CBP Regulations Pertaining to Escopeta Oil Fines

The following regulations are from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  The highlighting and underlining was added to point out the pertinent sections.  A link to the full document follows.  It has many interesting points of which shippers and NVOs (Non-Vessel Operators) should be aware.

11. Coastwise Trade (Jones Act) Violations (46 U.S.C. App 883)
Section 46 U.S.C. App. 883 prohibits foreign flag vessels from transporting merchandise laden at a coastwise port to any other coastwise port (whether directly or via a foreign port). Section 883 provides for seizure and forfeiture of improperly transported merchandise or assessment of a monetary penalty equal to the domestic value of such merchandise. Customs may assess a penalty against the master, owner, or any party responsible for the improper transportation.
Section 883 penalties may be assessed in amounts up to the value of the merchandise moved coastwise in a nonqualified vessel or the cost of the transportation, whichever is greater. If the violation arose because of an emergency to the vessel that required, for reasons of safety or other humanitarian cause, that coastwise transportation occur, the penalty should not exceed $100,000. If the violation occurred for commercial expediency, Customs does not limit the penalty amount.Section 883 penalties generally are secured by international carrier’s bond.

The FPFO and NSPO decide petitions and supplemental petitions, in cases where the penalty liability is less than or equal to $100,000. OR&R, ITC Division, decides those petitions and supplemental petitions in cases where the penalty liability is greater than $100,000.
If the petition for relief establishes that the violation occurred as a direct result of an arrival of the transporting vessel in distress, such that the vessel was in peril or due to an act of God (e.g., hurricane) full mitigation is appropriate. If the vessel was not in distress, but the transportation occurred because of some other humanitarian reason (e.g., disembarkation of crewman with life threatening injuries), the claim may be mitigated in full. If the violation resulted because of commercial expediency, Customs may mitigate the penalty to an amount between 35 and 50 percent of that assessed.

http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/trade/legal/informed_compliance_pubs/icp052.ctt/icp052.pdf

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