Marine Link
Monday, January 22, 2018

Court Decision News

AWO Supports Federal Regulatory Authority

The American Waterways Operators (AWO) officially went on record in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the preemptive authority of federal statutes and regulations governing vessel operations. AWO is supporting the position of Intertanko and the U.S. in a challenge to a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court on the extent to which the State of Washington can regulate the operation of tank vessels. In a "friend of the court" brief filed with the Supreme Court, AWO asserted the Circuit Court's decision is a threat to the uniformity of federal and international standards vital to interstate transportation and, unless reversed, federal safety rules and regulations could be rendered inconsequential. The AWO brief argues the Ninth Circuit Court fundamentally misinterpreted the U.S.

EU Court Rules in Favor of Kvaerner

The Court of First Instance, has today ruled in the case concerning alleged breach of capacity restrictions at Kvaerner's German shipyard, Kvaerner Warnow Werft. The group has been informed that the Court has ruled in favor of Kvaerner. The Court has set aside the EU commission's decision that Kvaerner should repay DEM 117 million. Kvaerner paid and accounted for this amount in 2000. The Court's decision can be appealed within two months. Although Kvaerner has not yet seen the details of the Court's decision, Kvaerner's preliminary understanding is that the amount will be repaid. In addition to this case, the EU commission has not yet…

New York Appeals Court Affirms Earlier Ruling

The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Bay Casino, which operates a gaming vessel on "cruises to nowhere" from Brooklyn, did not violate federal law by operating its shipboard casino more than three, but less than 12 miles offshore, concurring with a lower court's decision. The court affirmed the lower court's dismissal of the civil forfeiture action against the company. The government argued when Congress passed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, in which it extended the U.S. territorial seas out to 12 miles "for purposes of Federal criminal jurisdiction," shipboard gambling was rendered illegal within the 12-mile limit.

Supreme Court To Review Washington Tanker Regulations

The U.S. Supreme Court has reportedly ordered a review of autonomous regulations imposed by the state of Washington on oil tanker operations. In 1995 the state imposed extra regulations on tankers, over and above federal requirements, covering onboard equipment, technology, training and operational requirements. The Supreme court backed Intertanko's petition against a previous court decision upholding the state's right to impose different manning and operating requirements.

AMSC Submits Appeal to China's Supreme People's Court

DEVENS, Mass. – AMSC, a global solutions company serving wind and grid leaders, announced that it has filed an appeal with China's Supreme People's Court relating to the Hainan Higher Court's decision on April 5, 2012, to uphold the Hainan Province No. 1 Intermediate People's Court's dismissal of AMSC's civil case against Sinovel Wind Group Co. Ltd. (Sinovel) and Dalian Guotong Electric Co. Ltd. (Guotong). This is the smallest of four legal actions AMSC has brought against Sinovel. In total, AMSC is seeking to recover from Sinovel more than $1.2 billion for contracted shipments and damages in these cases, which stem from Sinovel's contractual breaches and AMSC's discovery of intellectual property theft by Sinovel employees.

INTERTANKO Applauds U.S. Supreme Court Action

On Friday, September 10, 1999, the United States Supreme Court issued a writ to the federal appellate court that reviews decisions in the western U. S. directing a review of that court's disposition of litigation challenging tanker regulations imposed by the State of Washington. INTERTANKO had petitioned the Supreme Court for issuance of the writ. The challenged Washington State regulations imposed on U.S. and foreign tankers carrying oil in Washington waters a number of unique regulations governing on-board equipment, technology, crew training and qualifications, and operational requirements. INTERTANKO brought suit in 1995 challenging these rules as being constitutionally invalid given the substantial federal presence in the same areas of regulation.

