Marine Link
Monday, November 20, 2017

German Court News

Landmark ECJ Ruling on Liability Limitation for Cargo Theft

Jos van der Meché

Rotterdam based law firm AKD said a recent landmark decision of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg definitively puts its weight behind forum shopping to limit liability under the CMR Convention in carrier-friendly countries. This is a boon to the Dutch jurisdiction and specifically comes at the expense of the courts in Germany. The ruling had its origins in a dispute between cargo interests and carriers involving the theft of four consignments of Canon cameras during…

Somali Pirate Sentenced to 12 Years by German Court

A German court sentenced a Somali asylum-seeker to 12 years in jail on Thursday, for his involvement in the pirate hijacking of a tanker in the Indian Ocean in 2010. The judge in the Osnabrueck court in northern Germany said the man was guilty of kidnapping and severe extortion. The ship was released for a ransom of $5.5 million after eight months in the hands of Somali pirates. "After four months of extensive evidence gathering, the court is convinced that the 44-year-old Somalian was a leading member of the pirates who kidnapped a chemical tanker," said the court in a statement. The man was not named. German courts do not usually provide the full names of defendants.

European Court Ups Standards for River Dredging

Photo: Port of Hamburg

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on Wednesday that damage to water quality must be considered when authorities approve river dredging to expand ports, in a ruling which could hinder expansion at the German ports of Bremen and Hamburg. The European Union's highest tribunal raised hurdles for approval of port dredging projects which could harm marine life, saying more consideration must be given to the potential damage to water quality and marine life. But it did not order…

Hamburg Elbe Dredging Plan Needs Improvement

The port of Hamburg, Germany (CREDIT: AdobeStock)

Plans to dredge the river Elbe in Hamburg must be improved before a stop order on the work is lifted, a German court ruled on Thursday, raising the risk of more delay to work to deepen Germany's biggest port and open it up to new container ships. Green pressure groups had lodged a legal complaint against the original plan, arguing the environmental impact of dumping mud and sand on fragile coastal wetlands would be devastating. Following the ruling from Germany's top administrative court that authorities must do more to protect the river's maritime environment…

Norway's Arctic Oil Plan Violates Constitution, Lawsuit Says

© h368k742 / Adobe Stock

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.

Port Canaveral Names German as Director

Dave German (Photo: Port Canaveral)

Port Canaveral's Cruise Team is gaining a new dimension with the appointment of Dave German as Director, Cruise Business Development, effective Friday, November 10, 2017. German previously served as Port Canaveral's Senior Harbormaster. In his new role, he will be responsible for building the Port's alliances with cruise lines for both home ported and port-of-call vessels. Dave German holds a Bachelor of Science degree in marine transportation and logistics from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and earned an MBA in finance from Ohio University.

EU Court Rules in Favor of Kvaerner

The Court of First Instance, has today ruled in the case concerning alleged breach of capacity restrictions at Kvaerner's German shipyard, Kvaerner Warnow Werft. The group has been informed that the Court has ruled in favor of Kvaerner. The Court has set aside the EU commission's decision that Kvaerner should repay DEM 117 million. Kvaerner paid and accounted for this amount in 2000. The Court's decision can be appealed within two months. Although Kvaerner has not yet seen the details of the Court's decision, Kvaerner's preliminary understanding is that the amount will be repaid. In addition to this case, the EU commission has not yet…

Don't Scrap This Ship in India Environmentalists Plead

Toxics Watch Alliance warns imminent arrival of end-of-life German ship 'Northern Vitality' breaches Indian Supreme Court Order. "This is to inform you that in violation of the Supreme Court order dated July 30, 2012, Northern Vitality, a 15-year-old ship owned by German company “Norddeutsche Vermögen Holding GmbH & Co” and chartered by Swiss company MSC is headed for the shipbreaking beach of Alang, Bhavnagar, Gujarat. I am copying this message to Mr Michael Steiner, German Ambassador to India besides other concerned authorities. I have learnt that in the ongoing saga of Alang's existence as a graveyard of ships and migrant workers last month four workers died in Alang beach.

