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Court Ruling

FMC Upheld on Claim of Unreasonably Refusing to Deal or Negotiate

In an unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a petition for review sought by a stevedoring company of a decision of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). In a matter before the agency, the FMC had ruled that a marine terminal operator had not unreasonably refused to deal or negotiate with the stevedoring company. In its decision, the court ruled that the FMC decision was supported by substantial evidence and was consistent with past precedent. Source: HK Law


Maritrans' Claim for Damages from OPA 90 Denied

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled on December 21, 2001 that the double hull requirement of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 ("OPA") does not constitute a "taking" of Maritrans' petroleum barges. Maritrans is currently evaluating whether to take an appeal. OPA prohibits existing single-hull tank vessels from continuing operation through their useful life, mandating a phase-out schedule over a period of years. In 1996


Lawsuit Aimed at Stopping Casino Boat

Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth filed a complaint in Volusia Circuit Court, seeking to force SunCruz Casinos to get rid of the slot machines and other casino games on one of its cruise-to-nowhere boats, which docks in Ponce Inlet. The refusal by the U.S. Supreme Court to tamper with a lower court ruling that federal law does not prevent states from deciding their existing laws prohibiting land-based casino gaming also apply to cruise-to-nowhere operations may have been the motivation


Negligent Homicide with Yacht Leads to Loss of Coverage

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that, where the owner of a yacht was convicted of negligent homicide in connection with a fatal collision, the insurance company is not obligated to defend under a policy excluding losses “criminally caused or incurred” by the insured. In the instant case, plaintiff was operating his yacht when it collided with another boat, killing one of the passengers of the boat


U.S. Supreme Court Reject Exxon Appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected on an appeal by Exxon Mobil Corp. over the $5 billion punitive damages verdict against it for the 1989 Exxon Valdez accident, the nation's worst oil spill. The justices let stand a U.S. appeals court ruling that the award against the oil giant in a civil lawsuit brought by Alaskan fishermen and other plaintiffs should not be set aside because of irregularities during jury deliberations.


Federal Court Delivers Ruling On Bayport

The Port of Houston Authority (PHA) welcomed U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa Gilmore's ruling on the motions for summary judgment that had been filed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, PHA, and the opponents of PHA's Bayport Container and Cruise Terminal project. The court ruling grants the Corps' and PHA's motions and denies the opponents' motion, thereby dismissing the challenge to the Bayport permit. According to the court's ruling


Bankruptcy Trumps Admiralty

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that a bankruptcy court may extinguish maritime liens on vessels where the lienors are before the court, even though the ships are not within the jurisdiction of the court. A shipowner filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Defendant financial institutions, which held preferred ship mortgages, succeeded in getting the court to convert the action into an involuntary bankruptcy under Chapter 7


Dredge is a Vessel for Purposes of LHWCA

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a dredge not currently in navigation is still a vessel for purposes of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). In the instant case, a marine engineer was injured while performing repairs on a scow tied up to a dredge. The dredge was capable of only limited movement on its own, dragging itself along using anchors and cables. Otherwise, it had to be towed. The lower court held that


Ruling on Border Inspections

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Executive Branch has plenary authority to conduct suspicionless inspections at the border. In the instant case, Customs officials removed and disassembled the gas tank from a car entering the United States from Mexico at a land border crossing. Marijuana was found in the gas tank and criminal charges were brought against the driver. Defendant argued that the evidence should be suppressed because the search was highly intrusive and was not based on


The Townsend Decision: Should Vessel Owners Deny Maintenance and Cure?

Lawrence R. DeMarcay, III is a partner at Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli in the firm’s New Orleans, La. office. He can be reached at ldemarcay@frvf-law.com or 504-595-5122.

