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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Supreme Court News

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.

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.

Stolt-Nielsen Appeal Fails in Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter on July 25 rejected an emergency appeal from Stolt-Nielsen SA to freeze the Justice Department's pursuit of antitrust charges against it. Stolt-Nielsen has challenged the power of government prosecutors to revoke an amnesty agreement shielding it from prosecution over an alleged plot to divvy up customers in the parcel shipping business, which involves the transport of bulk liquids such as chemicals. The company's emergency petition asked the U.S. Supreme Court to bar lower court proceedings against it and a U.S.-based executive, Richard Wingfield, while a separate appeal to the Supreme Court on underlying legal issues was pending. Souter, acting for the court, turned away that request.

US Supreme Court Hears Intertanko Oral Argument

On Dec. 7 the US Supreme Court heard the oral arguments of Intertanko, the US federal government, and the State of Washington in the State of Washington tanker regulations case. The hearing lasted just over one hour, with the Intertanko counsel using 15 minutes, the Justice Department 15 minutes and the lawyer for Washington State 30 minutes. This was followed by questions from the justices and a final summing up, with two minutes allowed to each of the three parties. Intertanko's US legal counsel, Jonathan Benner, reports that the nine Supreme Court justices were well prepared and understood the arguments. The questions put to the Intertanko and the US federal government attorneys were 'reasonable and sought clarification of certain points'.

Alaska Upholds City of Valdez Tax on Large Vessels

On April 25, 2008, the Alaska Supreme Court held that a City of Valdez property tax, apportioned based on days docked in the City over days docked everywhere and imposed on large vessels, did not violate the Due Process, Commerce or Tonnage Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. City of Valdez v. Polar Tankers, S-12218/12223, Supreme Court of Alaska (April 25, 2008). In 2000, the City of Valdez (the "City") adopted a personal property tax (the "Vessel Tax") to compensate for its declining oil and gas property revenues. Revenues were declining as a result of a depreciation formula negotiated by the State of Alaska and the owners of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (the "TAPS"), which included Conoco Phillips and Exxon Mobil, in the mid-1980s.

Stolt-Nielsen Seeks Supreme Court Review

The AP has reported that Stolt-Nielsen will seek a Supreme Court review of a federal appeals court reversal of a decision that would allow the company to be prosecuted for antitrust activity. Previously, Stolt-Nielsen cooperated with the government in criminal antitrust prosecutions of the international carrier industry. The Department of Justice kicked Stolt-Nielsen out of the government's corporate leniency program for allegedly continuing illegal anticompetitive activity longer than it acknowledged. In January 2005, a district court judge issued an injunction stopping the Department of Justice from prosecuting Stolt-Nielsen. However, in March, a federal appeals court reversed the injunction. Earlier this month, the U.S.

UAE Top Court: Physical Bunkers Suppliers Have No Right to Recourse against Owners/Charterers

File photo: OW Bunker

The OW saga - UAE Federal Supreme Court decides that physical suppliers of bunkers have no right to recourse against Owners/Charterers. In the first decision on the issue from the most senior court in the country, the UAE Federal Supreme Court has decided that physical suppliers of bunkers have no right of recourse against Owners/Charterers where there is a contractual sale and purchase chain. The Supreme Court has concluded that there are two separate contracts. One contract…

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Exxon Valdez Appeal

The US Supreme Court issued an order granting the petition for a writ of certiorari in the case of Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker and denying certiorari in the cross-petition of Baker v. Exxon Shipping Co. The Court has agreed to hear argument on and decide three issues: (1) whether Exxon is liable in punitive damages for the actions of the master of the EXXON VALDEZ; (2) whether the penalty provisions of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act preempt judge-made punitive damages for the same conduct; and (3) what are the appropriate standards for awarding punitive damages under general maritime law. Briefs filed with the Court in favor of or opposed to granting the writ of certiorari are available at Exxon Valdez Supreme Court Filings. [Source: HK Law]

Navy Photo of the Day

Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Dr. Donald C. Winter, right, and Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Gary Roughead depart the United States Supreme Court after giving testimony for the use of sonar in naval training exercises off the coast of . The Supreme Court will decide a dispute between the U.S. Navy and conservationists over sonar use during naval training exercises off the coast of . U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien

Transocean's Brazil Offshore Injunction Partially Suspended

Petrobras announce the Supreme Court of Justice partially suspends the injunction ordering shutdown of Transocean activities. This suspension by the Supreme Court of Justice, which is in response to an action filed by Brazil's National Petroleum Agency (ANP), allows for – "Transocean to continue its activities in Brazil, in locations other than Frade field".  