Appeal By Pilot Association Disallowed

In another chapter (or paragraph) of the long-running disagreement between the association of U.S. pilots operating on the Great Lakes and the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the pilots’ association may not appeal a lower court decision to remand a rate dispute to the agency. Lake Pilots Association, Inc. v. U.S. Coast Guard, No. 03-5152 (D.C. Cir., March 9, 2004). (HK Law)

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 China Sea and that it has breached the Philippines' sovereign rights with its actions, infuriating Beijing, which dismissed the case as a farce.   Abe and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc were in Mongolia for a summit of Asian and European leaders, known as ASEM.   (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka)

FMC Dismisses Action Against SC State Port Authority

The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued an Order dismissing the proceeding against the South Carolina State Port Authority based on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that the state port authority, as an agency of the state of South Carolina, was entitled to sovereign immunity from complaints brought by citizens of another state in a federal forum. South Carolina Maritime Services, Inc. v. South Carolina State Ports

USCG and EPA Develop Initiative for Ballast Water Management

The US Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have developed an initiative for domestic ballast water management that would both legislatively overrule the 2006 federal court decision on ballast water discharges and be as consistent as possible with the IMO-sponsored International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship’s Ballast Water and Sediments, 2004.  Among other things, the proposal, if enacted, would largely preempt state governments from regulating ballast water issues concerning ships covered by the proposal. Source: HK Law

Alaska Gov Touts Offshore Oil Lease Ruling

According to an August 28 report from The Wall Street Journal, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell on August 28 praised a federal appeals court decision that he said will allow Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) to continue exploring for oil and gas in the Beaufort Sea. (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

MARAD Letter to EPA on Ballast Water Litigation

The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) sent a Letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expressing its concern over the pending litigation relating to ballast water discharges and the current exemption for such discharges from the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). MARAD is concerned about the long-term workability of applying the NPDES permitting regime to ballast water discharge. It is also concerned about the potentially crippling short-term impact that repeal of the normal operation exclusion could have pending any appeal of the court decision. (HK Law)

Firm Warns on Tanker Traders' Tricks

London law firm Lawrence Graham says owners chartering out tankers should fight to keep additional early loading clauses out of the charter party or specifically query each charterer's instruction to clarify laytime issues. The warning follows a High Court decision which Lawrence Graham says places owners at a disadvantage. Writing in the March issue of Lawrence Graham's newsletter, Shipping Lawgram, Stuart Dench, a member of the shipping law team, says, "The charterer, a major trader, uses its commercial muscle to modify a standard charter party to the owner's disadvantage. When it comes to a dispute over interpretation of the additional clauses, the owner can usually rely on arbitrators making a sensible commercial decision.

Supreme Court of Norway Denies Scanmar Appeal

Marport Deep Sea Technologies Inc., a developer of advanced sonar technology for commercial and military applications, announced that the Supreme Court of Norway has denied Scanmar’s appeal in their lawsuit against Marport. The litigation between Scanmar AS, Scantrawl AS and Henning Skjold-Larsen on one side (“Scanmar”) and Marport Canada Inc, Marport Iceland Ehf and Pronav AS on the other (“Marport”) has finally come to an end. The Supreme Court of Norway concluded that the case contains neither principal matters of importance nor any other circumstances which required an appeal to be heard. patents. Marport claimed the same patents to be invalid. The case was later extended to encompass Scanmar’s claim for compensation based on an alleged infringement of the Norwegian Marketing Act.

Aker Philly Shipyard Build Methodologies Confirmed in Court Decision

In a decision filed by the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has upheld the United States Coast Guard interpretation of the Jones Act as it relates to the modern building methods employed by Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. The decision rejected a lawsuit filed by the Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO. Aker Philadelphia Shipyard President and CEO, Jim Miller remarked “We wish to reiterate that Aker Philadelphia Shipyard is extremely proud to be building ships in full compliance with the legal requirements for vessels to be operated in the Jones Act trade. We are satisfied with the…

Exoneration from Liability versus Saving to Suitors

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a vessel owner filing a federal action for exoneration from or limitation of liability cannot prevent a state court action from going forward if the state claimant stipulates that: (1) federal jurisdiction controls limitation of liability; (2) he waives any claim of res judicata regarding a state court decision relating to limitation of liability; and (3) he would not seek any judgment or recovery in excess of the limitation fund. The vessel owner contended that, since the Limitation of Liability Act also addresses exoneration from liability, its action prevailed over any state court action regarding liability.