Kenya Jails Nine Somali Pirates

A Kenyan court in the coastal city of Mombasa has sentenced 9 Somalis to 5 years in prison each for attempting to hijack the German merchant vessel 'MV Courier' in the Gulf of Aden in March 2009, reports Reuters. The men were arrested by international anti-piracy forces before being handed over to Kenya to be prosecuted, as Somalia was not considered able to try them properly. Prosecutors told the court the men attacked the ship armed with a rocket launcher, an AK-47 rifle, a pistol, a SAR80 carbine rifle, and other weapons. While handing out the sentence, the court noted that the accused had already served a long term in a maximum security prison while the trial was in progress, and therefore were given shorter jail terms. Source: Reuters  

German Shipyard Files for Insolvency; Buyer Sought

In recent the management of P+S WERFTEN have been involved in discussions with the representatives of the German Federal State of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the German Federal Government, and with its customers, suppliers, employees, the trade union IG Metall Küste and with banks to find a way towards an economic future for P+S WERFTEN. Rüdiger Fuchs, CEO of P+S WERFTEN since 7 August 2012, said, “In recent days we have explored all options in our attempts to reach a solution. We have provided open and honest information about our problems and tried to prevent insolvency. For this reason, the management of P+S WERFTEN GmbH has filed for insolvency before the insolvency court of the local court of Stralsund.

Ship Breaking Worker Killed in the Yard

Only in 2016, at least 19 shipbreaking workers were killed and another 11 severely injured in the Bangladesh shipbreaking yard. More than 600 German-owned ships have been sold for scrap in SouthEast Asia since 2008 due to insolvencies and financial problems claims NGO Shipbreaking Platform. A worker named Shah Jahan was killed on December 04 on the spot at Arefin shipbreaking yard in Chittagong, Bangladesh, where German container ship “Viktoria Wulff” (IMO 9252101) is currently being dismantled on the beach, says NGO. The 35-year old man, who was made to work without any safety measures, was struck on the head by a heavy iron piece. German ship owner Wulff went bankrupt in August and the insolvency administrator is currently selling off the company’s remaining vessels.

Three Hanjin Ships Auctioned in Rotterdam

Photo: Hanjin Shipping

Three containerships of the bankrupt Korean shipping firm Hanjin Shipping were sold at an auction in Rotterdam for a total of USD 392 million, according to Dutch media fd.nl and Nieuwsblad Transport. The 13,000 TEU ships were auctioned on behalf of creditor HSH Nordbank. The  three vessels in question are Hanjin Europe, Hanjin Africa and Hanjin Harmony, built in 2012 and 2013, respectively. The 4th ship, the Hanjin Gold, is expected to be auctioned off by a Rotterdam court in January 2017.

GulfMark Sails Out of Bankruptcy

File photo: GulfMark Offshore

GulfMark Offshore, Inc. said it has completed its financial restructuring plan and emerged from bankruptcy protection under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The company’s court-approved reorganization plan went into effect November 14, 2017, and converts approximately $429.6 million of outstanding bonds into equity, and raises approximately $125 million of new equity capital. “GulfMark is now positioned as one of the best capitalized companies in the global offshore industry,” said Quintin Kneen, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Kleven, Lürssen Partner to Build Explorer Vessel

Kleven Verft in Ulsteinvik, Norway. (Photo: Kleven)

Norwegian shipbuilder Kleven said it has signed a contract with German based luxury yacht designer and builder Lürssen to collaborate for the delivery of a 100-meter-long exploration vessel newbuild for a non-disclosed customer. Kleven said the vessel will be built, partly outfitted and technically finalized at Kleven Verft in Norway, before final outfitting at Lürssen’s Blohm+Voss facility in Hamburg, Germany. The Lürssen Group recently joined a group of investors to collectively inject nearly $40 million into Norwegian shipyard.

Prison Sentence for Attack on FGS Spessart

EU NAVFOR said it welcomed the first judgment yesterday in a Kenyan prosecution in connection with the interdiction of a pirate group by an EU NAVFOR warship. The conviction involved seven Somali men accused of acts of piracy. The presiding Chief Magistrate, the Hon Rosemelle Mutoka CM, delivered the verdict at the Mombasa Law Courts on 6 September, sentencing the seven Somali men accused to prison sentences of five years as from the judgement date. The conviction relates to the attack on the FGS Spessart, a Rhoen – class tanker of the German Navy, on 29 March 2009. The attack by seven men aboard a single pirate skiff was repelled by the onboard security detail.

