Marine Link
Sunday, April 22, 2018

Tauranga District Court News

Wrecked Container Ship 'Rena' Owners Face Maximum Penalty

A court hearing into charges faced by the company that owns the wrecked container ship Rena has been adjourned again. Daina Shipping had been due to appear in the Tauranga District Court today, but the hearing has been adjourned to 5, October (the anniversary of the grounding of the ship). Maritime New Zealand has laid the charges and the company faces a maximum fine of $600,000 plus an extra $10,000 for every day the offending continues.

Rena Wreck – Master & Second Officer Plead Guilty

Rena: Photo credit CCL NZ Defence Force

The Master and Second Officer of the cargo vessel Rena pleaded guilty to 10 out of the 11 charges laid by Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) against the men following an investigation into the ship's grounding on the Astrolabe Reef off Tauranga on 5 October. MNZ charged the Master and the ship’s Second Officer (Navigation) with a number of offences following the ship’s grounding. On 12 October, MNZ charged both men under section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act (MTA) 1994, “for operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk”.

Guilty 'Rena' Officers Serve Jail Terms, Go Free

Ship captain Mauro Balomaga, 44, and navigator Leonil Relon, 37, released after serving seven months in New Zealand prison. The pair  were sentenced to seven months' jail in May for operating a vessel in a manner likely to cause danger, discharging a contaminant and altering ship documents. With sentences under two years, the Filipino men were to be automatically released after serving half of their jail term.Balomaga's lawyer Paul Mabey confirmed to Fairfax NZ News that the pair were being released from Waikeria Prison and would then be deported to the Philippines. The men were charged under the Maritime Transport Act, Resource Management Act and Crimes Act after the Rena crashed on the Astrolabe Reef on October 5 last year.

UK Court Orders Russian Oligarch to Hand Over Superyacht in Divorce Fight

© Brank Gracin / MarineTraffic.com

Costa Concordia Victims Win U.S. Jurisdiction Victory

Survivors of the Costa Concordia grounding win a huge victory in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The District Judge ordered the claims of 104 survivors remanded to the Florida State Court for continued litigation. The court's February 15, 2013 order concerned two cases, Denise Abeid-Saba , et al., v. Carnival Corporation et al., (USDC-SDFla Docket No.: 12-CV-23513) and Scimone v. Carnival Corp., (USDC-S.D.Fla Docket No.: 12-CV-23505), together representing the claims of 104 plaintiffs injured when the huge ship capsized after grounding on rocks just off the shore of Isola del Giglio . Both cases were initially commenced in the Florida State Court against Carnival Corp. as the parent corporation as well as ship designers and the architect.

Supreme Court Denies Renewed Application by Stolt-Nielsen

Stolt-Nielsen announced that the Supreme Court of the United States has denied a Renewed Application originally submitted to Justice John Paul Stevens that would have kept in place an injunction by a federal district court preventing the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division from bringing charges against the company. The injunction was issued in January 2005 by the federal district court in Philadelphia and precluded criminal prosecution of the Company or its executives based on the validity of the amnesty agreement Stolt-Nielsen signed with the Antitrust Division in January 2003. In March 2006, a two-judge panel of the Third Circuit appeals court reversed the injunction on narrow separation of powers grounds…

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.

Port of Tauranga: Three New Services

Three new weekly container services are calling at Port of Tauranga, all from long term customers of the port. Pacific International Lines (PIL) - a Singapore based, family-owned company - have announced a new service coming out of the West Coast of the United States, calling Melbourne and Sydney in Australia and then Tauranga, before heading back to Brisbane, Taiwan and China. This new service will begin calling Tauranga in July. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) - also a privately owned company…

BP Says US Court Yet to Determine Penalty

Photo: BP

Oil major BP said on Thursday it will appeal a U.S. court decision that found it grossly negligent with respect to the Gulf of Mexico 2010 oil spill and added the court will hold additional proceedings due to begin next January. BP said it will immediately appeal to the United States Court of Appeals as it believes the findings of the District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana were not supported by the evidence at trial. "The law is clear that proving gross negligence is a very high bar that was not met in this case.

