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Appeals Court

Appeals Court OKs Navy Use of Sonar

A federal appeals court on Friday said the U.S. Navy could use high-power sonar during exercises off the Southern California coast despite the technology's threat to whales and other marine mammals. A majority on a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said the Navy can use the high-power sonar in 11 planned training exercises in its reversal of a lower-court order banning the practice. Source: AP


Appeals Court Refuses to Close Chicago Locks To Deter Carp

On August 24, 2011, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit refused to issue a preliminary injunction to force the closure of locks on the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS).     The case stems from the controversy as to how best to prevent invasive Asian Carp from moving up the Mississippi/Illinois waterway system into Lake Michigan.  The state of Michigan and others sued the U.S


Divided Damages Following Collision

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the equal division of damages in a collision case where both vessels were at fault. In the instant case, an inbound tanker collided with an outbound dredge in the Houston Ship Channel. The trial court found both vessels to have been at fault and divided the damages equally. The tanker owner appealed, asserting that the primary cause of the collision was the steering failure on the dredge as the two vessels were about to pass


Court Strikes New Balance for Navy, Whales

The U.S. Navy can go ahead with training exercises this month using sonar off the California coast but should afterward implement new guidelines to protect whales, a U.S. appeals court said, according to a Reuters report. For years, U.S. courts have weighed the rights of whales to live undisturbed versus U.S. national security needs. The order of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was the latest effort to strike the right balance.


Portsmouth To Fight LNG

The Portsmouth Town Council has voted to allocate up to $25,000 for legal expenses to help fight a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in nearby Fall River, Mass., the third Rhode Island community to promise money to oppose the project, according to a report on www.turnto10.com. The $250 million Weaver's Cove Energy project was approved on June 30 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The FERC at that time rejected a proposal by KeySpan LNG to expand an LNG facility in


U.S. Supreme Court Declines Exxon Mobil Appeal

us supreme court.gif

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a ruling against Exxon Mobil Corp that ordered the company to pay $105 million in damages for polluting New York City's groundwater with a toxic gasoline additive. The decision not to hear the case leaves intact a July 2 U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld the judgment. In 2009, a jury concluded that Exxon contaminated water supply wells when the additive, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE)


Ship Owner May Sue Injured Seaman

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a ship owner may assert a negligence and indemnity claim against its seaman-employee for property damage allegedly caused by the seaman’s negligence. In the instant case, plaintiff mate was injured when his ship collided with another ship. Plaintiff was on watch and in command of the ship at the time and allegedly left the wheelhouse in congested waters to attend to personal business


Jones Act Seaman May Not Recover Nonpecuniary Damages from Third Party

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a Jones Act seaman or his survivors cannot recover nonpecuniary damages from a non-employer third party. In the instant case, a seaman contracted (and eventually died from) silicosis while working as a sandblaster maintaining protective coatings on offshore oil platforms. Plaintiff seaman worked on vessels owned by defendant shipowner and wore allegedly defective hoods manufactured by defendant shoreside companies


Reduction of attorney’s fee contract to protect seaman

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a court sitting in admiralty has inherent authority to alter a contingent fee contract for legal services entered into by an uncounseled seaman. In the instant case, plaintiff foreign seaman retained an attorney to represent him in a personal injury suit against the owner of a ship on which he was injured. The contingent fee contract called for recovery (assuming success in the litigation) by the attorney of all expenses and


State-law tort claim not preempted by LHWCA

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a state-law tort claim by a shipyard worker against a vessel owner is not necessarily preempted by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA).  In the instant case, was injured while fabricating a pontoon extension for defendant’s vessel, which was moored 200 feet away from plaintiff’s worksite.  After receiving LHWCA benefits from his employer


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


Norway's financial watchdog questions Statoil's 2012 accounts

Oil firm Statoil did not respect International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) on three points when it reported its 2012 accounts, according to the Nordic country's financial watchdog, the firm said on Tuesday. Statoil, which says its financial reporting is in line with IFRS


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


Court: Japan's Mitsui Paid to Release Ship

A MOL Handymax bulker, Zebra Wind. Photo: MOL.com

China Supreme Court says Mitsui pays about $29 mln; Ship released about 0030 GMT Thursday. Ship was seized over dispute dating back to 1930s. Advisor to plaintiffs says will likely demand more money. Japan's Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd paid about $29 million for the release of a ship seized by


Russian Court Rejects Plea to Release Greenpeace Ship

MV Arctic Sunrise: Image credit Greenpeace

The Murmansk Regional Court has rejected an appeal against the arrest of the ship 'Arctic Sunrise' by Russian authorities reports Greenpeace. "This is an extremely disappointing ruling. We believe this verdict is in violation of both the Russian Criminal Procedure Code and international law


Greenpeace Russia Vessel Detention: Dutch Government Bond Ready

Outside Russian detention building: Photo credit Greenpeace

The Dutch Foreign Ministry has finalised a bank guarantee of 3.6 million euros in compliance with a binding ruling by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) ordering Russia to release the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and the Arctic 30 protesters.


China Shipyard Refunds Algoma Tankship Newbuilds Cancellation

Image courtesy of Algoma Central Corp.

Algoma Central Corporation says it has received payments totalling $41.7 million from two Chinese banks on refund guarantees related to the cancellation of three ocean tanker shipbuilding contracts which occurred in 2010. In 2007, Algoma, through its wholly owned subsidiary


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


Algoma Refunded for Cancelled Tanker Contracts

Algoma Central Corporation announced earlier this week that it has received payments totaling $41.7 million from two Chinese banks on refund guarantees related to the cancellation of three ocean tanker shipbuilding contracts which occurred in 2010.  


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


Court Delivers Blow to Alaskan Arctic Oil Prospectors

Arctic Drillship: Photo credit Gazprom

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a ruling against the Department of Interior and oil companies including Shell in favor of environmental and Alaska Native groups and concluded the federal government failed to properly evaluate the scale of oil production


Justices Question Obama Climate Change Regulations

By Lawrence Hurley, Reuters The U.S. Supreme Court appeared closely divided on Monday as it weighed whether the administration of President Barack Obama exceeded its authority when crafting the nation's first greenhouse gas emissions regulations.


Court to Rule on Costa Rica/Nicaragua Maritime Border Dispute

Reuters - Costa Rica will ask the International Court of Justice to settle a decade-old maritime border dispute with Nicaragua related to potential oil concessions, President Laura Chinchilla said on Monday. Costa Rica plans to file a complaint with the court at The Hague on Tuesday in which it


BP Loses Bid to Block Seafood Fund Payments

A U.S. federal judge on Wednesday denied BP Plc's request to halt payments from the $2.3 billion fund it created to compensate commercial fishermen for financial losses after the British company's 2010 offshore oil spill, according to court records.


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


 
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