Headlines: piracy updates; influenza updates; chief engineer sentenced for concealing pollution; departure of DOT Deputy Secretary Barrett; FMC meeting with Pacific Coast Council; assignment of unliquidated personal injury claims is invalid; EMSA newsletter; IMLI anniversary
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IMO – piracy off the coast of Somalia
The IMO issued a circular providing guidance to ships to reduce the risks posed by piracy and armed robbery against ships in waters off the coast of Somalia. It also forwards a recommendation from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) that, to the extent possible, ships avoid planning a passage within 600nm of the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean. MSC.1/Circ.1302 (4/16/09).
UNOSAT – analysis of Somali pirate activity
The UNOSAT issued its Analysis of Somali pirate activity in 2009. The report shows that, in the first quarter of 2009, the success rate for a piratical attack was 23%. This compares with a 40% success rate during the year 2008. The decrease in the success rate is probably due to increased naval patrols and heightened security practices on merchant ships. The number of piratical attacks, though, has increased dramatically and the attacks are occurring over a wider geographical range than ever before. The 81 reported piratical attacks during the first quarter of 2009 represents a 650% increase over those reported during the first quarter of 2008. (4/23/09).
WHO & CDC – Influenza A(H1N1) updates – 1,893 cases
The World Health Organization (WHO) issued an update stating that, as of 1600 GMT, 6 May, 23 countries have reported 1,893 confirmed cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an update stating that 41 states have reported a total of 642 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu infection. (5/6/09).
DOJ – chief engineer sentenced for concealing pollution
The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a news release stating that a chief engineer was sentenced to one month in prison to be followed by supervised release for a term of two years and to a fine of $3,000 for maintaining inaccurate records that concealed a discharge of oil-contaminated water from a foreign ship. (5/6/09).
DOT – departure of Deputy Secretary Barrett
The Department of Transportation issued a news release expressing the regrets of Secretary Ray LaHood upon the departure of Deputy Secretary Thomas J. Barrett. Vice Admiral Barrett, USCG (ret.) completes a long and distinguished career of federal service. (5/6/09).
FMC – meeting with Pacific Coast Council
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a news release stating that on May 4, the Commission received an industry briefing from the Pacific Coast Council of Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Associations. (5/6/09).
Assignment of unliquidated personal injury claims is invalid
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the assignment of unliquidated personal injury claims is invalid under federal maritime law. In the instant case, an employee of defendant catering company was assigned to work as a cook on a semisubmersible drilling rig. She was injured while working on the vessel. She brought suit against the ship owner. As part of her settlement with the ship owner, she assigned whatever claims she might have against defendant employer to plaintiff insurance company for the ship owner. The insurance company brought this action against defendant employer. The court acknowledged that assignment of a partial interest (a so-called Mary Carter Agreement) is generally valid, but refused to uphold the assignment of an entire claim, as was present in the instant case. Lexington Insurance Co. v. S.H.R.M. Catering Services, Inc., No. 08-40322 (5th Cir., May 4, 2009).
EMSA – April newsletter
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) released the April 2009 edition of its newsletter. This edition discusses, among other things, the planned completion of the EU Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) Data Centre by the end of May and the latest EMSA oil spill response vessel, based in Galicia, Spain. (5/6/09).
IMLI – 20th anniversary
The IMO issued a news release stating that the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI), located in Malta, marked its 20th anniversary with a commemorative seminar. Also, an award was presented to Mr. Sasakawa, Chairman of the Nippon Foundation for his meritorious contribution toward the dissemination, harmonization, and implementation of international maritime law. (5/6/09).
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