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§ 883. Transportation of merchandise between points in United States in other than domestic built or rebuilt and documented vessels; incineration of hazardous waste at sea

No merchandise, including merchandise owned by the United States Government, a State (as defined in section 2101 of the [1] title 46), or a subdivision of a State, shall be transported by water, or by land and water, on penalty of forfeiture of the merchandise (or a monetary amount up to the value thereof as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, or the actual cost of the transportation, whichever is greater, to be recovered from any consignor, seller, owner, importer, consignee, agent, or other person or persons so transporting or causing said merchandise to be transported), between points in the United States, including Districts, Territories, and possessions thereof embraced within the coastwise laws, either directly or via a foreign port, or for any part of the transportation, in any other vessel 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, or vessels to which the privilege of engaging in the coastwise trade is extended by section 808 of this Appendix or section 22 [2] of this Act: Provided, That no vessel of more than 200 gross tons (as measured under chapter 143 of title 46) having at any time acquired the lawful right to engage in the coastwise trade, either by virtue of having been built in, or documented under the laws of the United States, and later sold foreign in whole or in part, or placed under foreign registry, shall hereafter acquire the right to engage in the coastwise trade: Provided further, That no vessel which has acquired the lawful right to engage in the coastwise trade, by virtue of having been built in or documented under the laws of the United States, and which has later been rebuilt shall have the right thereafter to engage in the coastwise trade, unless the entire rebuilding, including the construction of any major components of the hull or superstructure of the vessel, is effected within the United States, its territories (not including trust territories), or its possessions: Provided further, That this section shall not apply to merchandise transported between points within the continental United States, including Alaska, over through routes heretofore or hereafter recognized by the Surface Transportation Board for which routes rate tariffs have been or shall hereafter be filed with the Board when such routes are in part over Canadian rail lines and their own or other connecting water facilities: Provided further, That this section shall not become effective upon the Yukon River until the Alaska Railroad shall be completed and the Secretary of Transportation shall find that proper facilities will be furnished for transportation by persons citizens of the United States for properly handling the traffic: Provided further, That this section shall not apply to the transportation of merchandise loaded on railroad cars or to motor vehicles with or without trailers, and with their passengers or contents when accompanied by the operator thereof, when such railroad cars or motor vehicles are transported in any railroad car ferry operated between fixed termini on the Great Lakes as a part of a rail route, if such car ferry is owned by a common carrier by water and operated as part of a rail route with the approval of the Surface Transportation Board, and if the stock of such common carrier by water, or its predecessor, was owned or controlled by a common carrier by rail prior to June 5, 1920, and if the stock of the common carrier owning such car ferry is, with the approval of the Board, now owned or controlled by any common carrier by rail and if such car ferry is built in and documented under the laws of the United States: Provided further, That upon such terms and conditions as the Secretary of the Treasury by regulation may prescribe, and, if the transporting vessel is of foreign registry, upon a finding by the Secretary of the Treasury, pursuant to information obtained and furnished by the Secretary of State, that the government of the nation of registry extends reciprocal privileges to vessels of the United States, this section shall not apply to the transportation by vessels of the United States not qualified to engage in the coastwise trade, or by vessels of foreign registry, of
(a) empty cargo vans, empty lift vans, and empty shipping tanks,
(b) equipment for use with cargo vans, lift vans, or shipping tanks,
(c) empty barges specifically designed for carriage aboard a vessel and equipment, excluding propulsion equipment, for use with such barges, and
(d) any empty instrument for international traffic exempted from application of the customs laws by the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to the provisions of section 1322 (a) of title 19, if the articles described in clauses (a) through (d) are owned or leased by the owner or operator of the transporting vessel and are transported for his use in handling his cargo in foreign trade; and
(e) stevedoring equipment and material, if such equipment and material is owned or leased by the owner or operator of the transporting vessel, or is owned or leased by the stevedoring company contracting for the lading or unlading of that vessel, and is transported without charge for use in the handling of cargo in foreign trade: Provided further, That upon such terms and conditions as the Secretary of the Treasury by regulation may prescribe, and, if the transporting vessel is of foreign registry, upon his finding, pursuant to information furnished by the Secretary of State, that the government of the nation of registry extends reciprocal privileges to vessels of the United States, the Secretary of the Treasury may suspend the application of this section to the transportation of merchandise between points in the United States (excluding transportation between the continental United States and noncontiguous states, districts, territories, and possessions embraced within the coastwise laws) which, while moving in the foreign trade of the United States, is transferred from a non-self-propelled barge certified by the owner or operator to be specifically designed for carriage aboard a vessel and regularly carried aboard a vessel in foreign trade to another such barge owned or leased by the same owner or operator, without regard to whether any such barge is under foreign registry or qualified to engage in the coastwise trade: Provided further, That until April 1, 1984, and notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, any vessel documented under the laws of the United States and owned by persons who are citizens of the United States may, when operated upon a voyage in foreign trade, transport merchandise in cargo vans, lift vans, and shipping-tanks between points embraced within the coastwise laws for transfer to or when transferred from another vessel or vessels, so documented and owned, of the same operator when the merchandise movement has either a foreign origin or a foreign destination; but this proviso