Court Calls Drilling Moratorium Arbitrary

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana issued an order preliminarily enjoining the federal government for enforcing its six-month moratorium of deepwater drilling on the U.S. outer continental shelf. The court found that the administrative record on which the moratorium is based was deficient and that the specifics of the moratorium were arbitrary and capricious. Hornbeck Offshore Services v. Salazar, No. 10-1663 (E.D. La., June 22, 2010). (Source: Bryant’s Maritime News)  

Summary Judgment Against Mass. Law

The American Waterways Operators (AWO) hailed a decision by the U.S. District Court, Massachusetts District, to recommend summary judgment against a 2004 Massachusetts oil spill statute. The decision was issued on July 29 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Leo Sorokin. A lawsuit brought by the U.S. Department of Justice challenged the constitutionality of the law, which was enacted in response to a 2003 accidental tank barge oil spill in Buzzards Bay. The Department of Justice lawsuit asserted that the Massachusetts oil spill law tried to make law in areas that are reserved exclusively to the Federal Government, specifically the U.S. Coast Guard. In 2006, the District Court affirmed the position of the U.S.

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.

Port of Tauranga Signs Freight Deal with Kotahi

(Photo courtesy of Port of Tauranga)

New Zealand's Port of Tauranga on Thursday said it had signed a 10-year agreement with domestic freight logistics company Kotahi to facilitate more large freight visits to the country's largest port. Under the agreement, Kotahi will provide export cargo containers to the Port of Tauranga and other ports operated by the company, it said. In addition, Kotahi will facilitate the introduction of 6,500 TEU (20-ft equivalent) ships by Maersk Line to New Zealand. The deal will see Port of Tauranga issue shares to Kotahi, which will take a stake in its Timaru Container Terminal.

Cruise Ship Doctor Subject to Local Law

The District Court of Appeal of the Florida Third District ruled that the state courts have personal jurisdiction over a doctor employed on a foreign cruise ship for alleged malpractice that occurred on the high seas where the doctor was served with the complaint while the ship was in a local port. In the instant case, the doctor allegedly failed to properly treat a woman passenger who prematurely went into labor while the ship was at sea near the Cayman Islands. The infant died shortly after birth. After suit was filed by the parents in state court in Miami, arrangements were made for personal service of the summons and complaint on the doctor onboard the ship while it was docked in Miami, its homeport and where the parents had originally embarked on the cruise.

Tiger Woods Comes Out at Yacht Builder

A federal court in Miami has ruled that golfer Tiger Woods’ lawsuit against Christensen Shipyards, Ltd. will proceed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and that an order enjoining Christensen from the unauthorized use of Woods’ name or photographs of his boat will remain in place. Woods filed his rights-of-publicity suit against Christensen last October in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The suit alleges that the luxury yacht manufacturer, based in Vancouver, improperly used Mr. Woods’ name, his wife’s name, and photographs of a yacht built for Woods in connection with the advertising and marketing of Christensen’s products. Mr. Woods also seeks injunctive relief from Christensen.

Trailer Bridge Dismissed from Antitrust Suit

Trailer Bridge, Inc. announced that in a non-final order of the court, the company has been dismissed with prejudice against the named plaintiffs from a lawsuit seeking class action status related to alleged anti-competitive activity in the Puerto Rico marine trade.  In an April 30, 2010 ruling by non-final order, the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico granted Trailer Bridge’s motion to be dismissed with prejudice from the lawsuit.  

