On September 9, 2003, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected Maritrans' claim that the double hull requirement of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 constituted a "taking" of its single hull barges under
the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Court concluded that, because Congress permitted Maritrans' vessels to operate for several years before requiring their removal from service, Maritrans was able to recoup part of its investment in the vessels; and therefore no taking occurred. Further, the Court ruled that because Congress had a strong interest in protection of the environment, and because the burden of compliance was shared by all members of the marine transportation industry and not just Maritrans, the double hull requirement does not rise to the level of a "regulatory taking."
Stephen A. VanDyck, Chairman of Maritrans Inc. stated, "Maritrans believed that it had an obligation to our shareholders to attempt recovery for the costs imposed by the requirement. As an industry leader, Maritrans' unique program to double-hull all of our single hull vessels is just one example of our absolute commitment to the letter and spirit of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. We do not plan to appeal the opinion."