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Federal Court

U.S. Federal Court Bars OPEC From Price Fixing

A U.S. federal court reportedly has granted a one-year injunction barring oil producer group OPEC from fixing prices. Prewitt Enterprises won a civil anti-trust case in an Alabama court, accusing the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) of conspiring to fix oil prices through oil supply agreements. OPEC is for the next year "restrained from entering any agreements among themselves or with third parties to raise, lower, or otherwise determine volumes of production and export of crude oil," a Senior U.S. District Judge ruled March 21. OPEC made successive cuts in production through 1998 and 1999 that pushed crude oil prices to their high level since the Gulf War and lifted gasoline pump prices to record highs.


Chemoil Files Suit Against STUSCO

Chemoil Corporation announced today that it has filed suit against Shell Trading US Co. (STUSCO) in the Federal Courts of the Southern District of Texas in connection with certain acidic products, which STUSCO supplied to Chemoil during 2003. In this suit, Chemoil is seeking indemnity from STUSCO, as well as damages for breach of contract and other causes of action. This action is directly related to a series of TAN (Total Acid Number) bunker claims received by Chemoil in New Orleans


DOI Issues FSEIS for Chukchi Sea Lease Sale

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) released a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) for Chukchi Sea Lease Sale 193, moving the DOI a step closer to resolving federal court concerns regarding the 2008 oil and gas leases offshore Alaska. The FSEIS updates the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) estimates of the full range of production levels from offshore oil fields that might be developed in the Chukchi Sea as well as the related potential environmental


Indefinitely Moored Vessel not Subject of Admiralty Jurisdiction

In an unpublished opinion, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that an indefinitely moored gaming vessel is not a vessel for purposes of general maritime law and not subject to the admiralty jurisdiction of federal courts. In the instant case, the gaming vessel was afloat, but had not moved since arriving at its Lakes Charles mooring in 2001. The owners had no intention of moving the vessel. Plaintiff alleged personal injury from a slip-and-fall on carpeting outside the


Exxon Mobil Wants PDVSA Legal Edict Enforced

  Oil company Exxon Mobil asked a U.S. District Court on Friday to recognize a World Bank arbitration ruling that Venezuela must pay $1.6 billion over a nationalization claim filed in 2007. "Awards issued pursuant to the ICSID Convention are subject to automatic recognition and enforcement in the United States," the filing said in part. The International Court Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) published the arbitration ruling on Thursday


Enviro Fugitive Caught

Sherman Smith, owner of Seawall Construction, a Seattle area marine construction company, was surrendered to the U.S. Marshall's Service in Tucson, Ariz., on April 1 by the Mexican Government. Smith had forfeited $20,000 bail when he failed to appear for trial in federal court in Washington State in May 1996 and had been living in Mexico. Smith was previously charged on Sept. 27, 1995, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle with violating the Clean Water Act


TSA Issues Security Threat Assessment Application

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a notice stating that it is seeking approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to require that individuals seeking access to Sensitive Security Information (SSI) for use in civil proceedings in federal court submit a security threat assessment application. As part of this application, as proposed, the attorney will be required to submit identifying information, information regarding the litigation


DOT – Drug and Alcohol Testing

The Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a final rule amending (again) its regulations pertaining to urine specimen collections as part of the drug and alcohol testing procedures.  A federal court has issued a temporary stay regarding the recent change to the regulations.  Therefore, until the court issues its decision on the propriety of the new procedures, the previous procedures will remain in effect


Misplacing Benton Harbor results in dismissal of action

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the trial court’s decision to dismiss an admiralty action filed in the wrong district. In the instant case, plaintiff contracted to have cold-rolled steel shipped from Belgium to Benton Harbor, Indiana. The bills of lading provided, in pertinent part, that any action was to be brought in the federal district court having admiralty jurisdiction at the U.S. port of discharge. Plaintiff brought suit in federal court in Chicago


Company and Senior Officers Fined for Falsifying Export Certificates

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a news release stating that a Louisiana company specializing in the export of agricultural products and its principal officers plead guilty in federal court to counterfeiting and using phytosanitary certificates. The company president and vice president were sentenced to five years probation and fines of $250,000 each. The company was assessed a criminal fine of $500,000


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.  


