Maritime Updates

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Virginia Supreme Court Opinions Affecting Local Government Law: April 17, 2014

The Virginia Supreme Court issued opinions yesterday morning. After last term issuing no opinions significantly affecting Virginia Local Government Law (at least not in this author’s judgment), this term’s opinions are a...more

Federal Appellate Court Stays Initial Date for Meeting New Ballast Water Discharge Limits – But Only for Canadian Shipowners...

On April 9, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit granted a stay of the January 1, 2014 deadline for installation of ballast water treatment technology required by the U.S. Environmental Protection...more

A SPAR Is Not A Vessel, But Is A SPAR A Building?

Are SPAR platforms immoveable buildings? On April 9, 2014, Judge Rebecca Doherty issued a memorandum ruling in Hefren v. Murphy Exploration & Production Co., USA, et al., that they are, meaning in Louisiana a five-year window...more

District Court Extends Fifth Circuit’s Naquin Decision to Barge Cleaning/Repair Employee

As previously reported (regarding the Naquin decision), the Fifth Circuit recently expanded the scope of Jones Act seaman status to include a shipyard worker who spent 70% of his time working aboard vessels (usually moored to...more

Hercules and the Lernaean Hydra: The Hercules Removal Jurisprudence Sprouts Yet Another Head

In yet another twist in the tortured labors of the Hercules jurisprudence regarding removal of general maritime law claims under 28 U.S.C. §1441(a), the Eastern District of Louisiana has generated a new, divergent “head” on...more

Oil and Water – How the Galveston Oil Spill Proved The Two Don’t Mix

The Galveston Bay oil spill occurred, coincidentally, on the 25th anniversary of Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The Exxon Valdez oil spill is now considered to be one of the worst environmental...more

Eastern District of Louisiana Rules that Factual Portions of Incident Report by Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement...

In the new world of shared regulatory oversight between the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and BSEE on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), a mundane devil-in-the-details – but nonetheless vitally important question – had...more

All That Floats is Not A Boat: Eastern District of Louisiana Jettisons Fifth Circuit’s Holmes Decision, Rules That Quarter Barge...

The three men in the tub will no longer have recourse to the federal courts’ admiralty jurisdiction, at least not in the Eastern District of Louisiana. In Martin v. Fab-Con, Inc., 2014 WL 1246073 (E.D. La. Mar. 24, 2014) – a...more

“One Shelf, One Standard”: Coast Guard Musings On The Status And Future Of The Outer Continental Shelf

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) Marine Safety and Security Council issued the winter issue of its quarterly magazine Proceedings: Journal of Safety and Security at Sea in February, providing insights to the long and...more

Infrastructure Alert - March 2014

On March 20, a proposed shipping alliance of three major shippers was approved by the Federal Maritime Commission. The P3 Network Vessel Sharing Agreement, consisting of Maersk Line, Mediterranean Shipping Company and CMA...more

Sound, Speed, and Distance - The Second Circuit Allows Use of SVDR Data as Evidence in Maritime Casualty

In a Summary Order dated March 13, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for Second Circuit affirmed a summary judgment of the Southern District of New York, which ruled in favor of a vessel owner based on data of the...more

28 U.S.C. §1333 - The Shirt of Nessus that May Bring Down Hercules?

As detailed in numerous prior posts (most recently regarding the Coronel decision), a series of decisions allowing removal of general maritime law (GML) claims by seamen, even when combined with otherwise statutorily...more

Fla. Case Provides Practicum On Arbitrability

The Middle District of Florida recently, in U.S. Surety Co. v. Edgar, provided a practicum on arbitrability jurisprudence under the Federal Arbitration Act, answering key questions about (1) whether nonsignatories to an...more

The Labors of Hercules: Federal District Court in Washington Rejects Free Removability of General Maritime Law Claims Under 28...

As reported in two prior posts (The Removal of the Ancient Mariner - The Developing Jurisprudence Allowing Removal of General Maritime Law Claims under the Recent Amendments to 28 U.S.C. §1441(b) and The Removal of the...more

Employer’s Notice Of Controversion (LS-207) Does Not Eviscerate Holding Of Andrepont

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Lincoln v. Director OWCP (Ceres Marine Terminals, Inc.) No. 13-1594 (March 11, 2014), was recently asked to address the effect of the employer filing a notice of...more

Fifth Circuit Recognizes Compensation Lien In Jones Act Case

In Chenevert v. Travelers Indemnity Co., No. 13-60119 (5th Cir. March 7, 2014), the Fifth Circuit formally recognized the right of an insurer providing and making voluntary payments to an injured employee under the Longshore...more

Land-Based Jones Act Seaman Status, Emotional Damages, And The “Zone Of Danger”

Fifth Circuit Affirms Jury Finding for Land-Based Worker to be Covered by Jones Act but Reverses Award of Emotional Damages in Naquin v. Elevating Boats LLC, No. 12-31258 (5th Cir., 3/10/14)....more

Fifth Circuit Expands Coverage of Jones Act, Rules That Shipyard Employee Injured in Shore-Based Crane Incident is a Seaman

In a ruling that will likely send shockwaves through the maritime industry and be considered a landmark decision in years to come, a divided panel of the Fifth Circuit in Naquin v. Elevating Boats, L.L.C., --- F.3d ---,No....more

Google’s Floating Mystery Boxes

It was moored quietly in the Bay. But when a four story structure made up of shipping containers was erected, questions began to be asked. Elected officials said they didn’t know. The police said it wasn’t in...more

BOEM Releases Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Survey For Offshore Atlantic Geological and Geophysical Activity

On February 27th, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, in cooperation with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), and pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), released its final...more

Fifth Circuit Limits Pollution Liability

In a significant decision issued February 24, 2014, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal laws preempt state laws in the case of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, because the event occurred in federal...more

Foundering On "Sea-Tossed" Waters? The Fifth Circuit Grants En Banc Rehearing in Estis

After making a splash in October of 2013 with a landmark ruling in McBride v. Estis Well Service, L.L.C., 731 F.3d 505, 517 (5th Cir. 2013) "that punitive damages remain available to seamen as a remedy for the general...more

Draft Regulations Released for Deposits of Deleterious Substances under the Fisheries Act

One of the most significant provisions in the federal Fisheries Act is the prohibition in section 36(3) against releasing deleterious substances into waters frequented by fish. This prohibition has been interpreted broadly by...more

Federal Regulators Reveal Approval of Three New Fracking Projects Off California Shore

On Wednesday, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) confirmed that it approved three fracking plans on a platform roughly nine miles off the California shore in the Santa Barbara Channel. The BSEE, which...more

Full Speed Ahead: State Of The Ports Briefing 2014

Today, we attended the State of the Ports Luncheon, along with several of our Bilzin Sumberg colleagues and over 1,000 prominent business leaders in our community, including representatives from local government, major cruise...more

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