The Federal Maritime Commission announced a compromise agreement reached with Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. (MOL) and its corporate affiliate, Nissan Motor Car Carrier Co. (NMCC). Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., is a vessel-operating common carrier based in Japan. As a separate line of commerce, MOL and NMCC operate pure car carriers (PCCs) and roll on/roll off (RO/RO) vessels in U.S. inbound and outbound trades. Under the agreement, MOL agreed to pay $1,275,000 in penalties.
The compromise agreement resolved allegations that MOL and NMCC violated section 10(a) of the Shipping Act, 46 U.S.C. § 41102(b), by acting in concert with other ocean common carriers with respect to the shipment of automobiles and other motorized vehicles by RO/RO or specialized car carrier vessels, where such agreement(s) had not been filed with the Commission or become effective under the Shipping Act. The compromise also addressed related activities and violations arising under such carrier agreements. Commission staff alleged that these practices persisted over a period of several years and involved numerous U.S. trade lanes.
Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero stated, "This is the second public announcement in recent months of Commission enforcement action against parties who fail to file carrier agreements. We take seriously our statutory responsibility under the Shipping Act to protect the shipping public and to ensure that agreements affecting carrier working relationships in the U.S. trades are properly filed and reviewed by the Commission."
In concluding the compromise, MOL and NMCC agreed to provide ongoing cooperation with other Commission investigations or enforcement actions with respect to these activities. The carriers did not admit to violations of the Shipping Act. Staff attorneys with the Commission’s Bureau of Enforcement negotiated the compromise agreement.