In response to the continuing COVID-19 epidemic, the United States Coast Guard, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have issued a series of administrative guidelines or regulations broadly affecting international maritime commerce. In addition to this agency action, the AWO and other sectors of the maritime industry have voluntarily formulated several response plans aimed at protecting the nation’s vital maritime commerce during this public emergency. We have reviewed these guidelines and regulations, and have organized them into general topics of common questions in our industry.


Continue Reading Maritime Industry COVID 19 Update

On March 29, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued its ruling in In re: Petition of Frescati Shipping Co., Ltd., as Owner of the M/T ATHOS I, Nos. 16-3552, 16-3867 & 16-3868 (3d Cir. Mar. 29, 2018).  ATHOS I had its genesis in a 2004 vessel allision and oil spill on the Delaware River between New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  The decision has particular relevance to the types of defenses that may be maintained against reimbursement claims brought by the United States Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF) to recover funds expended in responding to an oil spill.
Continue Reading Third Circuit Issues Long-Awaited Ruling in OPA Liability Case

In GIC Services, L.L.C. v. Freightplus USA, Inc., No. 15-3097 (5th Cir. Aug. 8, 2017), the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that an ocean carrier stiffed by an intermediary in a freight transaction may recover unpaid freight from the original NVOCC who arranged the cargo transportation unless the evidence clearly shows the carrier intended to release that party from liability.  The court further held that the carrier may protect its interest in unpaid freight against the cargo in rem, and weighed in on several other issues pertinent to the maritime field.  The key points of the lengthy opinion are highlighted below.
Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Addresses A Complicated Cargo Dispute, Resulting In A Victory For Vessel-Operating Common Carriers

In Settoon Towing, L.L.C. v. Marquette Transportation Company, L.L.C., No. 16-30459 (5th Cir. Jun. 9, 2017), the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held for the first time that a Responsible Party under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (“OPA”) has a statutory claim for contribution to recover purely economic damages from a partially liable third party.

Settoon arose out of a February 2014 collision on the Mississippi River near Convent, Louisiana.  A tug owned by Marquette collided with an oil-carrying barge owned by Settoon as the Marquette tug attempted to overtake the Settoon flotilla.  As a result of the collision, approximately 750 barrels of light crude oil discharged into the river.
Continue Reading U.S. Fifth Circuit Greenlights Contribution Action for Purely Economic Damages Under Oil Pollution Act (OPA)

It is Work Boat Show time in New Orleans, and yesterday featured a great presentation on marine investigations.  Any maritime lawyer worth her salt will tell you that the best part of the practice is getting that 0200 client call about a casualty, donning your protective gear, and racing to the ship.  No other legal practice offers the opportunity to regularly perform the equivalent of emergency room medicine like maritime law.  Not only is the practice exciting, but there is a great feeling that comes from knowing that your client trusts you enough to rely on you in such a high-stakes situation.
Continue Reading 7 Takeaways from the Maritime Investigations Presentation at This Year’s Work Boat Show in New Orleans