Five Common Mistakes in Maritime Contracts
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Henry de Bracton, DeLegibus, ~1240Often clients or prospective clients come to me with a commercial contract issue perched on the precipice of full-blown litigation or arbitration. When I ask to see the contract, often times I see errors in drafting that either (1) give rise to the problem before me or (2) could create a bigger problem for the client in the future.The risk of drafting error is higher for Europeans looking to contract with American companies.
Shipbreaking NGO Wins FPSO Case
The High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh declared the import, beaching and breaking of the infamous FPSO North Sea Producer illegal.The judgment was issued in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Shipbreaking Platform member organization Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA).The Court further noted with dismay the incessant violations of national and international laws by the shipbreaking industry, and passed several directions upon the government to regulate the sector in line with earlier rulings.Already in August 2017…
10th Annual Maritime Risk Symposium at Suny Maritime
3-Day Event Gathers Industry Leaders to Focus on Risks to the Marine Transportation SystemFrom November 13-15, the 10th annual Maritime Risk Symposium (MRS) will take place at SUNY Maritime College bringing together academics, government, and commercial entities to discuss threats, challenges, and risks associated with the Marine Transportation System (MTS).Key industry leaders participating in the event include First Coast Guard District Commander Rear Admiral Andrew Tiongson, MARAD Administrator Mark “Buz” Buzby, and New York State Supreme Court Judge John Ingram. “A resilient Marine Transportation System is imperative to our Nation’s economic prosperity and national security…
Duterte Readies to Raise Ruling with China
When Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte visits China this week, he'll need to salvage something from a "pivot" to Beijing that has left him empty-handed, and exposed his neighbours to a new level of brinkmanship in the South China Sea.Despite his huge domestic popularity and great affection for China, Duterte is under growing pressure to push back at its growing maritime assertiveness. After avoiding the issue for three years, he has vowed to raise with President Xi Jinping a 2016…
Exercising Maritime Liens Against Cargo and Sub-Freights
Vessel owners rarely carry cargo for their own account. More commonly by far, a vessel owner will charter its vessel to another party to carry their (or their sub-charterer’s) cargo. The contracts can vary widely – from voyage charters or contracts of affreightment to time charters to negotiable bills of lading (not to mention the more complex arrangements that one often sees for container cargos). But in most instances, vessel owners are in the business of transporting cargo on behalf of others and, all going well, of being paid to do so.
Gibraltar Releases Iranian Tanker Grace 1
Gibraltar has released the Iranian tanker Grace 1, according to the Gibraltar Chronicle."Authorities in Gibraltar have released the Iranian supertanker Grace 1, which was seized on July 4 on suspicion it was shipping 2.1 million barrels of crude oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions," the newspaper said.The chief justice of Gibraltar's supreme court, Anthony Dudley, said there was no U.S. application currently before the court.A spokesman for the Stena Impero tanker, seized by Iran last month, said the situation remained the same with the Stena Impero and that the company awaited further developments from the United Kingdom and Iran.(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton; editing by Michael Holden)
Iranian Ship Departs Brazil, Second Bulker to Follow
An Iranian ship called Bavand, which had been at the heart of a geopolitical spat between Brasilia and Tehran, set sail from Brazil on Monday after receiving fuel from state-run Petroleo Brasileiro , the port of Paranaguá said.Meanwhile, a second Iranian ship, the Termeh, which set sail from Paranaguá port two days ago, was on Monday heading to the southern Brazilian port of Imbituba, where it is due to pick up a shipment of corn before heading back to Iran.The ships were stranded after Brazil's state oil company, known as Petrobras, refused to sell them bunker fuel in the wake of U.S.
Brazil Court orders Petrobras to Refuel Iran Vessels
Brazil's top court on Thursday ordered state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA to refuel two Iranian grain vessels stranded on the Brazilian coast due to U.S. sanctions holding up sales of fuel needed for their return trips.Chief Justice Dias Toffoli overturned a lower court ruling that allowed Petrobras, as the oil major is known, to refrain from fueling the vessels.Petrobras had denied service, citing the risk of consequences from U.S. sanctions. However, the risk is reduced if it is simply obeying a Supreme Court ruling…
Iran Denies Drone Loss, Gibraltar to Detain Grace 1 longer
Iran on Friday denied President Donald Trump's assertion that the U.S. Navy has destroyed one of its drones, saying all of its unmanned planes were accounted for, amid growing international concern that both sides could blunder into a war in the Gulf.In the latest episode to test nerves around the strategic waterway, Trump said on Thursday the drone had flown to within 1,000 yards (914 metres) of the U.S. warship Boxer in a "provocative and hostile action" and had ignored several…
Iran: UK Tanker Detention a 'threatening act'
Britain's detention of an Iranian tanker last week was a threatening and incorrect action, Iran's Defence Minister Amir Hatami said on Monday in a speech broadcast live on state television.Royal Marines seized the tanker on Thursday for trying to take oil to Syria in violation of European Union sanctions, a dramatic intervention that sparked Tehran’s fury and could escalate its confrontation with the West.Gibraltar received permission from its supreme court to hold the tanker for 14 days…
Gibraltar Extends Iranian Tanker Detention
Gibraltar said on Friday it had obtained an order extending the detention of the Iranian Grace I supertanker by 14 days because there were grounds to believe it was breaking sanctions by taking oil to Syria."The Supreme Court has issued today's order on the basis that there are reasonable grounds to consider that the detention of the Grace 1 is required for the purposes of compliance with the EU Regulation 36/2012 on sanctions on Syria," the government of the British overseas territory on the southern tip of Spain said in a statement.Reporting by Paul Sandle
U.S. Court to Decide Who Will Control Citgo
A U.S. court will decide whether a board of directors appointed by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro or one backed by his rival, opposition leader Juan Guaido, runs the eighth-largest U.S. refiner, Citgo Petroleum Corp.A lawsuit filed by Maduro's representatives on Tuesday in Delaware Chancery Court seeks to reassert control over Citgo , along with other U.S. subsidiaries of PDVSA , the Venezuelan state-run oil company.Citgo, Venezuela's most important foreign asset, has been caught in a tug-of-war as U.S.
