Marine Link
Monday, November 20, 2017

Law News

Offshore Oil Service Firms Dominate Energy Bankruptcies

(File photo: Ocean Rig)

Offshore oil drilling and service companies, hurt by the energy industry's shift to lower-cost shale and away from deepwater projects, are dominating the year's energy bankruptcies in North America, according to law firm Haynes and Boone. There were fewer oilfield service companies seeking protection this year than last but those that did have had larger debts. Through October, 44 oilfield services companies filed for bankruptcy in the United States and Canada owing creditors $24.8 billion, compared with 72 companies and $13.48 billion for all of 2016.

Cooperation Key Among Maritime Universities

Photo: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Cooperation between academic institutions is key in ensuring the next generation of maritime professionals is well prepared. In this spirit, International Maritime Organization (IMO)'s Juvenal Shiundu delivered a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the International seminar on mutual cooperation between IMO, World Maritime University (WMU) and Korea Maritime and Ocean University (KMOU) in Busan, Republic of Korea (11 November). In front of a full audience, Shiundu reiterated…

U.S. Commerce Chief Ross Reportedly Divests Shipping Interests

Photo: https://www.commerce.gov

According to a Reuters report, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has divested his interests in oil tanker company Diamond S Shipping and is in the process of selling off his holdings in another shipping firm, Navigator Holdings, a Trump administration official said earlier this week. Ross had originally intended to retain his shipping interests following his confirmation in February. But the 79-year-old investor came under criticism after disclosures on Sunday that one of Navigator's major clients is the Russian gas company Sibur…

UK Launches Free Online Course for Maritime Law

Photo: UK Chamber of Shipping

The UK Chamber of Shipping and its partners Addleshaw Goddard and the Law Society of  Scotland have launched a free online introductory course in maritime law. The course, titled ‘Maritime Law: an Introduction to Shipping Transactions’, launches on Monday 30th October and will outline the unseen legal and transactional structures behind the shipping industry. The course is open to anyone looking to develop their understanding of maritime law or who has an interest in shipping and maritime trade.

Catching a Jones Act Seaman’s 'Golden Parachute'

© wanfahmy / Adobe Stock

A challenging offshore environment produces a different but equally difficult development. Will you be ready when it comes to your fleet? Unfortunately, our industry continues to suffer due to the depressed oil prices that started in 2014. When the price of oil initially dropped, the industry’s outlook remained positive, and I remember hearing the mantra: “Stay lean for 2015.” Everyone thought that oil prices would rebound in short order and that we were only weathering a short downturn.

Eagle Bulk Shipping May Issue Privately Placed Bonds

Photo: Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc.

Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc. announced that it has mandated certain investment banks to arrange a series of fixed income investor meetings commencing on Monday, November 6th, 2017 to explore a potential private placement of bonds by its subsidiary Eagle Bulk Shipco LLC in the Norwegian bond market. If the Company decides to move forward with a transaction, the bonds would be offered only to qualified institutional buyers in reliance on an exemption from registration under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended and, outside the United States, only to non-U.S.

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.

New Guide for Shipmasters, Int’l Maritime Law

Photo courtesy Morgan Marketing  & Communications

Tara Leiter, an attorney at Blank Rome LLP, collaborated with John A.C. Cartner (United States Coast Guard shipmaster and lawyer) and Richard P. Fiske (retired U.S. naval captain and attorney with John Cartner at Cartner & Fiske LLC) to author the recently released legal treatise The International Law of the Shipmaster. Released in the IMO’s declared Year of the Seafarer, the book is designed to identify and explain the complexity of the legal position faced daily by today’s shipmasters…

Maritime Administration Releases Compilation of Maritime Laws

The Maritime Administrations announced it has released its annual Compilation of Maritime Laws for fiscal year 2007. Each year since 1995, the Maritime Administration has published the laws as an essential reference for its Agency leadership and staff. The compilation is also widely used by the Members of Congress, their staffs and committees, attorneys practicing in the area of Federal Maritime Law and interested members of the general public. The Maritime Administration believes that it is essential that this publication be made available to ensure access to the current state of significant maritime laws, including current statutory amendments.

