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46 U.S. Code § 80104 - Salvaging operations by foreign vessels

(a) Prohibition.—
Except as provided in this section or section 80105 of this title, a foreign vessel may not, under penalty of forfeiture, engage in salvaging operations on the Atlantic or Pacific coast of the United States, in any portion of the Great Lakes or their connecting or tributary waters, including any portion of the Saint Lawrence River through which the international boundary line extends, or in territorial waters of the United States on the Gulf of Mexico.
(b) When Suitable Vessel Not Available.—The Secretary of Homeland Security may authorize a foreign vessel to engage in salvaging operations in a particular locality if, on investigation, the Secretary is satisfied that there is not available in that locality a suitable vessel that is—
owned only by citizens of the United States (including a Bowaters corporation under section 12118 of this title); and
documented under chapter 121 of this title or numbered under chapter 123 of this title.
(c) Operations Authorized by Treaty.—This section does not prohibit or restrict assistance to vessels or salvaging operations authorized by treaty, including—
article II of the Treaty between the United States and Great Britain concerning reciprocal rights for United States and Canada in the conveyance of prisoners and wrecking and salvage, signed at Washington, May 18, 1908 (35 Stat. 2036); or
the Treaty between the United States of America and Mexico to facilitate assistance to and salvage of vessels in territorial waters, signed at Mexico City, June 13, 1935 (49 Stat. 3359).

Historical and Revision Notes



Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)


46 App.:316(d) (words before proviso).

R.S. § 4370(d), (e); June 11, 1940, ch. 324, 54 Stat. 305.


46 App.:316(d) (proviso).


46 App.:316(e).

In subsection (a), the words “authorized by a treaty” are omitted because they are restated in subsection (c).

In subsection (b), before paragraph (1), the Secretary of Homeland Security is substituted for the Commissioner of Customs because the functions of the Customs Service and of the Secretary of the Treasury relating thereto were transferred to the Secretary of Homeland Security by section 403(1) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Pub. L. 107–296, 116 Stat. 2178). The functions of the Commissioner of Customs previously were vested in the Secretary of the Treasury under section 321(c) of title 31. For prior related transfers of functions, see the transfer of functions note under 46 App. U.S.C. 316. The words “and no penalty shall be incurred for such authorized use” are omitted as unnecessary.

In subsection (b)(1), the words “(including a Bowaters corporation under section 12118 of this title)” are added because the source for section 12118 (46 App. U.S.C. 883–1) provides that a corporation meeting the requirements of that section is also a citizen of the United States under 46 App. U.S.C. 316, restated in part in this section.

Subsection (b)(2) is substituted for “documented under the laws of the United States or numbered pursuant to the Act of June 7, 1918, as amended (46 U.S.C. 288)” to refer to the current provisions on documentation and numbering.

In subsection (c), the words “authorized by treaty, including” are added because the words “authorized by a treaty” are omitted from subsection (a).