46 U.S. Code § 60501. Vessels allowed to import

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(a) In General.—Except as otherwise provided by treaty, goods may be imported into the United States from a foreign port or place only in—
a vessel of the United States; or
(2) a foreign vessel owned only by citizens or subjects of the country—
in which the goods are grown, produced, or manufactured; or
from which the goods can only be, or most usually are, first shipped for transportation.
(b) Exception for Vessels of Countries Not Maintaining Similar Restrictions.—
Subsection (a) does not apply to a vessel of a foreign country that does not maintain a similar restriction against United States documented vessels.
(c) Exception for Vessels Becoming Documented.—Subsection (a) does not apply to a vessel that—
is owned only by citizens of the United States; and
after entering a port of the United States, becomes documented as a vessel of the United States before leaving that port.
(d) Seizure and Forfeiture.—
If goods are imported in violation of this section, the goods and the vessel in which they are imported, along with its equipment and other cargo, may be seized by and forfeited to the United States Government.

Historical and Revision Notes



Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)


19:130 (1st sentence).

Oct. 3, 1913, ch. 16, § IV(J)(2), (3), 38 Stat. 196; Mar. 15, 1915, ch. 171, § 1, 38 Stat. 1193; Pub. L. 103–182, title VI, § 689(a)(2), Dec. 8, 1993, 107 Stat. 2222.


19:131 (words before “nor”).


19:131 (words beginning with “nor”).


19:130 (last sentence related to 19:130).

In this section, the word “goods” is substituted for “goods, wares, or merchandise” to eliminate unnecessary words.

In subsection (a)(2), before subparagraph (A), the words “owned only by” are substituted for “truly and wholly belong to” for consistency in the revised title.

In subsection (b), the words “or goods, wares, or merchandise imported in vessels” are omitted as unnecessary because of the wording of subsection (a) of the revised section. The word “restriction” is substituted for “regulation” as being more appropriate.

Subsection (d) is substituted for “All goods, wares, or merchandise imported contrary to this section or section 128 of this title, and the vessel wherein the same shall be imported, together with her cargo, tackle, apparel, and furniture, shall be forfeited to the United States; and such goods, wares, or merchandise, ship, or vessel, and cargo shall be liable to be seized, prosecuted, and condemned in like manner, and under the same regulations, restrictions, and provisions as have been heretofore established for the recovery, collection, distribution, and remission of forfeitures to the United States by the several revenue laws” to eliminate unnecessary words.