19 CFR § 4.14 - Equipment purchases for, and repairs to, American vessels.
(a) General provisions and applicability -
(1) General. Under section 466, Tariff Act of 1930, as amended (19 U.S.C. 1466), purchases for or repairs made to certain vessels while they are outside the United States are subject to declaration, entry, and payment of ad valorem duty. These requirements are effective upon the first arrival of affected vessels in the United States or Puerto Rico. The vessels subject to these requirements include those documented under the U.S. law for the foreign or coastwise trades, as well as those which were previously documented under the laws of some foreign nation or are undocumented at the time that foreign shipyard repairs are performed, but which exhibit an intent to engage in those trades under CBP interpretations. Duty is based on actual foreign cost. This includes the original foreign purchase price of articles that have been imported into the United States and are later sent abroad for use.
(2) Expenditures not subject to declaration, entry, or duty. The following vessel repair expenditures are not subject to declaration, entry, or duty:
(i) Expenditures made in American Samoa, the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Guam, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands because they are considered to have been made in the United States;
(ii) Reimbursements paid to members of the regular crew of a vessel for labor expended in making repairs to vessels; and
(iii) The cost of equipment, repair parts, and materials that are installed on a vessel documented under the laws of the United States and engaged in the foreign or coasting trade, if the installation is done by members of the regular crew of such vessel while the vessel is on the high seas, in foreign waters, or in a foreign port, and does not involve foreign shipyard repairs by foreign labor.
(3) Expenditures subject to declaration and entry but not duty. Under separate provisions of law, the cost of labor performed, and of parts and materials produced and purchased in Israel are not subject to duty under the vessel repair statute. Additionally, expenditures made in Canada or in Mexico are not subject to any vessel repair duties. Furthermore, certain free trade agreements between the United States and other countries also may reduce the duties on vessel repair expenditures made in foreign countries that are parties to those agreements, although the final duty amount may depend on each agreement's schedule for phasing in those reductions. In these situations and others where there is no liability for duty, it is still required, except as otherwise required by law, that all repairs and purchases be declared and entered.
(b) Applicability to specific types of vessels -
(1) Fishing vessels. As provided in § 4.15, vessels documented under U.S. law with a fishery endorsement are subject to vessel repair duties for covered foreign expenditures. Undocumented American fishing vessels which are repaired, or for which parts, nets or equipment are purchased outside the U.S. are also liable for duty.
(2) Government-owned or chartered vessels. Vessels normally subject to the vessel repair statute because of documentation or intended use are not excused from duty liability merely because they are either owned or chartered by the U.S. Government.
(3) Vessels continuously away for two years or longer -
(i) Liability for expenditures throughout entire absence from U.S. Vessels that continuously remain outside the United States for two years or longer are liable for duty on any fish nets and netting purchased at any time during the entire absence. Vessels designed and used primarily for transporting passengers or merchandise, which depart the United States for the sole purpose of obtaining equipment, parts, materials or repairs remain fully liable for duty regardless of the duration of their absence from the United States.
(ii) Liability for expenditures made during first six months of absence. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section, vessels that continuously remain outside the United States for two years or longer are liable for duty only on those expenditures which are made during the first six months of their absence. See paragraph (h)(3) of this section. However, even though some costs might not be dutiable because of the six-month rule, all repairs, materials, parts and equipment-related expenditures must be declared and entered.
(c) Estimated duty deposit and bond requirements. Generally, the person authorized to submit a vessel repair declaration and entry must either deposit or transmit estimated duties or produce evidence of a bond on CBP Form 301 at the first United States port of arrival before the vessel will be permitted to depart from that port. A continuous or single entry bond of sufficient value to cover all potential duty on the foreign repairs and purchases must be identified by surety, number and amount on the vessel repair declaration which is submitted at the port of first arrival. At the time the vessel repair entry is submitted by the vessel operator to the Vessel Repair Unit (VRU) as defined in paragraph (g) of this section, that same identifying information must be included on the entry form. Sufficiency of the amount of the bond is within the discretion of CBP at the arrival port with claims for reduction in duty liability necessarily being subject to full consideration of evidence by CBP. CBP officials at the port of arrival may consult the VRU as identified in paragraph (g) of this section or the staff of the Cargo Security, Carriers & Restricted Merchandise Branch, Office of Trade in CBP Headquarters in setting sufficient bond amounts. These duty, deposit, and bond requirements do not apply to vessels which are owned or chartered by the United States Government and are actually being operated by employees of an agency of the Government. If operated by a private party for a Federal agency under terms whereby that private party is liable under the contract for payment of the duty, there must be a deposit or a bond filed in an amount adequate to cover the estimated duty.
