September 20, 2009
CBP withdraws Jones Act proposal
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has withdrawn a proposal that could have brought major changes to how the offshore industry operates on the Outer Continental Shelf.
CBP had proposed a stricter interpretation of a 1976 Jones Act ruling relating to the use of a foreign-built vessel "in the construction, maintenance, repair and inspection of offshore petroleum related facilities." That ruling held that the "transportation by the vessel of such materials and tools as are necessary for the accomplishment of the mission of the vessel ... is not, generally speaking, an activity prohibited by the coastwise laws since such transportation is incidental to the vessels operations."
CBP was proposing a tougher interpretation of what is and what is not equipment necessary for the mission of the vessel. The proposal followed a finding this year that a "Christmas tree" wellhead assemby was not part of the equipment of the vessel transporting it.
CBP received 140 comments on its proposed changes. To understand what's in play, read them HERE.
This one may not have gone away. CBP promises to publish a new notice on the subject in the Customs Bulletin "in the near future."