July 15, 1981
********** ("Seller") is a Massachusetts vendor. It made a sale in Massachusetts of sandblast hose, nozzles, remote controls and helmets to a customer from Rhode Island. The customer uses these items in maintaining and repairing off-shore oil rigs for third parties. You inquire whether the sale falls within the exemption for sales of supplies to vessels engaged in interstate and foreign commerce.
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 64H, Section 2 imposes an excise upon sales at retail of tangible personal property in the Commonwealth by any vendor. The sales tax does not apply to..."sales of fuel or substitute therefor, supplies and repairs to vessels engaged in foreign and interstate commerce..." (M.G.L. c. 64H, s. 6(o)). A "vessel", as defined by Webster's New International Dictionary, is any structure, especially a hollow one, made to float upon the water for purposes of navigation. An oil rig is not a vessel. ( Longmire v. Sea Drilling Corp., 610 F.2d 1342 (1980)).
Based on the foregoing it is ruled that the sale in Massachusetts of sandblast hose, nozzles, remote controls and helmets for use in maintaining off-shore oil rigs is subject to the Massachusetts sales tax.
Very truly yours,
/s/L. Joyce Hampers
L. Joyce Hampers
Commissioner of Revenue