Offshore drilling and Jones Act



U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is proposing to modify and revoke previous Headquarter ruling letters relating  to the exception to the Jones Act for the carriage between two U.S. points of “vessel equipment,” which has not been considered “merchandise”.


The modifications will affect the use of foreign flagged vessels in offshore drilling under the Jones Act (46 U.S.C. 55102), through  revocation of prior rulings that:

transport of pipe for repair of offshore sites was not considered engagement in coastwise trade;  the installation of anodes on a subsea pipeline did not constitute an engagement in coastwise trade because the activity was in the nature of the repair;

a foreign flagged vessel may engage in laying and repairing of pipe in territorial waters and installing pipeline connectors to offshore drilling platforms and subsea wellheads;

if the sole use of a vessel is underwater repairs to offshore or subsea structures, then it is not considered a use in coastwise trade;

if the sole use of a vessel is in the installation or servicing of a wellhead assembly at a location within U.S. waters, then it is not considered a use in the coastwise trade.


CBP has extended the time for comments on these proposals  to April 18, 2017