Headlines: NOAA – restoration planning re Cosco Busan oil spill; NOAA – restoration efforts re Exxon Valdez oil spill; NOAA – elkhorn and staghorn critical habitat; White House – Earl F. Weener nominated to NTSB; House – bill introduced re Asian carp; Court – no award of attorneys’ fees in dredging contract dispute; Court – forum non conveniens; IMO – Manila conference to revise STCW Convention and Code; IMO News – spotlight on seafarers; and UK – serial tyre flytipper convicted.
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NOAA – restoration planning re Cosco Busan oil spill
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice stating that it intends to conduct restoration planning relating to the November 7, 2007 oil spill in San Francisco Bay from the M/V Cosco Busan. 75 Fed. Reg. 3709 (January 22, 2010).
NOAA – restoration efforts re Exxon Valdez oil spill
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice stating that it intends to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) relating to proposed restoration efforts of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council. Comments should be submitted by April 1. 75 Fed. Reg. 3706 (January 22, 2010).
NOAA – elkhorn and staghorn corals critical habitat
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a notice stating that it is denying the request for expansion of the critical habitat for the elkhorn and staghorn corals. 75 Fed. Reg. 3711 (January 22, 2010).
White House – Earl F. Weener nominated to NTSB
The White House issued a statement that President Obama has nominated Earl F. Weener as a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). (1/21/10).
House – bill introduced re Asian carp
Representative Camp (R-MI) introduced a bill (H.R. 4472) to direct the Secretary of the Army to take action with respect to the Chicago waterway system to prevent the migration of bighead and silver carps into Lake Michigan, and for other purposes. Official text of the bill is not yet available, but Mr. Camp issued a press release stating that, if enacted into law, the measure would require immediate closure of all Asian carp pathways into the Great Lakes. (1/20/10).
Court – no award of attorneys’ fees in dredging contract dispute
The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that the prevailing party in a dispute arising from a dredging contract is not entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees, absent a contractual provision to that effect. In the instant case, plaintiff marine construction company contracted with defendant dredging company to dredge sections of the Savannah River. A dispute arose and the construction company sued the dredging company alleging negligence, breach of contract, and breach of warranty. Plaintiff eventually dismissed its lawsuit. Defendant then sought recovery of the attorneys’ fees incurred in defending the litigation, relying on a Georgia statute allowing for such recovery. When the district court denied recovery of the fees, the defendant appealed. The appellate court held that the rule barring the shift of attorneys’ fees (the American Rule) is a characteristic feature of US maritime law, not subject to alteration by state law. In a concurring opinion, one judge concluded that application of the state law would disrupt the proper harmony and uniformity of admiralty law. Misener Marine Construction v. Norfolk Dredging, No. 09-10083 (11th Cir., January 21, 2010).
Court – forum non conveniens
The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a federal court in Texas is an inconvenient forum in which to try a claim for personal injury and death that occurred on an oil rig located in Mexican waters where the rig was chartered by a Mexican oil company, crewed by another Mexican company, all the employees were Mexican citizens, the incident was investigated by the Mexican government, the courts of Mexico were available for litigation of the dispute, and defendant rig owner had agreed to submit to Mexican jurisdiction. Sandria Saqui v. Pride Central America LLC, No. 08-41059 (5th Cir., January 21, 2010).
IMO – Manila conference to revise STCW Convention and Code
The IMO issued a news release stating that draft amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention) and its associated Code have been approved by the Sub-Committee on Standards for Training and Watchkeeping and are ready for submission to a Diplomatic Conference that will meet in Manila from 21 to 25 June 2010 for adoption. (1/11/10).
IMO News – spotlight on seafarers
The IMO released the 2009-4 issue of IMO News. This issue includes articles spotlighting seafarers, as well as articles on the audit scheme, e-navigation, and container security. (2009).
UK – serial tyre flytipper convicted
The UK Environment Agency issued a news release stating that one of Britain’s unluckiest flytippers was ordered to pay £1,282 in compensation and costs and to serve a 12-month community penalty order after pleading guilty to the flytipping (illegal disposal) of automobile tyres on seven occasions over a seven month period. The agency’s investigating officer branded him a “serial tyre flytipper” who had been responsible for a sustained campaign of flytipping. (1/21/10). Note: While this is not a maritime issue, it might be of vital importance to some of my long-suffering readers. Then again, it just might be unintentionally humorous.
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 – January 2010