U.S. Coast Guard Publishes Final Rule That Increases the Marine Casualty Reporting Thresholds

Jeanne M. Grasso, Jonathan K. Waldron, and Sean T. Pribyl

 

 

 

On March 19, 2018, the U.S. Coast Guard published its long-awaited final rule on Marine Casualty Reporting Property Damage Thresholds. In what was widely viewed as a common-sense and non-controversial adjustment, the final rule amends the monetary property damage threshold amounts for reporting a marine casualty and serious marine incidents (“SMI”). These amended thresholds ease the reporting burdens for industry stakeholders and also reduce the administrative burden on the U.S. Coast Guard associated with investigating these incidents.

Marine Casualty Reporting Requirements

Generally, when a marine casualty or accident occurs on navigable waters (within 12 nautical miles), or involving a U.S.-flag vessel wherever it is operating, the owner, operator, master, or person in charge of the vessel involved may have an obligation to immediately report it to the U.S. Coast Guard. Not all marine casualties are reportable, as such reporting is dependent on the type of incident, e.g., grounding, allision, loss of propulsion, injury requiring professional medical treatment, or property damage, and whether the damage meets property damage thresholds. U.S. Coast Guard regulations consider a marine casualty to be reportable when it meets distinct criteria, and has therefore developed regulations that define reporting thresholds and the manner of reporting a marine casualty or an SMI, which also requires drug and alcohol testing. See 46 CFR Subpart 4. Continue reading “U.S. Coast Guard Publishes Final Rule That Increases the Marine Casualty Reporting Thresholds”

The Courts Strike Down Oilfield Contractor Penalty Liabilities

On December 18, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dismissed the U.S. government’s appeal regarding a Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”) Notification of Incident of Noncompliance (“INC”) civil penalty issued against an oilfield contractor. This development brings closure to the long-standing question of whether BSEE has authority to enforce civil and criminal penalties against offshore contractors.

Continue reading “The Courts Strike Down Oilfield Contractor Penalty Liabilities”

U.S. Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center Publishes Criteria for Making U.S. