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HQ H017329

September 19, 2007



Mr. Tim Dalzell
Vessel Manager
Moran Shipping Agencies, Inc.
88 Black Falcon Ave, Suite 275
Boston, MA 02210

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

Dear Mr. Dalzell:

In your letter transmitted by email on September 19, 2007, you requested that an individual be permitted to travel aboard the foreign-flagged vessel, M/T SLOLZEN, from Boston, Massachusetts to Houston, Texas. Our ruling on your request follows.


An individual would be transported aboard the non-coastwise-qualified M/T SLOLZEN, embarking on September 26, 2007 at Boston, Massachusetts and disembarking at the port of Houston, Texas on or about October 5, 2007. The cruise line’s agent has stated that the individual, a superintendent, would be transported aboard the vessel in order to carry out the Superintendent’s Ship Inspection and prepare the vessel for dry docking. The dry docking of the vessel is planned for December 2007.


Whether the individual described above would be a “passenger” 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 individual would be traveling aboard the non-coastwise-qualified vessel to conduct a ship inspection and prepare the vessel for dry dock. Consequently, the individual would be necessary for the operation of the vessel during the voyage and would not be considered a “passenger” under 46 U.S.C. § 55103.


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


Glen E. Vereb, Chief

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