This questions concerns shipping logistics under the Merchanat Marine Act of 1920 as it applies to the territory of Puerto Rico.

As a hypothetical consider a manufacturing (possibly agricultural processing) plant in Honduras. Suppose the plant is American owned and suppose further the goods being made are owned or being processed for an American company. For simplicity call the company American CO. Quick question

Can American CO ship directly from a Honduran port to Puerto Rico port on any American owned and operated merchant marine ship?

By direct I mean that the American owned and operated ship does not have to traverse back to a continental US port before anchoring into Puerto Rico.

1 Answer 1


The Merchant Marine Act does not apply to this cartage as it is "the law regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters and between U.S. ports". While Puerto Rico is US territory, Honduras is not.

In addition, even if the act did apply (say between Honolulu and Puerto Rico), there is no requirement for an intermediate stop at the continental U.S.

Also, the owner of the goods is irrelevant.

  • The act would not apply here because the ship is American built, owned and presumably american flagged ? However I interpret the act to mean that a foreign owned and foreign built ship cannot "sail" from Honduras to Puerto Rico? Dec 6, 2016 at 18:10

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