(1) shall apply only to vessels which that same operator owned, chartered or contracted for the construction of prior to November 16, 1979, and
(2) shall not apply to movements between points in the contiguous United States and points in Hawaii, Alaska, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and United States territories and possessions. For the purposes of this section, after December 31, 1983, or after such time as an appropriate vessel has been constructed and documented as a vessel of the United States, the transportation of hazardous waste, as defined in section 6903 (5) of title 42, from a point in the United States for the purpose of the incineration at sea of that waste shall be deemed to be transportation by water of merchandise between points in the United States: Provided, however, That the provisions of this sentence shall not apply to this transportation when performed by a foreign-flag ocean incineration vessel, owned by or under construction on May 1, 1982, for a corporation wholly owned by a citizen of the United States; the term “citizen of the United States”, as used in this proviso, means a corporation as defined in section 802 (a) and (b) of this Appendix. The incineration equipment on these vessels shall meet all current United States Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency standards. These vessels shall, in addition to any other inspections by the flag state, be inspected by the United States Coast Guard, including drydock inspections and internal examinations of tanks and void spaces, as would be required of a vessel of the United States. Satisfactory inspection shall be certified in writing by the Secretary of Transportation. Such inspections may occur concurrently with any inspections required by the flag state or subsequent to but no more than one year after the initial issuance or the next scheduled issuance of the Safety of Life at Sea Safety Construction Certificate. In making such inspections, the Coast Guard shall refer to the conditions established by the initial flag state certification as the basis for evaluating the current condition of the hull and superstructure. The Coast Guard shall allow the substitution of an equivalent fitting, material, appliance, apparatus, or equipment other than that required for vessels of the United States if the Coast Guard has been satisfied that fitting, material, appliance, apparatus, or equipment is at least as effective as that required for vessels of the United States [3] Provided further, That for the purposes of this section, supplies aboard United States documented fish processing vessels, which are necessary and used for the processing or assembling of fishery products aboard such vessels, shall be considered ship’s equipment and not merchandise: Provided further, That for purposes of this section, the term “merchandise” includes valueless material: Provided further, That this section applies to the transportation of valueless material or any dredged material regardless of whether it has commercial value, from a point or place in the United States or a point or place on the high seas within the Exclusive Economic Zone as defined in the Presidential Proclamation of March 10, 1983, to another point or place in the United States or a point or place on the high seas within that Exclusive Economic Zone: Provided further, That the transportation of any platform jacket in or on a non-coastwise qualified launch barge, that was built before December 31, 2000, and has a launch capacity of 12,000 long tons or more, between two points in the United States, at one of which there is an installation or other device within the meaning of section 1333 (a) of title 43, shall not be deemed transportation subject to this section if the Secretary of Transportation makes a determination, in accordance with procedures established pursuant to this proviso that a suitable coastwise-qualified vessel is not available for use in the transportation and, if needed, launch or installation of a platform jacket and; that the Secretary of Transportation shall adopt procedures implementing this proviso that are reasonably designed to provide timely information so as to maximize the use of coastwise qualified-vessels, which procedures shall, among other things, establish that for purposes of this proviso, a coastwise-qualified vessel shall be deemed to be not available only
(1) if upon application by an owner or operator for the use of a non-coastwise qualified launch barge for transportation of a platform jacket under this section, which application shall include all relevant information, including engineering details and timing requirements, the Secretary promptly publishes a notice in the Federal Register describing the project and the platform jacket involved, advising that all relevant information reasonably needed to assess the transportation requirements for the platform jacket will be made available to interested parties upon request, and requesting that information on the availability of coastwise-qualified vessels be submitted within 30 days after publication of that notice; and
(2) if either
(A) no information is submitted to the Secretary within that 30 day period, or
(B) although the owner or operator of a coastwise-qualified vessel submits information to the Secretary asserting that the owner or operator has a suitable coastwise-qualified vessel available for this transportation, the Secretary, within 90 days of the date on which the notice is first published determines that the coastwise-qualified vessel is not suitable or reasonably available for the transportation; and that, for the purposes of this proviso, the term “coastwise-qualified vessel” means a vessel that has been issued a certificate of documentation with a coastwise endorsement under section 12106 of title 46 and the term “platform jacket” refers to a single physical component and includes any type of offshore exploration, development, or production structure or component thereof, including platform jackets, tension leg or SPAR platform superstructures (including the deck, drilling rig and support utilities, and supporting structure), hull (including vertical legs and connecting pontoons or vertical cylinder), tower and base sections of a platform jacket, jacket structures, and deck modules (known as “topsides”).


[1] So in original. The word “the” probably should not appear.

[2] See References in Text note below.

[3] So in original. Probably should be followed by a colon.

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