(d) Declaration required. When a vessel subject to this section first arrives in the United States following a foreign voyage, the owner, master, or authorized agent must submit a vessel repair declaration on CBP Form 226, a dual-use form used both for declaration and entry purposes, or must transmit its electronic equivalent. The declaration must be ready for presentation in the event that a CBP officer boards the vessel. If no foreign repair-related expenses were incurred, that fact must be reported either on the declaration form or by approved electronic means. The CBP port of arrival receiving either a positive or negative vessel repair declaration or electronic equivalent will immediately forward it to the VRU as identified in paragraph (g) of this section.
(e) Entry required. The owner, master, or authorized representative of the owner of any vessel subject to this section for which a positive declaration has been filed must submit a vessel repair entry on CBP Form 226 or transmit its electronic equivalent. The entry must show all foreign voyage expenditures for equipment, parts of equipment, repair parts, materials and labor. The entry submission must indicate whether it provides a complete or incomplete account of covered expenditures. The entry must be presented or electronically transmitted by the vessel operator to the VRU as identified in paragraph (g) of this section, so that it is received within ten calendar days after arrival of the vessel. Claims for relief from duty should be made generally as part of the initial submission, and evidence must later be provided to support those claims. Failure to submit full supporting evidence of cost within stated time limits, including any extensions granted under this section, is considered to be a failure to enter.
(f) Time limit for submitting evidence of cost. A complete vessel repair entry must be supported by evidence showing the cost of each item entered. If the entry is incomplete when submitted, evidence to make it complete must be received by the VRU as identified in paragraph (g) of this section within 150 calendar days from the date of vessel arrival. That evidence must include the final cost of repairs. In the event that all final cost evidence is not furnished within 150 days, or is of doubtful authenticity, the VRU may refer the matter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to begin procedures to obtain the needed evidence. That agency may also investigate the reason for a failure to file or for an untimely submission. Unexplained or unjustified delays in providing CBP with sufficient information to properly determine duty may result in penalty action as specified in paragraph (j) of this section.
(g) Location and jurisdiction of vessel repair unit port of entry. The VRU, located in New Orleans, Louisiana, processes vessel repair entries received from all United States ports of arrival.
(h) Justifications for relief from duty. Claims for relief from the assessment of vessel repair duties may be submitted to CBP. Relief may be sought under paragraphs (a), (d), (e), or (h) of the vessel repair statute (19 U.S.C. 1466(a), (d), (e), or (h)), each paragraph of which relates to a different type of claim as further specified in paragraphs (h)(1)-(h)(4) of this section.
(1) Relief under 19 U.S.C. 1466(a). Requests for relief from duty under 19 U.S.C. 1466(a) consist of claims that a foreign shipyard operation or expenditure is not considered to be a repair or purchase within the terms of the vessel repair statute or as determined under judicial or administrative interpretations. Example: a claim that the shipyard operation is a vessel modification.
(i) Stress of weather or other casualty. Relief will be granted if good and sufficient evidence supports a finding that the vessel, while in the regular course of its voyage, was forced by stress of weather or other casualty, while outside the United States, to purchase such equipment or make those repairs as are necessary to secure the safety and seaworthiness of the vessel in order to enable it to reach its port of destination in the United States. For the purposes of this paragraph, a “casualty” does not include any purchase or repair made necessary by ordinary wear and tear, but does include the failure of a part to function if it is proven that the specific part was repaired, serviced, or replaced in the United States immediately before the start of the voyage in question, and then failed within six months of that date.
(ii) U.S. parts installed by regular crew or residents. Relief will be granted if equipment, parts of equipment, repair parts, or materials used on a vessel were manufactured or produced in the United States and were purchased in the United States by the owner of the vessel. It is required under the statute that residents of the United States or members of the regular crew of the vessel perform any necessary labor in connection with such installations.
(iii) Dunnage. Relief will be granted if any equipment, equipment parts, materials, or labor were used for the purpose of providing dunnage for the packing or shoring of cargo, for erecting temporary bulkheads or other similar devices for the control of bulk cargo, or for temporarily preparing tanks for carrying liquid cargoes.
(3) Relief under 19 U.S.C. 1466(e). Requests for relief from duty under 19 U.S.C. 1466(e) relate in pertinent part to matters involving vessels normally subject to the vessel repair statute, but that continuously remain outside the United States for two years or longer. Vessels that continuously remain outside the United States for two years or longer may qualify for relief from duty on expenditures made later than the first six months of their absence. See paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section.
(i) Expenditures on LASH barges. Relief will be granted with respect to the cost of equipment, parts, materials, or repair labor for Lighter Aboard Ship (LASH) operations accomplished abroad.
(ii) Certain spare repair parts or materials. Relief will be granted with respect to the cost of spare repair parts or materials which are certified by the vessel owner or master to be for use on a cargo vessel, but only if duty was previously paid under the appropriate commodity classification(s) as found in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States when the article first entered the United States.
