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Monday, November 19, 2018

United States District Court News

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.

Somali Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Piracy

Jama Idle Ibrahim, a/k/a Jaamac Ciidle, pled guilty on September 8 to conspiracy to commit piracy under the law of nations and conspiracy to use a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Shawn Henry, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, announced. The charges stem from a violent act of piracy in the Gulf of Aden against a merchant vessel, the MV/CEC Future, that began in November 2008. Ibrahim, 38, of Somalia, entered the guilty plea this morning before the Honorable Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the piracy conspiracy count and 20 years for the firearm conspiracy count.

Court: BP Employees Can't Be Charged Under Seaman's Manslaughter Law

   The 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard)

A federal court ruled on Wednesday that BP well site leaders on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig cannot be charged with seaman's manslaughter in the deaths of eleven workers that died during the 2010 rig explosion because they were not seamen. A federal grand jury in Louisiana had indicted Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, the top ranking BP employees on the rig, with 23 counts, including 11 counts of seaman's manslaughter. The United States District Court for the Eastern District…

Horizon Lines Successfully Amends Credit Agreement

Horizon Lines, Inc. (NYSE: HRZ) today announced that it has entered into a credit agreement amendment with its lender group, effective March 9, 2011, providing the company with additional flexibility as it moves forward with its overall debt refinancing efforts. The amendment waives a default under the senior credit facility that would have arisen from the $45 million fine that the company has agreed to pay to settle the Department of Justice investigation, upon acceptance of the Plea Agreement by the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.

Oil Spill Response: Responder Immunity Analyzed

On February 16, 2016, Judge Carl J. Barbier of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana granted summary judgment in favor of the various commercial oil spill response companies involved in the federal government’s response to the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The responders had been sued by numerous individuals claiming that they incurred damages, including personal injury and/or medical monitoring claims for exposure or other injury resulting from the post-explosion and spill clean-up efforts. Plaintiffs fell into five categories: (1) crew involved in the Vessels of Opportunity (VoO) program…

Treasure Hauled from SS Central America Shipwreck

Gold coins and a gold box lie in situ on the site of another shipwreck (Black Swan) site salvaged by Odyssey Marine Exploration (Photo courtesy of Odyssey Marine Exploration)

Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. has placed operational reports and inventories of items recovered from the SS Central America shipwreck site on the company's website at shipwreck.net/ssca.php. These items were initially filed under seal in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, Norfolk Division. Chief U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith has allowed the reports to be unsealed and made available to the public. Odyssey has been working since April 2014 under contract to Ira Owen Kane, the receiver for Recovery Limited Partnership (RLP).

Korea's Doorae Shipping Fined $750K for Illegal Discharge

Sunrise off of Oahu. (Photo: Greg Trauthwein)

United States District Court Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi accepted the guilty plea of Doorae Shipping Co., LTD, a South Korean maritime operations company, and sentenced the company to pay a fine of $750,000, a community service payment of $200,000, and a term of two years of probation for the failure to maintain an accurate oil record book, in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, and making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard concerning the discharge of oil contaminated bilge water.

Cruise Ship Hot-Tubbing Literally May Cost an Arm & a Leg

A US District Court Class action alleges flesh-eating bacteria lurking In cruise lines' hot tubs. Tab Lankford, who was cruising on the ship Carnival Paradise on December 17, 2011, claims he contracted "hot tub folliculitis" from a Carnival whirlpool. The severe infection nearly cost him his leg. "The entire leg turned black and they wanted to amputate," said his attorney, John Billera. After a week in the hospital and $70,000 in medical bills later, Mr. Lankford's leg was saved, but he still bears the scars from the flesh-eating infection. When Mr. Lankford contacted Carnival regarding his infection, he claims a guest relations specialist told him that there were more than fifty other passengers on the same cruise who came down with the same illness from using the hot tubs.

