Headlines: vessel may invoke forum selection clause; Mobile security zone; NBSAC vacancies; new tie-up station in Panama Canal
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Vessel may claim benefit of forum selection clause in bill of lading
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a vessel, being sued in rem for cargo damage, may invoke the forum selection clause from the bill of lading issued by the carrier. The instant case involves the high visibility incident in July 2006 when the car carrier Cougar Ace rolled onto its side near the Aleutian Islands while transporting hundreds of cars from Japan to the United States. The ship was towed into sheltered waters and brought upright in a delicate salvage operation. Many of the cars on board, though, were damaged and eventually destroyed. The forum selection clause in the bill of lading provided for claims against the carrier to be filed in Japan. The car company brought suit in the United States, not against the carrier, but against the vessel. The court ruled that the vessel was a Himalaya beneficiary of the forum selection clause which extends to “anyone assisting the performance of the Carriage.” The action in the United States was thus dismissed for possible pursuit in Japan. Mazda Motors of America v. M/V Cougar Ace, No. 07-35787 (9th Cir., May 8, 2009).
Mobile – security zone around escorted vessels
The US Coast Guard is making permanent the current interim rule establishing a security zone around any vessel within the Captain of the Port (COTP) Zone Mobile being escorted by one or more USCG, federal, state, or local law enforcement assets. This new rule comes into effect on June 11. 74 Fed. Reg. 22100 (May 12, 2009).
USCG – NBSAC vacancies
The US Coast Guard seeks applications for membership on the National Boating Safety Advisory Council (NBSAC), which advises the agency on matters related to recreational boating safety. Applications should be submitted by July 23. 74 Fed. Reg. 22174 (May 12, 2009).
Panama Canal – new tie-up station enhances efficiency
The Panama Canal Authority issued a press release stating that an additional tie-up stating at Cartagena approach is in full operation. This development should yield at least one additional canal transit per day. (5/11/09).
If you have questions regarding the above items, please contact the editor:
Dennis L. Bryant
Bryant’s Maritime Consulting
4845 SW 91st Way
Gainesville, FL 32608-8135
© Dennis L. Bryant – May 2009