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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In an unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a petition for review sought by a stevedoring company of a decision of the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

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 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

China Protests Australia's Freedom of Navigation Comment

China said on Thursday it had issued a formal protest after Australia announced it would continue to exercise its right to freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea following a court ruling against China's claims.   The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague concluded this week that China had no historic claim to the waters and it had violated the Philippines' economic and sovereign rights.  

Japan Urges China Not to Escalate Sea Tension

Japan said on Monday it would respond firmly after Chinese government vessels intruded into what Japan considers its territorial waters near disputed islands in the East China Sea 14 times at the weekend.   Ties between China and Japan, the world's second and third largest economies

Japan, Philippines Negotiate Coast Guard Ships Delivery

Japan and the Philippines have begun talks for the transfer of two large coast guard ships to Manila, to help patrol the disputed South China Sea, a Japanese foreign ministry official said on Friday, as part of a deal on defence equipment.

Philippines: Sea Dispute Won't Shift Ties with China, U.S.

Photo: CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/DigitalGlobe

The Philippines' territorial dispute with China over the South China Sea has not caused Manila to rebalance diplomatic ties with either its ally, the United States, or neighbouring China, Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay said on Wednesday.

Hanjin Shipping plan would see sale of most of its ships

Hanjin File Photo

South Korea's Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd, whose collapse has disrupted global trade, is considering a restructuring plan to sell more than half its ships, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. However

Filipino Fishermen Still Blocked from Scarborough Shoal

China's coastguard has prevented Filipino boats from fishing around the hotly contested Scarborough Shoal, Philippine officials said on Friday, after Beijing kept a promise to ignore a court ruling voiding its vast South China Sea claims.  

Japan, Vietnam Agree South China Sea Ruling Must Be Observed

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed with his Vietnamese counterpart that an arbitration court's decision this week on the South China Sea must be observed, Japan's Kyodo news agency said on Friday.   The court in The Hague ruled China has no historic title over the waters of the South

EU's Statement on South China Sea Reflects Divisions

The European Union issued a statement on Friday noting China's legal defeat over the South China Sea but avoided direct reference to Beijing, reflecting discord among EU governments over how strongly to respond to the court ruling.   While the European Union is neutral in China's dispute

Kerry to Press ASEAN meeting for talks on SCS Disputes

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Official Portrait Photo John Kerry -@JohnKerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will urge Southeast Asian nations in meetings in Laos next week to find diplomatic ways to launch talks with China on easing tension over the South China Sea following an international court ruling that denies China's claims in the sea.

ASEAN in Discord Ahead of Meeting with top China, U.S. Diplomats

Photo Permanent Court of Arbitration

Southeast Asian nations were thrown into disarray after Cambodia on Saturday blocked them from issuing a statement referring to an international court ruling against China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, diplomats said. The U.N

ASEAN Breaks South China Sea Deadlock

Manila drops request to refer to court ruling in statement. Southeast Asian nations overcame days of deadlock on Monday when the Philippines dropped a request for their joint statement to mention a landmark legal ruling on the South China Sea, officials said, after objections from Cambodia.

U.S. Backs S. China Sea Bilateral Talks

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry says backs bilateral talks; Philippines says dispute does not involve United States. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday he supported the resumption of talks between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea

China Asks U.S. to Support Resumption of Talks with Philippines

China's foreign minister has asked the U.S. secretary of state John Kerry to support the resumption of talks between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea, following a ruling against Beijing over the dispute earlier this month.  

Cambodia Urged ASEAN to Avoid Words That Escalate Tension

Cambodia advised a grouping of South East Asian nations to avoid using words that "would escalate tension between China and the Philippines" in a weekend statement, the country's foreign ministry said on Wednesday.   Cambodia's support for China's position on an international

China, Russia Navies to hold S. China Sea Drills

China and Russia will hold "routine" naval drills in the South China Sea in September, China's defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told a news conference on Thursday. The drills come at a time of heightened tension in the contested waters after an arbitration court in the Hague

China: 'Illegal' Fishing in S.China Sea to be Met Harshly

China's Supreme Court said on Tuesday people caught illegally fishing in Chinese waters could be jailed for up to a year, issuing a judicial interpretation defining those waters as including China's exclusive economic zones. An arbitration court in The Hague ruled last month that China had no

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