Unfortunately, as a vessel owner or operator, you have probably been faced with a situation where one of your crew members have allegedly become sick or injured while in the service of the vessel.  As you are aware, once this injury or illness is reported to the company, the duties of providing maintenance and cure under the Jones Act begin. Unfortunately, instances of fraud where the employee may not have suffered the injury or illness that he or she is complaining of seem to be common


Face Off Maersk Tigris

Maersk Tigris. Pic by Maersk Line

 The Danish shipping giant Maersk Line is still trying to obtain details of the Iranian court ruling that resulted in seizing Maersk Tigris by the Iranian authorities over an alleged commercial dispute.   While the Iranian claimant in the Maersk Tigris case warns vessel could be put


BP Wins Right to Appeal Gulf Spill Damages Claims

BP Plc deserves the right to have a federal appeals court review some damage claims awarded under the settlement to compensate people and businesses harmed by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Friday.   The 5th U.S


Ex-BP Engineer Deserves New Gulf Spill Trial -US Appeals Court

Photo: NOAA

A former BP Plc engineer deserves a new trial on an obstruction of justice charge related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.   The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans agreed with a lower court judge's decision last June to throw out


European Court Ups Standards for River Dredging

Photo: Port of Hamburg

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on Wednesday that damage to water quality must be considered when authorities approve river dredging to expand ports, in a ruling which could hinder expansion at the German ports of Bremen and Hamburg.  


UK Court Rejects Iran Tanker Firm's Attempt to Avert Sanctions

A legal attempt by Iran's main oil tanker firm NITC to stop the European Union from reimposing sanctions on it over its disputed nuclear program has failed in a London court, setting back Tehran's efforts to ease trade restrictions. Iran is engaged in nuclear talks with world powers as it tries


EU to Reimpose Sanctions on Iranian Tanker Firm

European Union governments are expected to agree later on Thursday to put the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) back on a list of sanctioned firms, EU diplomats said. The EU's second-highest court ruled last July there were no grounds to blacklist the NITC after the company contested the


Iranian Oil Tanker Blacklisted by EU

Image: National Iranian Tanker Company

 During a meeting in Brussels on Thursday 12 February, members of European Union decided to sanction again the Iranian Oil Tanker Company which is transporting oil around the globe.  The EU's second-highest court ruled last July there were no grounds to blacklist the National Iranian


BP Denied $700M in Insurance from Gulf Spill

The Texas Supreme Court on Friday ruled that BP Plc cannot claim about $700 million in insurance that was carried by offshore driller Transocean Ltd to cover the blowout of BP's Macondo well in 2010, the biggest offshore spill in U.S. history.


Court: BP Employees Can't Be Charged Under Seaman's Manslaughter Law

   The 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard)

  A federal court ruled on Wednesday that BP well site leaders on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig cannot be charged with seaman's manslaughter in the deaths of eleven workers that died during the 2010 rig explosion because they were not seamen.  


Maersk: Iran Must Release Ship, Crew

Denmark's Maersk shipping said on Thursday it insisted on the release of a vessel and crew seized by Iran, adding it assumed the incident was related to a 2005 court case over uncollected cargo. The Marshall-Islands flagged Maersk Tigris container ship was detained by Iranian forces in the


US Navy to Accompany US Ships in Strait of Hormuz

U.S. Navy ships started accompanying U.S.-flagged commercial vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, seeking to ensure freedom of navigation two days after Iran seized a cargo ship, U.S. defense officials said.   The officials, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity


Maersk Vessel to be Released after Company Pays Debt: Iran

Maersk Tigris: Maersk Line

 The Iranian Embassy in Denmark has reportedly said that a cargo ship recently impounded the Persian Gulf by Iranian Navy forces will be released if the ship’s operator company settles its overdue debts to an Iranian plaintiff.   


California Port Truckers End Strike

Ports of Los Angles and Long-Beach

Southern California port truckers seeking recognition as employees rather than contractors ended a strike of freight-hauling companies on Friday after four days of picketing that drew attention to their cause but did little to disrupt cargo shipments.


Maersk Meets Iranian Officials over Seized Vessel

Maersk Line said on Monday it had met again with the Ports & Maritime Organization (PMO) in Iran regarding the seizure of the vessel Maersk Tigris but has yet to receive any official documents from Iranian authorities. The Maersk Tigris was seized last Tuesday by Iranian patrol boats in the


Indian Sailors Return Home after Five Month

Image: Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard

 Fourteen Indian troopers, who have been stranded on board an oil tanker off the coast of Bahrain since December have lastly left for home, says a report in Gulf Daily news.   They were among the 16-member crew of Mongolian vessel MT Surya Kuber






 
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