Maritime Transportation Act Signed into Law

The White House issued a Press Release stating, among other things, that President Bush signed into law the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2004 (H.R. 2443). In addition to serving as the annual authorization act for the Coast Guard and the Federal Maritime Commission, this law inserts an exemption for certain passive owners (primarily institutional lenders) into OPA 90, mandates oil spill response plans for non-tank vessels in excess of 400 gross tons, and makes numerous other changes to U.S. maritime law. It is worth your careful read. (HK Law)

Cummings: Administrative Law Functions Should be Separate from Coast Guard

Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD), Chairman of Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, convened the Subcommittee to examine the Coast Guard's administrative law system. "Today, the Subcommittee received testimony regarding the Coast Guard's administrative law system from two former Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) suggesting that during their tenure, they worked in an atmosphere that did not support their exercise of judicial independence in the consideration of cases. "Additionally, serious allegations were raised that, if true, would imply that patently improper actions may have been committed to direct an ALJ to decide matters in the Coast Guard's favor. The Subcommittee received testimony from Mr. Peter A. Fitzpatrick, Ms. Rosemary Denson, and Ms.

International Maritime Prize for Mexican Legal Expert

Dr. Eusebio Salgado y Salgado: Photo courtesy of UACJS

The Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) informs it decided at its recent meeting to award the International Maritime Prize for 2013 to Dr. José Eusebio Salgado y Salgado, Mexican academic and author of the Manual de Derecho Internacional Marítimo (Manual of International Maritime Law), for his significant contribution to the work and objectives of IMO. In nominating his candidature, the Government of Mexico drew attention to Dr. Salgado y Salgado’s distinguished career as an academic in international maritime law…

Court Rules on Salvage v. Finds

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that the law of salvage rather than the law of finds applies to the on-going work related to the wreck of the RMS TITANIC. The court also overturned the lower court’s actions regarding certain artifacts that had been retrieved and taken to France in 1987, ruling that the court had no in rem jurisdiction over those artifacts. The decision includes a lengthy comparison of the law of salvage and the law of finds. The case was remanded to the trial court with instructions to apply the principles of traditional salvage law to the wreck of the TITANIC in a manner that serves either the owner or, absent an owner, the public interest and at the same time provides an appropriate award to the salvor. RMS Titanic, Inc.

Jones Act Doesn't Preempt State

The Supreme Court of Texas ruled that a state law respecting a procedural framework for claims for personal injury allegedly caused by silica and asbestos is not preempted by the federal law regarding claims for personal injury of crewmembers (the Jones Act). In the instant case, the plaintiff alleged injury from asbestos and silica while employed by defendant corporation aboard a vessel. He brought suit in state court under the Jones Act. Plaintiff failed to comply with certain procedural requirements of the state law and the defendant moved to have the case transferred to another court in accordance with the state law. Plaintiff opposed the transfer, arguing that the Jones Act preempted the state law. The court hearing the motion agreed with the plaintiff and the defendant appealed.

Wikborg Rein : Shipbrokers Should Beware of Changes to Competition Law

law firm Wikborg Rein. penalties, says Wikborg Rein partner Trond Eilertsen. competition law regime has been viewed as an issue for owners. agreements between shipowners. warns Eilertsen. Norwegian competition authorities for approval of individual agreements. is increasingly important. agreements," Eilertsen says.

Thomas Miller Acquires Marine Law Firm

Peter Jackson, Head of TM Law

Thomas Miller the international insurance, professional and insurance services provider announces the acquisition of the partners and staff of specialist marine law firm, Davies Johnson & Co of Plymouth. The acquisition brings an additional six fee earners to the Thomas Miller Law Ltd (TM Law) team. The firm will operate from Plymouth and London in addition to TM Law’s main office in Newcastle, where it forms part of the Group’s claims handling and risk management consultancy business.