Former Congress Lawyer to Serve as AdvanFort Legal Counsel

AdvanFort Company said attorney Sheila R. Schreiber has come onboard as its in-house legal counsel. Schreiber brings experience in the private and public sectors. She is a former litigation partner with Howrey LLP, served as counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary and has extensive experience in the national and international sales of industrial products. Her specialties include commercial, regulatory, employment, intellectual property, corporate and antitrust matters. Schreiber is a cum laude graduate of the University of Pittsburgh law school where she was a member of the Law Review. Her bar and court memberships include the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Marine Exhaust Systems Wins Patent Lawsuit

(L to R) Marine Exhaust Systems VP Darrin Woods, president Angela Woods, VP Sheila Prieschl and inventor and chairman Woodrow Woods (Photo courtesy Martin Flory Group)

On April 21, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida found that DeAngelo Marine Exhaust willfully infringed on two of Marine Exhaust Systems, Inc.'s U.S. patents and that these patents are valid and enforceable. The court also awarded Marine Exhaust $92,804 in damages and agreed to consider additional losses, as well as possibly tripling the final amount. In response, DeAngelo Marine Exhaust said it is appealing this decision to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which is the sole appellate court for reviewing patent infringement decisions.

Iraq to Appeal US Court Decision on Kurdish Oil

The Iraqi oil ministry said on Thursday it would challenge a U.S. court decision that stopped U.S. Marshals from seizing some one million barrels of disputed Kurdish oil docked near Texas. On Monday, a U.S. district court ruled in favour of a request by Iraq's Kurdish region that a demand by the Iraqi government for U.S. authorities to seize the Kurdish oil shipment be scrapped. However, the court gave Baghdad 10 days to resubmit its case. "The ministry of oil is emphasising that it is preparing the amended request and will forward it in the required period," the oil ministry said in a statement. "The decision of the court is only to lift the seizure of the shipment while at sea. Therefore they referred to American maritime law.

Liability when Both Vessels Violate COLREGS

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the determination of the federal district court regarding allocation of liability in a collision case where both ships had violated the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS). In the instant case, defendant’s tanker was entering Puget Sound. In accordance with federal law, it hired two of plaintiff’s vessels to provide escort service. In accordance with the pre-arranged transit plan, one of the escort vessels was to be tethered to the stern of the tanker and the other escort vessel was to position itself on the tanker’s port shoulder. Plans called for the two escort vessels to rendezvous with the tanker by proceeding on a course of 058 degrees true at 12.5 knots while the tanker…

Misplacing Benton Harbor results in dismissal of action

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the trial court’s decision to dismiss an admiralty action filed in the wrong district. In the instant case, plaintiff contracted to have cold-rolled steel shipped from Belgium to Benton Harbor, Indiana. The bills of lading provided, in pertinent part, that any action was to be brought in the federal district court having admiralty jurisdiction at the U.S. port of discharge. Plaintiff brought suit in federal court in Chicago. Defendant ship owner filed motions to dismiss for improper venue. Plaintiff argued, among other things, that Benton Harbor was within the "Port of Chicago" for purposes of Customs regulations.

Court allows September 11 lawsuits to proceed

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected motions by the defendants to dismiss lawsuits brought by persons injured by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and by decedent representatives. These plaintiffs brought suit against the airlines, airport security companies, airport operators, the airplane manufacturer, and the owners and operators of the World Trade Center, alleging negligence. Defendants moved to dismiss, asserting, among other things, that they owed no duty to plaintiffs and that they could not reasonably have anticipated that terrorists would hijack airplanes and crash them into buildings. The court ruled that defendants owed duties to plaintiffs sufficient to withstand motions to dismiss.

PGS Wins Patent Dispute with EMGS

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Petroleum Geo-Services ASA ('PGS' or the 'Company') today announces that Oslo District Court in its judgment of 13 February 2015 ruled in favor of PGS in the lawsuit filed by ElectroMagnetic GeoServices ASA ('EMGS') against PGS for patent infringement relating to PGS' Towed Streamer EM technology. The court found that EMGS' patent NO 324 454 (the 'EMGS Patent') is invalid and that PGS' Towed Streamer EM system therefore does not infringe the EMGS Patent. PGS was also awarded legal fees of NOK 15,292,917.

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