Life in Prison for Somali Pirates who Murdered Four Americans

Somali nationals Ahmed Muse Salad, a/k/a “Afmagalo,” 25, Abukar Osman Beyle, 20, and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar, 29, who were previously found guilty by jury of all 26 counts charged to include piracy, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, hostage taking resulting in death, kidnapping resulting in death and multiple firearms offenses, were sentenced today by a federal jury. The three defendants were sentenced to life-in-prison for their roles in the February 22, 2011 murder of four Americans aboard the sailing vessel Quest.

Transocean in U.S. Federal Court on BP Obligations

Transocean Files Motion for Summary Judgment in U.S. Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc. (TODDI), a subsidiary of Transocean Ltd., today filed a motion for summary judgment in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana requesting the court to compel BP to honor its contractual obligation to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Transocean for damages associated with BP's failure to contain flow from its Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The contract between BP and Transocean for the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig contains industry-standard reciprocal indemnity provisions that apportion risk and quantify liabilities between the two companies.

Pilot of Grounded Tug Sentenced for Negligence

The pilot of a tow vessel that ran aground in June 2014 was sentenced for negligence. Gerold Holt Bosarge was sentenced June 12 in United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama to a violation of Title 46, United States Code, Section 2302(b), Negligent Operations and Interfering with Safe Operations, a class A misdemeanor, United States Attorney Kenyen R. Brown of the Southern District of Alabama announced. Bosarge received one year of probation. The conduct occurred June 2, 2014, when Bosarge was piloting the tow vessel Lady Lone Star pushing a 175 foot barge loaded with 171,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The vessel ran aground in Bayou St. John just north of Ono Island and Perdido Pass. The vessel was approximately one mile off course from the Intracoastal Waterway.

Transocean Steers Clear of BP Punitive Damages

'Deepwater Horizo' Photo USCG

Transocean Ltd. informs it has received a decision by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana on phase one of litigation related to the April 20, 2010 Macondo well incident involving the Deepwater Horizon. [Background:a US judge has ruled BP was "grossly negligent" in the lead-up to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. •    Contractual indemnity: The Court found that BP's contractual agreement to indemnify Transocean for compensatory damages is valid and enforceable.

Coast Guard Foundation Announces New Leaders

Clay Maitland has served on the Foundation’s Board for 16 years.

Robert J. Flynn Elected Chairman of the Board. ADM Thad Allen and Clay Maitland among an impressive slate of of 11 others. The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education, welfare and morale of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that in accordance with its bylaws, a new slate of officers has been elected to serve on the Board of Trustees, beginning January 1, 2012. Robert J. Flynn was elected Chairman of the Board at the organization’s annual meeting in the fall. Joining Mr. Flynn as officers are Al J. Bernard, vice chairman; William E.

Update: SS Central America Salvage

Coins recovered from the shipwreck of SS Central America (Photo: Odyssey Marine Exploration)

Deep-ocean exploration company Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. has completed the current phase of the recovery operations on the SS Central America shipwreck project. The recovery ship, Odyssey Explorer, has returned to Charleston, South Carolina, for necessary repairs and installation of new equipment, which is expected to take approximately two to three weeks. In addition to more than 15,500 gold and silver coins, 45 gold bars and hundreds of other gold nuggets, gold dust, jewelry and artifacts recovered from the shipwreck site over the past five months…

Somali Pirates Sentenced for the Murder of Four Americans

Somali nationals Ahmed Muse Salad, a/k/a “Afmagalo,” 27, Abukar Osman Beyle, 33, and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar, 31, who were previously found guilty of piracy, murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, violence against maritime navigation, conspiracy to commit violence against maritime navigation resulting in death, kidnapping resulting in death, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, hostage taking resulting in death, conspiracy to commit hostage taking resulting in death and multiple firearms offenses, were sentenced this week. Salad, Beyle and Abrar were all sentenced to 21 life sentences, 19 consecutive life sentences and two concurrent life sentences…