(iii) Certain spare parts necessarily installed on a vessel prior to their first entry into the United States. Relief will be granted with respect to the cost of spare parts only, which have been necessarily installed prior to their first entry into the United States with duty payment under the appropriate commodity classification(s) as found in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.
(i) General procedures for seeking relief -
(1) Applications for Relief. Relief from the assessment of vessel repair duty will not be granted unless an Application for Relief is filed with CBP. Relief will not be granted based merely upon a claim for relief made at the time of entry under paragraph (e) of this section. If relief is sought, an Application is not required to be presented in any particular format, but it must clearly present the legal basis for granting relief, as specified in paragraph (h) of this section. An Application must also state that all repair operations performed aboard a vessel during the one-year period prior to the current submission have been declared and entered. A valid Application is required to be supported by complete evidence as detailed in paragraphs (i)(1)(i) through (vi) and (i)(2) of this section. Except as further provided in this paragraph, the deadline for receipt of an Application and supporting evidence is 150 calendar days from the date that the vessel first arrived in the United States following foreign operations. Applications must be addressed and submitted by the vessel operator to the VRU and will be decided in that unit. The VRU may seek the advice of the Cargo Security, Carriers & Restricted Merchandise Branch, Office of Trade, in CBP Headquarters with regard to any specific item or issue which has not been addressed by clear precedent. If no Application is filed or if a submission which does not meet the minimal standards of an Application for Relief is received, the duty amount will be determined without regard to any potential claims for relief from duty assessment (see paragraph (h) of this section). Each Application for Relief must include copies of:
(i) Itemized bills, receipts, and invoices for items shown in paragraph (e) of this section. The cost of items for which a request for relief is made must be segregated from the cost of the other items listed in the vessel repair entry;
(ii) Photocopies of relevant parts of vessel logs, as well as of any classification society reports which detail damage and remedies;
(iii) A certification by the senior officer with personal knowledge of all relevant circumstances relating to casualty damage (time, place, cause, and nature of damage);
(iv) A certification by the senior officer with personal knowledge of all relevant circumstances relating to foreign repair expenditures (time, place, and nature of purchases and work performed);
(v) A certification by the master that casualty-related expenditures were necessary to ensure the safety and seaworthiness of the vessel in reaching its United States port of destination; and
(vi) Any permits or other documents filed with or issued by any United States Government agency other than CBP regarding the operation of the vessel that are relevant to the request for relief.
(2) Additional evidence. In addition, copies of any other evidence and documents the applicant may wish to provide as evidentiary support may be submitted. Elements of applications which are not supported by required evidentiary elements will be considered fully dutiable. All documents submitted must be certified by the master, owner, or authorized corporate officer to be originals or copies of originals, and if in a foreign language, they must be accompanied by an English translation, certified by the translator to be accurate. Upon receipt of an Application for Relief by the VRU within the prescribed time limits, a determination of duties owed will be made. After a decision is made on an Application for Relief by the VRU, the applicant will be notified of the right to protest any adverse decision.
(3) Application for Relief; failure to file or denial in whole or in part. If no Application for Relief is filed, or if a timely filed Application for Relief is denied in whole or in part, the VRU will determine the amount of duty due and issue a bill to the party who filed the vessel repair entry. If the bill is not timely paid, interest will accrue as provided in § 24.3a(b)(1) of this chapter.
(4) Administrative protest. Following the determination of duty owing on a vessel repair entry, a protest may be filed under 19 U.S.C. 1514(a)(2) as the only and final administrative appeal. The procedures and time limits applicable to protests filed in connection with vessel repair entries are the same as those provided in part 174 of this chapter. In particular, the applicable protest period will begin on the date of the issuance of the decision giving rise to the protest as reflected on the relevant correspondence from the VRU.
(j) Penalties -
(1) Failure to report, enter, or pay duty. It is a violation of the vessel repair statute if the owner or master of a vessel subject to this section willfully or knowingly neglects or fails to report, make entry, and pay duties as required; makes any false statements regarding purchases or repairs described in this section without reasonable cause to believe the truth of the statements; or aids or procures any false statements regarding any material matter without reasonable cause to believe the truth of the statement. If a violation occurs, the vessel, its tackle, apparel, and furniture, or a monetary amount up to their value as determined by CBP, is subject to seizure and forfeiture and is recoverable from the owner (see § 162.72 of this chapter). The owner or master of the vessel who fails to timely pay the duty determined to be due is liable for interest as provided in § 24.3a(b)(1) of this chapter.
(2) False declaration. If any person required to file a vessel repair declaration or entry under this section, knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact, or makes any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or representation, or makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious or fraudulent statement, that person will be subject to the criminal penalties provided for in 18 U.S.C. 1001.
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