Maritime Updates

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Maritime issues written by leading professionals.
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EPA Promulgates Robust Emission Control Area Enforcement Policy

Action Item: Violators of Emission Control Area requirements face hefty penalties under the Environmental Protection Agency’s new penalty policy. Owners and operators of vessels operating in the North American and U.S....more

Major Changes to Cuban Assets Control and Export Regulations Create New Opportunities for Trade

Action Item: On January 16, 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the U.S. Department of Commerce amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and the Export Administration...more

Mainbrace - January 2015 No. 1

In this issue: - A Sea Change Sweeps over Congress: A Look Back and a Look Ahead - Shipping & International Trade Law (Second Edition 2015) - Congress Passes Coast Guard Bill in Waning Hours of 113th...more

Seafarers’ Access to Marine Facilities

Action Item: Owners, operators, and other interested parties related to the operation of marine terminals should review and comment on a Coast Guard Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) addressing new requirements to...more

Commerce Department Issues New Guidance on Technical Crude Export Issues

Action Item: New policy guidance in the form of “Frequently Asked Questions” was published by the Commerce Department on December 20, 2014, with regard to crude oil export controls. Stakeholders interested in crude oil...more

Administration’s Proposed Seafood Traceability Program Could Impose New Requirements on U.S. Fishing and Seafood Industries

Domestic fish harvesters and seafood producers could face new federal mandates under a seafood traceability program being developed by the Obama Administration. Last month, the Administration announced the Recommendations of...more

5th Circuit Blocks Punitive Damages in Maritime Case

In McBride v. Estis Well Service, LLC, the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that punitive damages are not available to seamen under the Jones Act or under general maritime law. In those cases, recovery is...more

Old Dog New Tricks

The maritime community is sitting on the precipice of disaster. While regarded as one of the oldest and most well respected industries on the planet, the maritime community as a whole has failed to protect itself against the...more

Fifth Circuit upholds “seamen” exemption and dismisses “day-rate” FLSA collective action suit.

A wave of FLSA collective (class) actions have been filed against scores of marine shipping and towing companies in the Gulf States for violation of the FLSA. Specifically, these suits claim that the commonly used “day-rate”...more

Trade Sanctions Roundup: U.S. Closes Out 2014 with Major Actions on Cuba, Russia, and Syria

The end of 2014 has seen major developments in U.S. foreign relations and sanctions policy with broad implications for the maritime industry. On December 17, President Obama announced a paradigm shift in relations with Cuba,...more

LNG as a Fuel

The use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a transportation fuel for ships, barges, and ferries has surged in recent months. This surge is due, in large part, to the boon in the production of natural gas in the U.S.; new low...more

OFAC Clarifies Treatment of Deferred Payments, Oil and Gas “Production,” and Artic Offshore Projects Under Russia Sanctions Regime...

On December 11, 2014, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) released new guidance related to existing U.S. sanctions against Russian entities designated on the Sectoral Sanctions...more

Legislation Alters Shipping Act Treatment of Attorneys’ Fees

Late yesterday, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate passed S. 2444, the Howard Coble Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014....more

When In Doubt, File the Limitation Complaint (Part III): The Test Is Reasonable Possibility

On December 3, 2014, the Fifth Circuit, in In re: RLB Contracting, Inc., No. 14–40326 (5th Cir. Dec. 3, 2014), concluded that an ongoing exchange of correspondence between counsel for a dredge involved in a maritime casualty...more

New Jones Act Enforcement Initiative

Action Item: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) issued a Notice to the Area Port of New Orleans Trade Community on November 12, 2014, announcing electronic online reporting of possible Jones Act violations. Owners and...more

National Marine Fisheries Service Issues Biological Opinion for Army Corps of Engineers’ Nationwide Permit Program

On November 24, 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service (Service) issued a new Biological Opinion (BiOp) for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Nationwide Permit Program under the Clean Water Act. The BiOp...more

Fifth Circuit: No Overtime Pay for Crewmember Tankermen

On November 13, 2014, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Coffin v. Blessey Marine Services, Incorporated, Case No. 13-20144, that individuals who loaded and unloaded tank barges as part of their duties as crew of...more

In re Application of Owl Shipping: Does § 1782 permit discovery to aid foreign arbitral proceedings?

The District of New Jersey has issued a recent opinion highlighting a potential resource for parties engaged in foreign arbitral proceedings – the use of 28 U.S.C. § 1782, which allows parties engaged in foreign proceedings...more

Panama Canal Expansion Update: October 2014 Milestones

The Panama Canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and joins North and South America. It is one of the narrowest waterways in the world, yet thirteen to fourteen thousand ships brave the Panama Canal each year because...more

Fifth Circuit Refuses Application of Bright-Line Test in FLSA Seaman Exemption Dispute

On November 13, 2014, the Fifth Circuit handed down its opinion in Coffin v. Blessey Marine Services, Inc., No. 13-20144, 2014 WL 5904734 (5th Cir. Nov. 13, 2014). The opinion addressed several key factors related to the...more

VP Biden Calls for Greater Investment in Port Infrastructure

On November 12, during a keynote address at the annual convention of the American Association of Port Authorities in Houston, Vice President Biden issued a call to action for greater investment in U.S. port facilities....more

In 2014, Will Congress Pass Any Maritime Legislation?

Following its usual summer break over August 2014, Congress came back from its five-week summer recess and spent a whopping eight days or so back in session before recessing once again, approximately a week early, to hit the...more

Avast! – Tankermen Held To Be Seamen Exempt From FLSA Overtime Pay Requirements

In a much and long anticipated ruling, the Fifth Circuit in Coffin v. Blessey Marine Services, Inc., No. 13-20144 (5th Cir. Nov. 13, 2014), has held as a matter of law that vessel-based tankermen (specially...more

Navy objects to Maryland offshore wind project

An offshore wind energy project proposed off the Maryland coast has drawn opposition from the U.S. Department of Defense over fears that the project would disrupt the nearby Patuxent River Naval Air Station's radar...more

New York Federal Court Holds That Arbitrator’s Undisclosed Serious Health Condition Is Not Ground for Vacatur

There are several differences between court litigation and international arbitration, but two in particular stand out. First, whereas the losing party at trial can bring an appeal, the losing party in an arbitration can only...more

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