Supreme Court Orders Review Of W. Coast Tanker Rules

INTERTANKO's long fight to overturn what it sees as unfair and damaging tanker legislation in the U.S. West Coast region is gaining ground, as on Friday, September 10, 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a writ to the federal appellate court that reviews decisions in the western U.S. directing a review of that court's disposition of litigation challenging tanker regulations imposed by the State of Washington. The challenged Washington State regulations imposed on U.S. and foreign tankers carrying oil in Washington waters a number of unique regulations governing on-board equipment, technology, crew training and qualifications, and operational requirements.

U.S. Court Case against Bollinger Dismissed

Photo: Bollinger

The United States filed a complaint against Bollinger Shipyards, Inc. in July 2011 based on allegations that "Bollinger knowingly misled the Coast Guard to enter into a contract for the lengthening of Coast Guard cutters by falsifying data relating to the structural strength of the converted vessels." The case was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance on October 21, 2013. Chris Bollinger, President of Bollinger Shipyards, Inc., stated, “All of us in the Bollinger Shipyards…

ICS Criticises 'Prestige’ Judgement by Spanish Court

An oil cleanup volunteer holds up Comorant covered in oil from the sunken Prestige oil tanker on the coast of Galicia, Spain. Photo Greenpeace

At a meeting of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPCF) this week, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has strongly criticised the judgement of the Spanish Supreme Court in the ‘Prestige’ Case. This judgement (in January 2016, but discussed by the IOPC Funds this week) overturned that of a lower Spanish Court, in La Coruña in 2013, instead finding the Master criminally liable for damages to the environment and sentencing him to two years’ imprisonment (albeit likely to be suspended).

Royal Olympic Cruises Awaits Greek Court Decision

Royal Olympic Cruise Lines Inc. announced today that the Greek Court administrating the Section 45 proceeding regarding its subsidiaries is expected to issue a decision in the next few days. The Court had previously given the company until today to present a restructuring plan consented to by 51% of its creditors. Negotiations with Fortis Bank, the holder of more than 51% of the company's debt, are meanwhile continuing, in an attempt to secure the consent to a plan. The company also announced that Athens 2004, the group overseeing the Olympic Games to be held in Athens, has recalled in full the $1 million advance deposits paid to Royal Olympic Cruise Lines.

Carriers Ponder Dutch Ruling in CMR Dispute

Netherlands law firm AKD Prinsen Van Wijmen says a recent decision of the Dutch Supreme Court indicates that, whilst Holland remains an extremely carrier-friendly jurisdiction for disputes under the Convention on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR), a much stricter approach is to be adopted to the Act of God exemption from liability for loss and damage under CMR. In its April 24 decision in Philips Electronics NV v Vos Logistics, the Supreme Court upheld the earlier decisions of the court of first instance and the Court of Appeal in finding that Vos Logistics could not rely on the CMR Article 17 (2) Act of God defence in respect of the theft of a consignment of electrical goods whilst enroute by road from Belgium to Warsaw, Poland.

Salazar Statement on Leasing Court Ruling

U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued the following statement regarding the U.S. “I am pleased with the Court’s decision. Consistent with the Department’s request, the Court clarified that its prior ruling only applies to the Chukchi, Beaufort and Bering Seas. On April 17, 2009 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the entire 2007-2012 Outer Continental Shelf oil and natural gas leasing program, ruling that Bush Administration officials did not conduct sufficient scientific and environmental analysis before scheduling oil and gas lease sales on the Outer Continental Shelf off Alaska. The ruling came two years after lease sales had begun under the 2007-2012 OCS oil and natural gas leasing program.

Seized Moroccan Ship to Stay in South Africa, Court Rules

A South African court ruled on Thursday that a seized ship carrying a Moroccan cargo of phosphate from the disputed Western Sahara should remain in port until the case goes to trial or security is posted, a lawyer for the Polisario independence movement said. The Polisario Front alleges the 50,000 tonne shipment en route to New Zealand was illegally taken from Western Sahara territory and went to court to have the cargo seized. The case is a test of Polisario's new legal tactic in its long-running conflict with Morocco over Western Sahara, a disputed territory where the two sides fought a war until a 1991 ceasefire and where U.N. talks have failed to reach an accord.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Dec 2017 - The Great Ships of 2017

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