessel in order to repair the vessel’s onboard computer system.


Whether the individuals described above would be “passengers” within the meaning of 46 U.S.C. § 55103 and 19 C.F.R. § 4.50(b)?


The coastwise passenger statute, former 46 U.S.C. App. § 289 recodified as 46 U.S.C. § 55103, pursuant to P.L. 109-304 (October 6, 2006), states that no foreign vessel shall transport passengers between ports or places in the United States to which the coastwise laws apply, either directly or by way of a foreign port, under a penalty of $300 for each passenger so transported and landed (see 19 C.F.R. § 4.80(b)). 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. Under § 55103 (see 19 C.F.R. § 4.80a(a)(5)), a “passenger” is any person carried aboard a vessel “who is not connected with the operation of the vessel, her navigation, ownership, or business.” (19 C.F.R. § 4.50(b)).

Pursuant to Headquarters Decision 101699, dated November 5, 1975, it is well settled that "workmen, technicians, or observers transported by vessel between ports of the United States are not classified as ‘passengers’ within the meaning of section 4.50(b) and section 289 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." (See also, Headquarters Decision 116752, dated November 3, 2006, quoting HQ 116721). In the present case, the first individual would be traveling aboard the non-coastwise-qualified vessel to observe the duties and responsibilities of a Chief Engineer on the vessel. The second individual would be traveling aboard the vessel to repair the vessel’s computer system. Consequently, the individuals would be necessary for the operation of the vessel during the voyage and would not be considered “passengers” under 46 U.S.C. § 55103.


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


Glen E. Vereb, Chief

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