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Court Decision

AWO Supports Federal Regulatory Authority

The American Waterways Operators (AWO) officially went on record in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the preemptive authority of federal statutes and regulations governing vessel operations. AWO is supporting the position of Intertanko and the U.S. in a challenge to a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court on the extent to which the State of Washington can regulate the operation of tank vessels. In a "friend of the court" brief filed with the Supreme Court, AWO asserted the Circuit Court's decision is a threat to the uniformity of federal and international standards vital to interstate transportation and, unless reversed, federal safety rules and regulations could be rendered inconsequential. The AWO brief argues the Ninth Circuit Court fundamentally misinterpreted the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Ray v. Atlantic Richfield Co., in which the limits of state regulatory authority over federally regulated vessels were carefully defined. The brief further states the Circuit Court decision ignores the preemptive nature of acts of Congress, such as OPA 90 and the Ports and Waterways Safety Act, which grants the USCG the authority to prescribe regulations that preempt state or local law. The brief cites the example of a decision taken by Rhode Island to unilaterally require a phase-out of single-hull tank vessels in state waters fully 14 years before the time prescribed by Congress in OPA 90


Aker Philly Shipyard Build Methodologies Confirmed in Court Decision

In a decision filed by the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has upheld the United States Coast Guard interpretation of the Jones Act as it relates to the modern building methods employed by Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. The decision rejected a lawsuit filed by the Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.  Aker Philadelphia Shipyard President and CEO, Jim Miller remarked “We wish to reiterate that Aker Philadelphia Shipyard is extremely proud to


NYC Considers Local Law on Passenger Vessels

The New York City Council is considering a proposed Local Law


INTERTANKO to Intervene in Ballast Water Decision

A U.S. Federal judge in the Northern California District has granted INTERTANKO's Motion to Intervene on the court's decision that the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) exemption of ballast water discharges from the permit requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) was improper under the Clean Water Act. INTERTANKO filed this motion along with industry coalition partners the American Waterways Operators (AWO), the Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA)


Carriers Ponder Dutch Ruling in CMR Dispute

Netherlands law firm AKD Prinsen Van Wijmen says a recent decision of the Dutch Supreme Court indicates that, whilst Holland remains an extremely carrier-friendly jurisdiction for disputes under the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR), a much stricter approach is to be adopted to the Act of God exemption from liability for loss and damage under CMR. In its April 24 decision in Philips Electronics NV v Vos Logistics


Salazar Statement on Leasing Court Ruling

U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruling on DOI’s request for clarification of the Court’s earlier decision to vacate the 2007-2012 Outer Continental Shelf oil and natural gas leasing program:  “I am pleased with the Court’s decision.  Consistent with the Department’s request


Maine BEP Endorses Tank Barge Regulations

The Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) approved proposed Chapter 600 vessel operating regulations by a vote of five to one, with one abstention. Chapter 600 regulations address the operation of both oil terminal facilities and vessels transporting oil on state waterways. The regulations will be forwarded to the Attorney General for review and compliance with the state's Administrative Procedures Act. If the Attorney General approves the regulations


Engineer in Dredge is Jones Act Seaman

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that an engineer employed on a dredge in navigation is a seaman for purposes of the Jones Act. This decision was rendered when the court’s earlier decision was reversed and remanded by the U.S. Supreme Court. Stewart v. Dutra Construction Company, Inc., No. 99-1487 (1st Cir., August 9, 2005).


Raising a Red Flag?

A Review of Recent Developments with the Americans with Disabilities Act's Requirements for U.S. and Foreign Flag Passenger-Vessels By James P. Nader & Rudolph F. Lehrer Douglas Spector and Tammy Stevens presumably do not know each other, but they have a lot in common. Approximately five years ago, both Spector and Stevens boarded cruise ships out of major ports in the southern United States. Both Spector and Stevens, who are wheel-chair bound


Judicial Decision on M/V Mokihana Rebuild

On December 4, 2009, a federal district court in Va. entered judgment in favor of the U.S. Coast Guard and Matson Navigation Company, Inc. in a long-running vessel foreign rebuild case.  Winston & Strawn LLP represented Matson. The Shipbuilders Council of America, Inc. and Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines LLC sued the Coast Guard initially in November 2006 seeking to disqualify the M/V Mokihana from the U.S. coastwise trade because of work to be done to the vessel in China


Shell Suspends Alaskan Offshore Drilling

AP photo

Faced with an earnings slump and added pressure from a recent federal court ruling, Shell has abandoned plans for offshore drilling near Alaska in 2014. Shell’s new CEO Ben van Beurden announced to investors today that the company will undergo a major refocus aimed at reversing down


