Headlines: UK warship disarms suspected pirates; HSRP meeting; New Zealand – sail training vessel under escort; Fear-of-cancer jury instruction required; and Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment Advisory Panel.
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USN – UK warship disarms suspected pirates
The US Navy issued a news release stating that a Royal Navy frigate, while operating as part of Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, detected, intercepted, and boarded two suspicious skiffs in the Gulf of Aden. The skiffs carried grappling hooks and a cache of weapons. The weapons were confiscated and one skiff was destroyed (was it on a manifestly unsafe voyage?). Because the individuals could not be linked to a specific piratical attack, they were released. (6/2/09).
HSRP – meeting
The Hydrographic Services Review Panel (HSRP), sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will conduct a conference call meeting on June 22. The purpose of the meeting is to deliberate and vote on proposed revisions to the NOAA contracting policy for mapping and charting services. 74 Fed. Reg. 26653 (June 3, 2009).
New Zealand – sail training vessel under escort
Maritime New Zealand issued a media release stating that the sail training vessel Soren Larsen is being escorted back to Auckland by a merchant vessel after incurring damage during heavy weather. Several members of crew of 21 have minor injuries. (6/2/09).
Fear-of-cancer jury instruction in FELA asbestosis case
The US Supreme Court ruled that, upon request of the defendant, a trial court must give the jury a fear-of-cancer instruction in an asbestosis case brought under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). In the instant case, plaintiff employee brought suit against defendant railroad alleging that the railroad’s negligence caused him to contract asbestosis. He also sought pain-and-suffering damages based on, among other things, his fear of developing lung cancer in the future. At trial, defendant sought an instruction to the jury that plaintiff had to prove that his alleged fear was genuine and serious. This proposed jury instruction was based on a footnote in an earlier Supreme Court decision in a FELA asbestosis case. Without hearing oral argument, the Court in the instant case, issued a per curium decision holding that the trial court should have given the substance of the requested instruction. The case was remanded for further proceedings. There were two dissenting opinions filed in this case. CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Thurston, No. 08-1034 (June 1, 2009). Note: This decision is of moment to the maritime community because liability for personal injury under the Jones Act is based on the standards of the FELA.
Alaska – Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment Advisory Panel meeting
The US Coast Guard issued a press release stating that the Aleutian Islands Risk Assessment Advisory Panel met in Anchorage on May 14. Among other things, the panel reviewed and commented on a Request for Proposals (RFP) that will solicit the services of a risk assessment team to perform the initial phase of the assessment of the risk that ships and other human activities present to the Aleutian Islands and western Alaska. (6/2/09).
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 – June 2009