Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bryant’s Maritime Blog – 4 February 2010

Headlines: Gulf of Aden – North Korean cargo vessel hijacked by pirates; Vancouver Winter Games – joint Canada-US waterway patrols; Pascagoula – EIS for deep-draft navigation channel; FMC – meeting on February 10; House – bill introduced for study of deep water sea port in the Arctic; Court – contributory negligence for failure to disclose previous injuries; and Court – equitable vacatur and materially significant presence.

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Gulf of Aden – North Korean cargo vessel hijacked by pirates

clip_image004 The EU Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa (MSC-HOA) issued a press release stating that the North Korean-flag general cargo vessel Rim was hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Aden north of the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC). The vessel had not registered with military authorities in the region. (2/3/10).

Vancouver Winter Games – joint Canada-US waterway patrols

clip_image006 clip_image008 clip_image010 clip_image012 The US Department of Homeland Security and the Ministry of Public Safety of Canada issued a joint news release stating that the two nations will conduct a Shiprider pilot project to bolster cross-border security operations on waters of Puget Sound and off the Pacific Coast before and during the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the US Coast Guard (USCG) will cross-train, share resources and personnel, and utilize each other’s vessels in the waters of both nations. (2/3/10). The US Coast Guard issued a news release reminding boaters of proper procedures for entering and exiting the US maritime border. (2/3/10).

Pascagoula – EIS for deep-draft navigation channel

clip_image014 The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued a notice stating that it intends to prepare a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) to address potential impacts associated with improving the Federal Pascagoula Harbor Navigation Channel Project in Jackson County, Mississippi. A public scoping meeting will be held in Pascagoula on February 25. 75 Fed. Reg. 5768 (February 4, 2010).

FMC – meeting on February 10

clip_image016 The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) issued a notice stating that it will meet in open session in its offices on February 10 to consider, among other things, a petition from the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America for exemption from mandatory rate tariff publication. (2/3/10).

House – bill introduced for study of deep water sea port in the Arctic

clip_image018 Representative Young (R-AK) introduced a bill (H.R. 4576) to require a study and report on the feasibility and potential of establishing a deep water sea port in the Arctic to protect and advance strategic United States interests within the evolving and ever more important region. Official text of the bill is not yet available. (2/2/10).

Court – contributory negligence for failure to disclose previous injuries

clip_image020 In an unpublished decision, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a seaman’s failure to disclose prior injuries can result in a reduction in damages based on contributory negligence. In the instant case, plaintiff crewmember injured his neck, back, shoulder, elbow, and wrist when he slipped on a wet rubber glove lying on the floor in the galley. He had thrown the glove on the cluttered floor after unloading groceries in the galley. At trial, plaintiff admitted that he had injured his neck and back multiple times before entering into employment with defendant vessel owner. He also admitted that he did not disclose those injuries in his employment application. The federal district court reduced plaintiff’s personal injury award by 40% for contributory negligence. The appellate court ruled that the district court’s decision was not clearly erroneous because plaintiff concealed his past injuries; he suffered a re-injury of aggravation to the same parts of his body; and he knowingly exposed his body to the risk of re-injury or aggravation. Ramirez v. American Pollution Control Corp., No. 09-40381 (5th Cir., February 2, 2010).

Court – equitable vacatur and materially significant presence

clip_image022 The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that equitable vacatur should not be applied against a plaintiff who sought a writ of attachment against defendant in a case where the plaintiff could not obtain in personam jurisdiction over the defendant in the district where the plaintiff has its most significant presence. In the instant case, two logistics service providers got into a dispute with defendant shipper. After a series of lawsuits, plaintiffs sought and obtained a writ of attachment from the US District Court for the Western District of Washington. After the attached property (bunkers) was sold, defendant moved for equitable vacatur requiring the return to the defendant of the full value of the garnishment, pointing out that the property had been sold for less than its fair market value. The district court vacated the writ and held that equitable vacatur was appropriate because, among other things, because all the parties were present in another jurisdiction (the Southern District of Texas). The appellate court reversed the order of equitable vacatur with respect to one of the plaintiff because that plaintiff did not have a materially significant presence in the Southern District of Texas. ProShipLine v. Aspen Infrastructures, No. 08-35337 (9th Cir., February 3, 2010).

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 – February 2010

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