U.S. Customs and Border Protection Expands on Its Previous Offshore Wind Ruling | ZFZ Postcard Cases

In January, the US Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), issued a ruling that the entire seabed on the US outer continental shelf is a “coastwise” point for purposes of US coastwise laws, which we previously wrote on here.

The ruling focused on the application of scour protection. On March 25, 2021, the CBP modified its January ruling and held there must be an attachment to the US outer continental shelf (“OCS”) to be a coastwise point. Particularly, there is no coastwise point prior to application of scour protection. Thus, a foreign vessel can pick up material from a US port and apply the first layer of scour protection.

Once a layer of scour protection is applied to the US OCS, then it becomes a US coastwise point. The decision also confirms prior rulings by restating that a foreign barge towed by a qualified Jones Act vessel cannot transport “merchandise” as defined by the Act between two US points. The CBP will likely issue further rulings in the coming weeks dealing with renewable energy and expand on its recent rulings. We will continue to follow these developments with great interest.

Read more on this decision here.