Diana Shipping Fined $1.1 Million

Diana Shipping Inc. today announced that its subsidiary, Diana Shipping Services S.A. (DSS), was sentenced by the United States District Court in Norfolk, Virginia to a fine of $1,100,000 and a period of probation of three years and six months as a result of a conviction earlier this year by which DSS was held vicariously liable for the illegal acts of the M/V Thetis's Chief Engineer and second Engineer who were found guilty by the Court of violating several U.S. statutes and regulations in failing to properly handle bilge wastes, maintain required records and for obstruction of justice. The Director and Treasurer of DSS, Mr. Ioannis Zafirakis…

US Fines Korean Shipper for 2nd Pollution Violation

United States District Court Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi accepted the guilty plea of Doorae Shipping Co., LTD, a South Korean maritime operations company, and sentenced the company to pay a fine of $275,000, and a term of three years of probation for the failure to maintain an accurate oil record book, in violation of the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. According to the Information to which Doorae pled guilty, the operation of a marine vessel, such as the B. Pacific, a petroleum oil tank ship registered under the flag administration of the Marshall Islands, and operated by Doorae, generates large quantities of waste oil and oil-contaminated waste water. International and U.S. law requires that these vessels use pollution prevention equipment to preclude the discharge of these materials.

Attorneys Press US$400-million Claim Against Cruise Company

New York law firm Ronai & Ronai file a compensation claim on behalf of a victim of the 'Costa Concordia' shipwreck. The federal lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of the family of Hungarian violinist Sandor Feher, seeking $400 million in damages for gross negligence against the cruise ship companies, Carnival PLC, Carnival Corporation and Costa Crociere, S.P.A. Sandor Feher, was a promising musician who died while trying to help evacuate other passengers after the occurrence. In the lawsuit, Ronai & Ronai, LLP,  also ask for punitive damages against the cruise companies…

Jury DeIivers Verdict on ION Geophysical Survey Patent Lawsuit

ION Geophysical Corporation announce verdict on marine survey streamer control system, vow to overturn it. ION Geophysical Corporation announce the jury returned a verdict against Ion in a patent infringement lawsuit filed against them by WesternGeco L.L.C. in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The lawsuit alleged that ION's DigiFIN™ lateral streamer control system infringed several method and apparatus claims contained in four WesternGeco U.S. patents regarding control systems for marine seismic streamer steering devices. The jury found that ION willfully infringed the claims contained in WesternGeco's patents and awarded WesternGeco the sum of $105.9 million in damages, consisting of $12.5 million in reasonable royalty and $93.4 million in lost profits.

Petrobras' Condensed Report for 3Q, 2014

iii) Knowledge by Petrobras, the December 3, 2014, the statements given in the context of the collaboration agreement awarded Mr. Julio Gerin de Almeida Camargo (Toyo Group) and Mr. iv) Citation Petrobras, the December 9, 2014, relating to collective action (class action) filed by Mr. Peter Kaltman court in the US (United States District Court, Southern District of New York). We believe that other actions possibly be consolidated with the action of Mr. v) Filing by the Federal Public Ministry, the December 11, 2014, criminal proceedings against various people, including the former director Paulo Roberto Costa Petrobras and other business managers for passive corruption, bribery, organization criminal, money laundering and use of false documents.

Court Approves Gold Recovery from Historic Shipwreck

Gold recovered by Odyssey Marine Exploration from another shipwreck as part of the Tortugas project

Deep-ocean exploration company Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc., has been awarded the exclusive contract to conduct an archaeological excavation and recover the remaining valuable cargo from the SS Central America shipwreck located approximately 160 miles off the coast of South Carolina. The ship, which was immortalized in the best-selling book, "Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea," sank in 1857 with one of the largest documented cargoes of gold ever lost at sea. Odyssey was selected for the project by Ira Owen Kane…

BP on Gulf Oil Spill Trial

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The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana yesterday ruled on the issues raised in the Phase 2 trial of the Deepwater Horizon case: the quantification of oil spilled and BP’s source control efforts following the accident. The Court found that 3.19 million barrels of oil were discharged into the Gulf of Mexico and therefore subject to a Clean Water Act (CWA) penalty. In addition, the Court found that BP was not grossly negligent in its source control efforts. No penalty has yet been determined.

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.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Nov 2018 - Workboat Edition

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