Cruise-to-Nowhere Measure Introduced

U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) introduced legislation (H.R. 316) that threatens to halt, and even reverse the expansion of the offshore gaming industry. Under existing law, offshore gaming in international water is legal, unless states pass laws specifically prohibiting the activity. Wolf's bill would reverse the situation, requiring states that want offshore casino vessels pass laws to allow them. Offshore gaming operations would be outlawed in states that have not passed laws to legalize them.

AKD Prinsen Van Wijmen Expands Transport Law Team

AKD Prinsen Van Wijmen, one of the largest law firms in the Netherlands, is expanding its transport law team. Effective October 15, three partners and three associates are joining AKD from the Rotterdam office of law firm NautaDutilh. Frans de Vries Lentsch. Also making the move are Emily Derogee van Roosmalen, who heads up the Netherlands arbitration platform, Transport and Maritime Arbitration Rotterdam-Amsterdam (TAMARA), Taco van der Valk, researcher, maritime and transport law, and Haco van der Houven van Oordt. They will join AKD's existing transport and insurance division, which currently has two partners, Leo Boersen and Carel van Lynden.

Netherlands Changes Ship Registration Law

Recent changes to Dutch law safeguarding the right of free establishment in Europe mean that ship registration regulations in the Netherlands have been relaxed. The recent change brings Dutch law in line with a 2004 European Court of Justice decision which ruled that Dutch national law, although apparently in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea which requires a “genuine link between the State and the ship,” contravened European law by being too restrictive. In the past companies could only register their vessels in the Netherlands if: At least two-thirds of the ship was owned by a European Community (EC) or European Economic Area (EEA) national company, and the business of the vessel was conducted by EC or EEA nationals through a Netherlands-based office.

Choice of Law May Result in Claim Forfeiture

In an unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that a freely negotiated choice of law clause is binding, even where that choice tacitly included forfeiture of a claim. In the instant case, an insurance policy purchased by a ship owner included a clause providing that Norwegian law was controlling. Norwegian law does not recognize a maritime lien for unpaid insurance premiums. The ship owner went into bankruptcy, owing various debts, including the insurance premiums and various mortgages. The court held that, in transactions of an international character, a choice of law clause is binding unless the court finds that it would be unfair, unjust, or unreasonable to hold a party to its bargain. In re Millenium Seacarriers, Inc., No.

Admiralty Law Firm’s Insurance Rescinded

In an unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that an insurance company could rescind the professional liability insurance of an admiralty law firm for material misrepresentation in the application. The law firm (noted for filing asbestos claims against ship owners, among other things) indicated in its application that none of its lawyers knew of any circumstances that could result in a professional liability claim. Following the death of the senior partner, it was found that he had misappropriated more than $15 million of settlement funds owed to clients. The insurance company filed suit to rescind the policy. The law firm contended that the partner who signed the application was unaware of the misappropriation.

Brudzinski Selected as USCG Chief Judge

Judge Walter J. Brudzinski

Judge Walter J. Brudzinski has been selected for the position of Chief, Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Coast Guard. In this capacity, Chief Judge Brudzinski will provide supervision and administration of the Coast Guard Administrative Law Judge program. Judge Brudzinski has more than 16 years of experience as an Administrative Law Judge and has been with the U.S. Coast Guard since 2003. Prior to his initial Administrative Law Judge appointment in 1996 with the Social Security Administration…

EU: Ships Will Measure CO2 Emissions

Shippers to begin monitoring from 2018; Environmental groups say law is weak, shippers favorable. The shipping sector will for the first time have to monitor its carbon emissions under a law agreed by the European Union on Wednesday, intended as a step towards tackling a growing source of pollutants linked to climate change. International shipping accounts for around 3 percent of the world's emissions of carbon dioxide, a share which could increase to 18 percent by 2050 if regulation is not in place, according to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The law stops short of including shipping in the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS), the bloc's flagship tool for cutting pollution, but EU officials said it was a step in that direction.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Nov 2017 - The Workboat Edition

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