United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Sep 21, 2020
Transportation of merchandise
In this section, the term “merchandise” includes—
merchandise owned by the United States Government, a State, or a subdivision of a State; and
Except as otherwise provided in this chapter or chapter 121 of this title, a vessel may not provide any part of the transportation of merchandise by water, or by land and water, between points in the United States to which the coastwise laws apply, either directly or via a foreign port, unless the vessel—
is wholly owned by citizens of the United States for purposes of engaging in the coastwise trade; and
has been issued a certificate of documentation with a coastwise endorsement under chapter 121 or is exempt from documentation but would otherwise be eligible for such a certificate and endorsement.
Merchandise transported in violation of subsection (b) is liable to seizure by and forfeiture to the Government. Alternatively, an amount equal to the value of the merchandise (as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security) or the actual cost of the transportation, whichever is greater, may be recovered from any person transporting the merchandise or causing the merchandise to be transported.
cite as: 46 USC 55102