More Greenpeace Activists Denied Bail

Photo by: Dmitri Sharomov / Greenpeace.

Greenpeace International activist Frank Hewetson (U.K.) has been refused bail by the Regional Court of Murmansk in Russia, bringing the number of rejected bail appeals to 10. Activist Marco Weber (Switzerland) also appeared in court today, but his appeal hearing was postponed until October 21 due to the lack of a German language translator. Italian crew member Cristian D'Alessandro will appear in court later  for his bail hearing and more appeals will be held later this week.

97 German Ships Beached in South Asia in 2016

Photo: NGO Shipbreaking Platform

It may seem a big surprise for a country whose industry is proud of green technology and engineering solutions, but Germany is responsible for the worst shipbreaking practices among all shipping nations when one compares the size of its fleet to the number of ships broken irresponsibly, says the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. In 2016 German owners, banks and ship funds had 97 ships rammed up on the beaches of South Asia out of a total of 99 vessels sold for demolition, meaning 98 percent of all obsolete German ships ended up on a beach.

Rickmers Files for Insolvency

File Image: CREDIT Rickmers

German shipping group Rickmers said it had filed for insolvency on Thursday, a day after it announced that its restructuring plan had failed to win approval of bondholder HSH Nordbank. "The insolvency application was filed this morning, and the court has confirmed that it has received it," the company said in an e-mailed statement, adding that it could not yet predict further developments. Rickmers had proposed a revamp plan under which the equity stake of owner Bertram Rickmers was to be reduced to 24.9 percent…

Inuit Villages Sue to Stop Tests for Oil & Gas

According to an August 21 report from The Seattle Times, above the Arctic Circle in Canada near Greenland, five Inuit villages have won a court order that blocks a German icebreaker from conducting seismic tests of an underwater region that abounds with marine life — and possibly with oil, gas and minerals. For the villagers who live in this mostly treeless region of fjords, icebergs and polar bears, the case was a victory that forces the national and territorial governments to consult them over the use of their homeland. The decision comes as Canada, Alaska and other Arctic regions are deciding whether to allow oil and gas development in Arctic waters that are covered by ice for nine or more months each year. (Source: The Seattle Times)

China OKs Maersk Hamburg Süd Deal

Image: Maersk Line, Hamburg SĂĽd Deal

The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) in China approved Danish shipping giant Maersk Line’s proposed acquisition of Hamburg Süd, reported Reuters. Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container shipping company, will pay 3.7 billion euros ($4.3 billion) to buy German rival Hamburg Sud. However, China has put in place restrictions on Hamburg Süd and Maersk Line’s use of vessel-sharing agreements (VSA). The ministry, in a statement, said the company could not enter a new ship sharing alliance on Far East-South America routes in the five years after the deal.

Ukraine To Pay Gas Arrears If It Gets Contract First

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Ukraine is prepared to pay arrears to Russia for gas once it has a contract with Moscow and will take the country to court if it refuses to sign, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk was quoted as saying by a German newspaper on Saturday. Ukraine told Russia on Friday a $786 million partial payment on a bill that Russia says could exceed $5 billion by next week was on its way to Moscow. That averted an immediate threat that Russia would stop supplying the former Soviet republic with gas if it fails to make advance payments.

Richard Branson's Virgin Group Accused of Pirating

Image: Richard Branson Facebook Page

Former Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Colin Veitch has filed suit against Richard Branson for $300 million claiming that Virgin essentially stole his ideas and business plans to enter the lucrative luxury cruise industry by building a pair of state-of-the-art ships capable of carrying 4,200 passengers each. Veitch claims he planned the start-up operation, lined up financing to build the first ship and worked out a tentative commitment with a German shipyard, according to an article by Curt Anderson, legal affairs writer for the Associated Press. Veitch was CEO of Norwegian from 2000 to 2008.

Iran Releases Seized Cargo Ship

Maersk Tigris. Pic: Maersk Line

Iran released a Marshall-Islands flagged container ship Maersk Tigris and its crew has been released by Iranian authorities after the cargo company that owns it resolved a financial dispute which had been the subject of a court order. “The Maersk container ship was released and it has left Iranian territorial waters,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham. It will now continue its scheduled voyage to Jebel Ali, in the United Arab Emirates, where it will be met by representatives from Rickmers and others.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Nov 2017 - The Workboat Edition

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