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.
American Pride: Working Hard in the US Dredging Industry
We have had a great first couple of months at the Dredging Contractors of America. As the new CEO and Executive Director, I have begun to visit the companies, their facilities and associated dredging projects. So far, I have surveyed the beach re-nourishment project in Ocean City, Md. undertaken by Great Lakes Dredge and Dock. I’ve canvassed Weeks Marine’s repair and yard facility in Jersey City, N.J. In the last week of February, I visited Mike Hooks Inc.’s corporate headquarters and boatbuilding and repair yard in West Lake, La.
Chinese Warships Enter East Indian Ocean
Eleven Chinese warships sailed into the East Indian Ocean this month, a Chinese news portal said, amid a constitutional crisis in the tiny tropical island chain of the Maldives now under a state of emergency. A fleet of destroyers and at least one frigate, a 30,000-tone amphibious transport dock and three support tankers entered the Indian Ocean, news portal Sina.com.cn said, without linking the deployment to the crisis in the Maldives or giving a reason. "If you look at warships and other equipment, the gap between the Indian and Chinese navy is not large," Sina.com.cn said on Sunday.
Skuld Says Joint Marine Insurance Has Legal Black Hole
It is neither controversial nor new to say that co-assureds under a joint insurance policy cannot claim against each other in respect of a co-insured loss. It is taken to be an implied term and the possibility of financial claims between co-assureds is irrelevant: the insurer will pay. If there are only two, an owner and a charterer, in the contractual chain, and if the charterer is held liable, then the matter goes no further: the insurer covers the loss and there is no recourse claim to be pursued. However, what happens if there is a guilty third party and the insurer wants to pursue a subrogated claim (against, say, a sub-charterer on materially back to back terms) to recover its financial outlay?
Effective Harassment Prevention Training
When is bad harassment prevention training worse than no training at all? When it comes with a wagging finger shaming employees whose only sin is being a little rough around the edges. When it emboldens opportunistic employees to seek an advantage they do not deserve. When it causes managers to cravenly subordinate legitimate operational considerations to political correctness. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not mandate a general civility code. Nor does it prohibit all verbal or physical harassment in the workplace.
Understanding Legal Liability in a Subchapter M Environment
There is more to SubM than just attention to safety. Protect yourself accordingly. In today’s environment, safety management systems for brown water marine operators are standard industry practice, whether they come in the form of the American Waterways Operators (AWO) Responsible Carrier Program (RCP) or the Tanker Safety Management Assessment (TSMA) framework developed by the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) for liquid carriers. However, with the full-fledged implementation of Subchapter M on the horizon…
US Court Rejects Frontline's Bid to Stop BW-DHT Deal
A U.S. court has rejected a last-minute effort by billionaire investor John Fredriksen's Frontline to prevent BW Group from acquiring a major stake in rival oil tanker firm DHT Holdings, DHT said on Thursday. The New York County Supreme Court's decision means that privately-owned BW Group, led by shipping tycoon Andreas Sohmen Pao, can proceed with the sale of 11 very large crude carriers (VLCCs) to DHT in exchange for DHT's shares. "The transaction will proceed as planned, and in fact the first ship is being transferred to DHT today…
BW Group Delivers First VLCC TO DHT
DHT Holdings, Inc. said it has taken delivery of the DHT Utik, the first of 11 very large crude carriers (VLCC) acquired from BW Group Limited in exchange for DHT's shares. The delivery was made despite a last-minute effort by rival oil tanker firm Frontline to prevent the deal that will bring BW's ownership in DHT to 33.5 percent, surpassing Frontline as DHT's top shareholder. Frontline’s lawsuit was rejected in New York County Supreme Court. Of the 11 VLCCs sold in the deal…
Frontline Takes Legal Battle over DHT to Marshall Islands
John Fredriksen's Frontline is switching its legal battle for control of tanker operator DHT Holdings from New York to the tiny Marshall Islands after making a fifth offer for the company this week. Frontline, controlled by Norwegian billionaire Fredriksen and owner of a 14.5 percent stake in DHT, has over the past year tried to acquire all of DHT's shares to forge the world's largest shipping tanker company. On Tuesday it made another all-share offer -- 0.8 of a Frontline share for each DHT share -- and set a 24-hour deadline for DHT to respond to the $500 million offer.
Marshall Islands Court Sets Date for Frontline Case against DHT
Oil tanker firm Frontline said on Friday the high court in the Marshall Islands has agreed to hear on May 17 its complaint against takeover target DHT Holdings, which is incorporated in the remote Pacific republic, over a rival deal with BW Offshore. Frontline, controlled by Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen and owner of a 14.5 percent stake in DHT, has been trying for the past year to take over its New York-listed rival and is opposing what it called "unfair transaction…
U.S. Sanctions Vens as Pressure Builds on Maduro
The Trump administration imposed sanctions on 13 senior Venezuelan officials as the country's opposition launched a two-day strike on Wednesday, heaping pressure on unpopular President Nicolas Maduro to scrap plans for a controversial new congress. Venezuela's long-time ideological foe the United States targeted the country's army and police chiefs, the national director of elections, and a vice president of the state oil company for alleged corruption and rights abuses. U.S. President Donald Trump spared Venezuela for now from broader sanctions against its vital oil industry, although such actions were still under consideration. U.S.
Fiat Chrysler Sues Shippers over Alleged Price Fixing
The automaker wants the Federal Maritime Commission to order payments from Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics AS and its sister company EUKOR Car Carriers Inc, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd, Compania Sud Americana de Vapores, Hoegh Autoliners AS and affiliated companies. Fiat Chrysler filed its complaint on Oct. 17. All but one of the shippers sued by Fiat Chrysler pleaded guilty and admitted to price fixing as part of a Justice Department investigation. The remaining firm, Hoegh, agreed last month to plead guilty and pay a $21 million criminal fine.
Norway's Arctic Oil Plan Violates Constitution, Lawsuit Says
Norway's plan for Arctic oil exploration is unconstitutional because it violates the right to a healthy environment, a lawyer for Greenpeace and the Nature and Youth environmental group told an Oslo court on Tuesday. The case is the first of its kind in Norway and says a 2015 oil licensing round in the Arctic that gave awards to Statoil , Chevron and others violates the constitution. Norway signed the 2016 Paris accord, which aims to end the fossil fuel era this century. The country is Western Europe's largest oil producer and oil and gas are its most important exports.
Wiswall Receives International Maritime Prize
Maritime lawyer Dr. Frank Lawrence Wiswall Junior, former Chair of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Legal Committee and Vice President (Honoris Causa) of the Comité Maritime International (CMI), has received the International Maritime Prize for 2015 for his contribution to the work of IMO over many years. Presenting the Prize, during a ceremony at IMO Headquarters on Monday, December 5, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim highlighted Dr. Wiswall's dedication and leadership in the field of international maritime law over several decades…