US Appeals Court, Says BP Bound by Gulf Spill Accord

By Jonathan Stempel, Reuters A divided U.S. appeals court has rejected BP Plc's bid to block businesses from recovering money over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, even if they could not trace their economic losses to the disaster. By a 2-1 vote, the 5th U.S


Shell's US Arctic Policy an 'Ongoing Gamble': Greenpeace Analysis

Image courtesy of Greenpeace

The analysis considers that the US Arctic Ocean presents almost a perfect storm of risks: a requirement for a long-term capital-intensive investment for uncertain return; a remote and uniquely challenging operating environment; ongoing court challenges; a lack of extraction and spill response


Somali Pirate Sentenced to 12 Years by German Court

 A German court sentenced a Somali asylum-seeker to 12 years in jail on Thursday, for his involvement in the pirate hijacking of a tanker in the Indian Ocean in 2010.   The judge in the Osnabrueck court in northern Germany said the man was guilty of kidnapping and severe extortion


Lubricant Usage Standards in the 2013 Vessel General Permit

10_0682a_MAR_PIC_Service_sm.jpg

Environmentally acceptable lubricants required in Oil-to-Sea interfaces where technically feasible. With the recent release of the 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP), vessel owner/operators must review their operational practices for incidental discharge of lubricants to the marine environment


Ontario Transport Ministry Fined for River Pollution

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation ordered to pay $95,000 for violating 2 counts of the federal Fisheries Act.  The charges stem from a road washout in April 2008 just east of the community of Orrville on Highway 518, which sent an estimated 8000 tonnes of road materials spilling into the


Charterer Pays Heavily for Breaching 'Safe Port' Warranty

Photo Wiki CCL

Charterer incurs US$138-million liability by breach of 'safe port' warranty in the 'Ocean Victory' case. Alistair Feeney, partner of London law firm Holman, Fenwick & Willan LLP gives valuable insights via London P&I Club news.  The recent decision of the Commercial Court in Gard


Court Rules Punitive Damages Allowed in Unseaworthiness Claims

A recent ruling by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals clears the way for seaman to recover punitive damages in unseaworthiness claims, according to Jones Act attorney Matthew Shaffer. In the facts of the case, McBride v. Estis Well Serv., L.L.C., No


U.S. Court Case against Bollinger Dismissed

Photo: Bollinger

The United States filed a complaint against Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. in July 2011 based on allegations that "Bollinger knowingly misled the Coast Guard to enter into a contract for the lengthening of Coast Guard cutters by falsifying data relating to the structural strength of the converted


Two Activists Granted Bail in Arctic 30 Case

Arctic Sunrise (Photo: Greenpeace)

Two Greenpeace activists were today granted bail in St Petersburg, becoming the fourth and fifth of the so-called Arctic 30 to be told they will soon be released. Brazilian Ana Paula Maciels, 31, and David Haussmann from New Zealand, 49, from New Zealand were told they will be released from jail


Landmark ECJ Ruling on Liability Limitation for Cargo Theft

Jos van der Meché

Rotterdam based law firm AKD said a recent landmark decision of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg definitively puts its weight behind forum shopping to limit liability under the CMR Convention in carrier-friendly countries. This is a boon to the Dutch jurisdiction and specifically comes


Bunker Suppliers Applaud EU Waste Decision

Recent guidance handed down by the European Court of Justice which rules that off-spec fuel oil does not have to be handled as waste is a triumph of common sense which will be welcomed by all suppliers of fuel oils and bunkers.   Shell Nederland and Shell Belgium were disputing a ruling by


AKD: Shipping to Benefit from EU Debt Recovery Proposal

Sebastiaan Moolenaar

Rotterdam-based law firm AKD says shipping and international trade and logistics operators should welcome a recent decision by European Justice Ministers which will improve their chances of successfully recovering money owed to them by trading partners in EU countries by effectively opening the


Court Denies WQIS Motion for Injunction

A New York State Supreme Court Judge has ruled against WQIS in a dispute involving the marine pollution insurance arena. According to Safe Harbor, this is the second ruling against WQIS in its attempt to prevent start-up Safe Harbor Pollution Insurance from entering the insurance space where


New Shell CEO Sets Agenda

Ben van Beurden

Speaking to investors, new Shell CEO Ben van Beurden updated on the company’s priorities: improving Shell’s financial results and achieving better capital efficiency, as well as continuing to strengthen operational performance and project delivery.


 
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