Richard Branson's Virgin Group Accused of Pirating

Image: Richard Branson Facebook Page

 British billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Cruises has sailed into early choppy waters as a former CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line accused of pirating business plans and ideas for building "ultra ships."    Former Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Colin Veitch has filed suit


Former Norwegian Cruise Line CEO sues Virgin Group

The former chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd sued Richard Branson's Virgin Group in federal court in Miami for $300 million on Wednesday over plans by the British billionaire to launch his own luxury cruise line.  


Chief Engineer Sentenced for Pollution Violations

U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein (Photo courtesy of: USDOJ)

Chief U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Noly Torato Vidad of the Philippines, the Chief Engineer of the cargo vessel M/V Selene Leader, to eight months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release, for obstruction of justice and violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from


BP Bid to Cut Gulf Spill fine Denied

A U.S. judge on Thursday rejected BP Plc's attempt to reduce the maximum civil fine it could face for its role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, leaving it potentially liable to pay $13.7 billion under the federal Clean Water Act. U.S


Pressure Mounts to Settle West Coast Port Dispute

LOS ANGELES, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Two U.S. Cabinet secretaries joined congressional leaders, three governors and a big-city mayor on Wednesday in pushing shipping lines and the dockworkers' union to settle a contract dispute that has led to months of turmoil and cargo backups at 29 West Coast ports


Shipping Company, Chief Engineer Charged for Dumping Oil

U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced  that AML Ship Management GMBH, a German company, and Nicolas Sassin, Chief Engineer of a vehicle carrier ship it operated, the M/V City of Tokyo, were both charged with knowingly dumping oil into United States’ waters off the coast of


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.


Ship Operator Fined $1.8m for Oil Discharge

Ship operator admits to covering up deliberate discharge of oil and ordered to pay $1.8 million; $450,000 of penalty to fund projects benefitting Chesapeake Bay and $250,000 awarded to crew member who provided evidence of the illegal discharges  


Fugitive Treasure Hunter Arrested in Florida

An Ohio man who recovered as much as $400 million in gold from a shipwreck has been arrested in Florida after two years on the run and was scheduled to appear in federal court on Wednesday.   Tommy Thompson was detained on Tuesday night at a Hilton hotel in west Boca Raton, Florida


Crewman Pleads Guilty to Obstructing Justice in Pollution Case

Chief engineer of car-carrier vessel pleads guilty to obstruction of justice in marine oil pollution case The chief engineer of the cargo vessel M/V Selene Leader pleaded guilty in federal court in Baltimore, Maryland, to obstruction of justice and violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from


New York, London Juxtaposed by New Maritime Event

On November 13, the newly formed New York Maritime Consortium, a coalition of leaders from New York Maritime Inc. (NYMAR), the Society of Maritime Arbitrators (SMA), the Maritime Law Association (MLA) and the Association of Shipbrokers and Agents (ASBA)


Dredging the River Elbe: Waiting for Luxembourg

Two passing containerships on the Elbe (Photo courtesy of the Port of Hamburg)

Decision delayed on the Deepening and Widening of the Navigation Channel of the Lower and Outer Elbe The Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig today adjourned the proceedings by the BUND and NABU environmental associations against the plan approval concerning the dredging of the lower and


Oil Refiner Bound to Goldman, Deutsche Fee Agreements - NY Judge

CVR Energy

  CVR Energy Inc is bound by agreements to pay Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Deutsche Bank AG more than $36 million in fees and expenses stemming from billionaire investor Carl Icahn's 2012 tender offer for the oil refiner, a New York state judge has ruled.


TMT CEO Files $100m IP Suit Over Vessel Sale

us courts.jpg

Hsin-Chi Su, Chairman and CEO of Today Makes Tomorrow Group (TMT) launched a suit in Texas federal court on July 28, 2014, alleging that a planned bankruptcy sale of three company ships, including M.V.D Whale, M.V.G Whale and M.V.H Whale, to Mega International Commercial Bank Co. Ltd






 
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