U.S. to Deploy Hospital Ship to Venezuela
As tensions with Venezuela mount, the United States is planning to announce on Tuesday the deployment of a military hospital ship to the region, U.S. officials say, in the latest sign of the Pentagon's limited, and targeted, involvement in the crisis.The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not specify where in the region the ship would travel to. Last year, a hospital ship -- the USNS Comfort -- cared for Venezuelan refugees and others as it stopped in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Honduras.The U.S. military's Southern Command, which oversees U.S.
Supreme Court Rules on Asbestos Liability
The United States Supreme Court held that, in the maritime tort context, a product manufacturer has a duty to warn when its product requires incorporation of a part that the manufacturer knows or has reason to know that the integrated product is likely to be dangerous for its intended uses and the manufacturer has no reason to believe that the product’s users will realize that danger. In the instant case, the manufacturers produced equipment for three Navy ships. The equipment required asbestos insulation or asbestos parts to function as intended…
Norway's Snow Crab Ruling Boosts Oil Claim
A court delivered a painful nip to European Union fishermen on Thursday by tightening Norway's grip on snow crab catches in the Arctic, a ruling that may also let Oslo claw more control of oil and gas from other nations.Fishermen from the European Union must ask permission from Oslo to catch snow crab — whose meat is a delicacy for gourmets from Canada to Japan — in Arctic waters north of Norway, the Norwegian Supreme Court said in a unanimous ruling.The court dismissed an appeal…
Regulatory Reform: Good Ideas … Ready to Start?
Regulatory reform is one of President Trump’s priority agenda items. Upon taking office, the President issued a number of Executive Orders focusing attention and demanding action on the myriad of regulations impacting American businesses.Last May, the reform spotlight fell on maritime regulations when the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), published a Request for Information (RFI) on how the government should “prudently manage regulatory costs imposed on the maritime sector.” OMB…
Keel Laid for Future USNS Puerto Rico
A ceremony celebrating the keel authentication of the Navy’s 11th Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport ship, the future USNS Puerto Rico (EPF 11), was held last week at Austal USA’s Mobile, Ala. shipyard.A keel laying is the formal recognition of the start of a ship’s construction, as the keel is the symbolic backbone of a ship. The keel was said to be “truly and fairly laid” as it was authenticated by the ship’s sponsor, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, by welding…
Court Dismisses Claim against Armada Seismic Invest II
The Supreme Court has dismissed claims of EUR 9 mln (USD 10.51 mln) from Norway's PGS Geophysical (UK) Limited against Armada Seismic Invest II AS in connection with the delivery of 3D seismic vessel Polar Duchess, said a press release from GC Rieber Shipping ASA. The Norwegian shipping company that operates offshore subsea support vessels said in a stock exchange annoucement: "Reference is made to the stock exchange announcement 29 May 2018, where it was announced that PGS had appealed Gulating Court of Appeal`s decision in PGS claim of approx.
Schlumberger Wins in US Supreme Court on Patent Damages
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday that companies can recover profits lost because of the unauthorized use of their patented technology abroad in a victory for Schlumberger NV, the world's largest oilfield services provider.The 7-2 decision overturned a lower court's ruling that had enforced limits on applying U.S. patent law overseas and reduced by $93.4 million the damages sum that rival ION Geophysical Corp had to pay for infringing Schlumberger technology that helps find oil and gas beneath the ocean floor.
Indian Fishermen Hail US Supreme Court Decision to Hear World Bank Suit
Farmers and fishermen in western India have welcomed a U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear their lawsuit against a World Bank agency, which financed a power plant they blame for damaging the environment and their livelihoods.The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal by the villagers of a lower court ruling that the International Finance Corp (IFC) was immune from such lawsuits under federal law.The court must now consider for the first time whether international organisations are immune from such suits under federal law…
Galveston Pilot Dispute: Round One goes to State Pilots
Federal Pilots to appeal. Local spat has regional and national implications. The Galveston-Texas City Pilots and the five-member Board of Pilot Commissioners for Galveston County are facing a serious legal challenge from five pilot applicants and their local attorney. In a nutshell, local, federally licensed and similarly qualified pilots want to compete for business in a previously closed space. In Texas, like virtually every other U.S. state, a local group of pilots – so-called…
Tugboats & Vessel Response Plans
Traditionally, tugs and towboats (hereinafter tugs) have largely been uninspected vessels of the United States. They were subject to basic examinations by the U.S. Coast Guard, but the standards were little higher than those applicable to recreational craft. These tugs were also subject to examination by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The OSHA examinations were rare, but when they took place any violations found could be costly. After one of the OSHA penalty cases was litigated all the way to the U.S.
Four Bunker Barges Seized in Singapore over Unpaid Debt
Singapore law firm asks for vessels to be arrested; bunker barges owned by Vermont UM Shipping. Four marine refuelling barges owned and operated by Vermont UM Shipping Pte Ltd were seized in Singapore on Monday night, according to the website of Singapore's Supreme Court. Singaporean law firm Rajah & Tann seized the vessels over unpaid claims on behalf of its client, Malayan Banking Berhad, or Maybank, said a source with direct knowledge of the matter who declined to be identified as the person is not authorised to speak to the media. The source declined to specify the amount of the claims against Vermont UM Shipping. Rajah & Tann did not respond to an emailed request for comment. Maybank also did not respond to an emailed request for comment.