Supreme Court to Determine NJ/Delaware Boundary

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the dispute between the states of New Jersey and Delaware regarding the boundary in the Delaware River. The dispute, which has been simmering for many years and is based on old colonial land grants, came to a head when Delaware asserted the right to block construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility on the New Jersey side of the river. (HK Law)

Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Cruise Ship ADA Case

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case involving whether the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to foreign cruise ships that embark passengers at U.S. ports. A decision is expected this summer. Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line, Ltd., No. 03-1388 (HK Law).

U.S. Supreme Court To Review FMC Case

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to review the case of South Carolina State Ports Authority v Federal Maritime Commission. The case concerns the issue of whether the FMC has jurisdiction to conduct a privately initiated administrative adjudication against a state-run marine terminal operator. Source: Maritime Advocate

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.

Ex-'Exxon Valdez' Refused Entry by India

Exxon Valdez Aground: Photo credit NOAA US Govt.

The ship, now known as the "Oriental Nicety," entered Indian waters last week and was headed for Gujarat, when the Supreme Court gave its order, according to a news report in 'The Times of India'. The ship was bought recently by the Hong Kong-based subsidiary of an Indian shipbreaking firm and was being taken to the coastal town of Alang, the hub of India's shipbreaking industry, for dismantling. After the court's order, Gujarat maritime authorities and the state's pollution control authorities withdrew the permission they had granted to the company to anchor the ship near the Alang beach.

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 historic title over the waters of the South China Sea and that it had breached the Philippines' sovereign rights with various actions in the sea, infuriating Beijing which dismissed the case. None of China's reefs and holdings in the Spratly Islands entitled it to a 200-mile exclusive economic zone, the court decided. China's Supreme Court made no direct mention of the South China Sea or The Hague ruling, but said its judicial interpretation was made in accordance with both Chinese law and the U.N.

Italian Ship to Depart after 3-Month India Detention

Agreeing that Italian ship Enrica Lexie is not the “object of crime”, the Supreme Court has allowed the detained vessel to leave Indian waters and continue with its voyage nearly three months after two marines on board allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen, mistaking them for pirates, reports 'The Indian Express'. A Bench of Justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale passed the order freeing the ship after the vessel’s owners and Italian government assured the court that they would secure the presence of six crew members and four remaining marines as and when required by any Indian court or lawful authority for investigation or trial. The marines, of course, have the right to contest any such summons before a competent court in India, the court clarified.

California SECA Regulations Upheld by Supreme Court

The Court did not provide an explanation of why it decided not to take this particular case. No further legal action is being considered. All ocean-going vessels calling at California’s ports are required to comply with these regulations when the vessel comes within 24 miles of the Californian coast. See the article in WN 27/2012 for the most recent advisory issued by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regarding these regulations. In July 2011 INTERTANKO joined an industry coalition in filing an amicus curiae brief in support of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association’s (PMSA) petition Supreme Court review of the 9th Circuit’s decision upholding the constitutionality of the California vessel fuel sulphur restrictions.

Jones Act Doesn't Preempt State

The Supreme Court of Texas ruled that a state law respecting a procedural framework for claims for personal injury allegedly caused by silica and asbestos is not preempted by the federal law regarding claims for personal injury of crewmembers (the Jones Act). In the instant case, the plaintiff alleged injury from asbestos and silica while employed by defendant corporation aboard a vessel. He brought suit in state court under the Jones Act. Plaintiff failed to comply with certain procedural requirements of the state law and the defendant moved to have the case transferred to another court in accordance with the state law. Plaintiff opposed the transfer, arguing that the Jones Act preempted the state law. The court hearing the motion agreed with the plaintiff and the defendant appealed.

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).

Organizations File Briefs in Support of Stolt-Nielsen Case

Nine separate organizations, including a foreign sovereign government, leading trade associations and other groups have filed amicus curiae briefs with the Supreme Court of the United States urging the Court agree to hear the Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. United States case. Stolt-Nielsen S.A. expressed its appreciation that these organizations urged review of a decision by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which held that federal courts lack the authority to enforce prosecutors' promises pre-indictment, which is in conflict with the decisions of the Seventh Circuit. "In breaching its promises with Stolt-Nielsen, the Department of Justice overstepped any legitimate prosecutorial boundary," James B.

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.

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.

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

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