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Sunday, May 20, 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.

US Fines Shipping Company $1 Mln for Pollution Crimes

© Roy Ledford / MarineTraffic.com

A Japanese shipping company will have to pay $1 million after being convicted and sentenced for obstruction of justice and falsification of an Oil Record Book to cover-up intentional pollution from bulk carrier M/V Atlantic Oasis.The company Nitta Kisen Kaisha Ltd., owner and operater of the Atlantic Oasis, admitted that its engineers failed to document the illegal discharge of oily wastes from the vessel’s fuel and lubrication oil purifier systems, as well as discharges of oily bilge waste from the bilge holding tank and from the vessel’s bilges when delivering steel products to Wilmington…

Galveston Pilot Dispute: Round One goes to State Pilots

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / © dbvirago)

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…

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…

Settlement Reached In R.I. Oil Spill Case

The owner, operator and insurer of the vessel North Cape have agreed to restock 1.24 million lobsters and pay $8 million to restore other natural resources injured by the 1996 oil spill off the southern coast of Rhode Island. The Governor and federal officials announced that they have reached a "settlement in principle" with West of England Ship Owners Mutual Insurance Association, the insurer of the companies responsible for the spill. The trustees and responsible parties will draft a mutually acceptable consent decree, which must be submitted to the United States District Court for Rhode Island for approval. Commenting on the resolution…

Restoration Settlement Reached for the North Cape Oil Spill

The owner, operator and insurer of the vessel North Cape have agreed to restock 1.24 million lobsters and pay $8 million to restore other natural resources injured by the 1996 oil spill off the southern coast of Rhode Island. The Governor and federal officials announced that they have reached a "settlement in principle" with West of England Ship Owners Mutual Insurance Association, the insurer of the companies responsible for the spill. The trustees and responsible parties will draft a mutually acceptable consent decree, which must be submitted to the United States District Court for Rhode Island for approval. Commenting on the resolution…

Chief Engineer Pleads Guilty in Alaska

Je Yong Lee, Chief Engineer of the M/V Sohoh pled guilty in United States District Court to three federal felony crimes. Defendant Lee admitted to keeping and presenting a false log book that concealed the dumping of waste oil and sludge from his ship, obstructing a United States Coast Guard investigation and witness tampering for telling crew members to lie to a federal grand jury in Anchorage. The plea was announced by Timothy M. Burgess, United States Attorney for Alaska and Thomas L. Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. "Crimes against our environment, including those that take place in the waters off our coasts, will not be tolerated," said Sansonetti.

Court Orders Ferry Captain to Appear Before NTSB

Photo Credit: USCG Photo/Mike Hvozda The outside lower level of the Staten Island Ferry Andrew J. Barberi after it struck a pier killing ten people October 15, 2003. The Captain of the Ferry was ordered to appear before the NTSB. Gansas, the master of the M/V Andrew J. tomorrow for an NTSB interview. NTSB Chairman Ellen G. Engleman. pursuing safety and using every tool at our disposal. investigation. the Staten Island ferry, Andrew J. 70 others.

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.

DSM Gets Favorable Judgment in Trademark Lawsuit

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas concluded a judgment for patent and trademark infringement and related claims against Armor , on April 22, 2008. The judgment relates to DSM’s super strong polyethylene fiber Dyneema. With this judgment DSM was able to stop Armor from selling infringing products comprising polyethylene fiber on the market Armor is a based company with manufacturing operations in . DSM is a global life sciences and material sciences company with its headquarter based in the .

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…

Horizon Lines Acknowledges Suit

Horizon Lines, Inc. announced on Jan. 2 that it has been named as a defendant in a securities class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware purportedly on behalf of purchasers of the Company's common stock during the period from March 2, 2007 through April 25, 2008. The Chief Executive Officer of the Company, as well as several former employees of the company, were also named as defendants. The complaint alleges, among other things, that the company made material misstatements and omissions in connection with alleged price-fixing in the company's shipping business in Puerto Rico in violation of antitrust laws.

Hornbeck Offshore Says Class Action Lawsuits Without Merit

Hornbeck Offshore Services, Inc. announced that it has recently learned that purported class action lawsuits were reportedly filed against the Company and one or more senior executives or directors, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana related to disclosures under the securities laws. Based on its initial review of one of the complaints, Hornbeck Offshore believes that such lawsuits are without merit and intends to defend these suits vigorously. As a public company, Hornbeck Offshore maintains insurance coverage to address such matters. Management remains focused on the operation, development and growth of the Company.

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…

Hornbeck Announces Dismissal of Securities Class Action

Hornbeck Offshore Services, Inc. announced that the class action lawsuit previously filed against the Company and certain of its senior executives, relating to disclosures under the securities laws, has been voluntarily dismissed by the lead plaintiffs without any payment by the Company or its insurers. An order granting the dismissal of the case has been entered by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

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.

Rowan Enters Guilty Plea

Rowan Companies, Inc. (NYSE:RDC) announced that, pursuant to a plea agreement with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), it entered guilty pleas to three felony counts in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, in connection with environmental violations related to maintenance and operations of the offshore drilling rig Rowan-Midland during the period from 2002 through 2004. The Rowan-Midland was sold by the company in January 2007. Specifically, the Company pleaded guilty to (i) causing the discharge of a pollutant, abrasive sandblast media, into U.S. navigable waters, thereby violating the Clean Water Act, (ii) failing to immediately report the discharge of waste hydraulic oil into U.S.

False Citizenship Claim Leads to Conviction

R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Hal Robbins, Special Agent in Charge, Southeast Division, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Keith Perniciaro, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Jonathan Sall, Special Agent in Charge, United States Coast Guard Investigative Service, Southeast Region, announced today that defendant, David N. Straker, a citizen of Barbados residing in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, was convicted by guilty plea and sentenced by United States District Court Judge Paul Huck in Miami, Florida, in connection with the submission of false document to the United States Coast Guard, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001.

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.

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.  

Fomer Suncruz Owner Pleads Guilty

Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Jon Sall, Special Agent in Charge, United States Coast Guard Investigative Service; and Ricky D. Langlois, Special Agent in Charge, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division, announced that defendant, JAB America, Inc., pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge Kenneth A. Marra, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to charges that one of its vessels, the SunCruz VI, dumped garbage off its deck into waters of the United States while departing from Port Everglades on April 24, 2003, in violation of the Refuse Act, Title 33, United States Code, Sections 407 and 411.

Fishing Companies to Pay $400,000 for Pollution Claims

Challenge Fisheries LLC, Quinn Fisheries Inc., Charles Quinn II, and Charles Quinn III have agreed to pay a total of $414,000 in civil penalties and to perform fleet-wide improvements and other compliance assurance measures to resolve federal Clean Water Act claims stemming from oily bilge discharges from the commercial fishing vessel Challenge, and a related fuel oil discharge in August 2017 in New Bedford Harbor, Mass., the Department of Justice and the Coast Guard announced.In its complaint filed Monday, along with the lodging of a consent decree in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the United States alleges…

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover May 2018 - Marine Propulsion Edition

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