Headlines: piracy; DHS branding; price-fixing conspiracies; NMS submarine cable projects; disputed damages re coral reef repair work
April 21, 2009
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DOD – piratical attacks thwarted
The US Department of Defense (DOD) issued a news release reporting on the recent thwarting of two piratical attacks in the Gulf of Aden by the British military support ship Royal Fleet Auxiliary WAVE KNIGHT, working in support of the Combined Maritime Forces. Its actions, working cooperatively with Dutch, Canadian, and US warships, resulted in the release of 13 hostages and the disruption of 14 Somali pirates. (4/20/09).
NATO – piracy update
The NATO Shipping Centre issued a warning stating that at 1400 UTC on 2 April (20 April?) a container vessel was attacked by two blue pirate skiffs launched by a mother vessel at 05 31N 056 32E. Query: Are the pirates dividing into teams with separate colors? What next – mascots and cheerleaders? (4/20/09).
MARAD – advisory re Somalia and Gulf of Aden
The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued an advisory recommending that, to the extent possible, vessels remain east 60 degrees east and at least 600 miles off the coast of Somalia. Vessels should also provide to MARLO Bahrain 2-weeks advance notice of arrival to waters off the Horn of Africa so that naval forces may better plan the use of available naval assets. Vessels should check in with MARLO Bahrain at least 96 hours prior to entering the internationally recommended transit corridor; check in again when actually entering the corridor; and check out upon exiting the corridor. Advisory 2009-05 (4/20/09).
USCG – combating piracy
The US Coast Guard issued a statement by Admiral Thad Allen on combating piracy. As noted in an accompanying press release, Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachments (LEDETs) operate on naval vessels as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 in the Gulf of Aden. The Coast Guard (through its predecessor the Revenue Cutter Service) has a long history of fighting pirates. (4/20/09).
<White House – no more DHS branding
The White House issued a press release stating that President Obama has directed the members of his Cabinet to cut a collective $100 million from their budgets in the next 90 days. Among the examples provided of cost-cutting measures that are being implemented is that since 2003, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has spent $3 million on consulting contracts to create new seals and logos for its components. DHS is putting an end to that. Note: The stock market was sharply lower following release of this news. (4/20/09).
DOJ – guilty pleas for price-fixing conspiracies
The US Department of Justice issued a news release stating that two subsidiaries of a Swedish company have agreed to plead guilty and pay criminal fines totaling $11 million for their participation in separate conspiracies affecting the sales of marine products sold in the United States and elsewhere. One subsidiary participated in a conspiracy to allocate customers and rig bids for contracts to sell foam-filled marine fenders, buoys, and plastic marine pilings. The other subsidiary participated in a conspiracy to allocate market share, fix prices, and rig bids for contracts to sell marine hose. (4/20/09).
NOAA – interim policy for NMS submarine cable projects
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice stating that it is proposing interim policy and permit guidance for submarine cable projects to be located in national marine sanctuaries. The proposal identifies the criteria that the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) would use to ensure that applications to install and maintain submarine cables in NMSs are reviewed consistently and in a manner that adheres to the National Marine Sanctuaries Act and ONMS regulations. Comments on this proposal should be submitted by May 21. 74 Fed. Reg. 18169 (April 21, 2009).
Disputed damages re coral reef repair work
The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued a ruling on a complex set of claims and counter-claims for damages based on work to repair a coral reef that suffered from a ship grounding. On March 26, 2004, the M/V EASTWIND grounded on an underwater coral reef off Fort Lauderdale. State and county officials, as trustees, ordered repair of the reef. Defendant insurer hired defendant marine environmental casualty management company to arrange for and oversee the work. The parties agreed to a fixed price contract that eventually included a provision for renegotiation in the event of severe weather. Severe weather, in the form of two hurricanes in short interval, interrupted the work and the parties were unable to reach agreement on further work. The parties were also unable to agree on whether the original contract had been breached and how much monies were due and owing between them. The trial court determined that the original contract had terminated under provisions of its severe weather clause and that was entitled to some damages for its work following that termination. Both parties appealed. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s findings, with the exception of the method used to calculate the value of the work that partially completed prior to termination. The proper standard, according to the appellate court, would be for the trial court to calculate the amount of work completed compared to the overall work of the project and then multiply that percentage with the fixed price established in the contract. The case was remanded for resolution accordingly. Sea Byte Inc. v. Hudson Marine Management Services, Inc., No. 08-14069 (11th Cir., April 20, 2009).
If you have questions regarding the above items, please contact the editor:
Dennis L. Bryant
Bryant’s Maritime Blog
4845 SW 91st Way
Gainesville, FL 32608-8135
© Dennis L. Bryant – April 2009