19 CFR 4.41 - Cargo of wrecked vessel.
(a) Any cargo landed from a vessel wrecked in the waters of the United States or on the high seas shall be subject at the port of entry to the same entry requirements and privileges as the cargo of a vessel regularly arriving in the foreign trade. In lieu of a Cargo Declaration, Customs Form 1302, to cover such cargo, the owner, underwriter (if the merchandise has been abandoned to him), or the salvor of the merchandise shall make entry on Customs Form 7501, and any such applicant shall be regarded as the consignee of the merchandise for Customs purposes. 76
76 “* * * The underwriters of abandoned merchandise and the salvors of merchandise saved from a wreck at sea or on or along a coast of the United States may be regarded as the consignees.”* * * (Tariff Act of 1930, sec. 483; 19 U.S.C. 1483)
(b) All such merchandise shall be taken into possession by the director of the port where it shall first arrive and be retained in his custody pending entry. If it is not entered by the person entitled to make entry, or is not disposed of pursuant to court order, it shall be subject to sale as unclaimed merchandise.
(c) If such merchandise is from a vessel which has been sunk in waters of the United States for 2 years or more and has been abandoned by the owner, any person who has salvaged the cargo shall be permitted to enter the merchandise at the port where the vessel was wrecked free of duty upon the facts being established to the satisfaction of the director of the port of entry. 77 Any other such merchandise is subject to the same tariff classification as like merchandise regularly imported in the ordinary course of trade.
77 “Whenever any vessel laden with merchandise, in whole or in part subject to duty, has been sunk in any river, harbor, bay, or waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and within its limits, for the period of two years and is abandoned by the owner thereof, any person who may raise such vessel shall be permitted to bring any merchandise recovered therefrom into the port nearest to the place where such vessel was so raised free from the payment of any duty thereupon, but under such regulations as the Secretary of the Treasury may prescribe.” (Tariff Act of 1930, sec. 310; 19 U.S.C. 1310)
(d) If the merchandise is libeled for salvage, 78 the port director shall notify the United States attorney of the claim of the United States for duties, and request him to intervene for such duties.
78 Salvors have an uncertain interest in the goods salved, dependent upon the decree of a competent tribunal, and have a presumptive right without such decree to possession of merchandise salved by them from abandoned wrecks. The salvors are entitled in either case to make entry of derelict or wrecked goods.