Whisky for consumption on board ships at sea is
'ship's stores'. Ship's stores means goods of any kind
(whether dutiable or non-dutiable, and whether of
British manufacture or imported) taken on board an
'outward-bound' ship for officers, crew and
passengers during the voyage. Outward-bound means
bound for 'an eventual destination outside the United
Kingdom'. Ship's stores have from time immemorial been
free of duty, just as goods exported as cargo to countries
overseas are. The theory is that the stores are in effect
exports. in that they are consumed outside United
Kingdom territory, and that the Treasury cannot expect to
collect the duty they would bear if consumed at home.
Whisky after distillation is stored (without paying duty)
in a bonded warehouse to mature, and whisky shipped as
stores or exported goes direct from the bonded warehouse
to the ship. HM ships are included in these regulations.
A similar situation exists in relation to sales of
whisky on international (but not domestic) airline
services and sales at duty-free shops at airports and
ports. If such whisky is taken off the ship or aircraft,
subject to local allowances. duty becomes payable.
'Coasting ships' which ply from port to port round
the coast. and vessels which ply on rivers or other
inland waters, are not outward-bound and do not get
whisky or any other stores duty-free.
© SWA 1995