VES-3-CO:R:P:C 110322 LLB
Captain W.A. Bisso, III
President, Bisso Marine Company, Inc.
Post Office Box 4113
New Orleans, Louisiana 70178
Re: The use of a foreign-flag self-propelled derrick ship for
heavy lift operations in U.S. waters.
Dear Captain Bisso:
Reference is made to your letter of June 22, 1989, in which
you ask that we rule upon the use of a non-coastwise qualified
derrick ship to engage in heavy lift operations in the United
It is stated that the self-propelled derrick ship TAKLIFT 6,
registered in Holland, is working in U.S. harbors. The vessel is
of the "shearleg" boom variety, which means that the boom does
not rotate on its base when engaged in lift/transfer operations.
Rather, the lift boom is hinged at its base and the boom is
raised and lowered via pulleys and cables. Lateral movement of
loads must be accomplished by maneuvering either the vessel or
the receiving point.
Whether foreign-registered derrick vessels may be employed
within the area embraced by the coastwise laws, to engage in
lifting operations which may require that the lifting vessel be
moved during use.
LAWS AND ANALYSIS:
Title 46, United States Code App., section 883 (46 U.S.C.
App. 883), provides, in pertinent part, that no merchandise shall
be transported between points embraced within the coastwise laws,
either directly or via a foreign port, or for any part of the
transportation, in any vessel other than a vessel built in and
documented under the laws of the United States and owned by
persons who are citizens of the United States.
We have long held that "points embraced within the coastwise
laws" includes points within a harbor. Further, there is no
rule applied by Customs which would permit any minimal degree of
movement so as to create the fiction of non-transportation.
Accordingly, so long as loads are moved or transferred via
the purposeful shifting of the lifting vessel, any lifting
operations undertaken at U.S. points by non-coastwise-qualified
derrick vessels are performed contrary to the provisions of
Non-coastwise-qualified vessels may not be used to lift and
transfer materials at U.S. points, when such transfer is
accomplished by shifting the lifting vessel's position, even to a
B. James Fritz
Carrier Rulings Branch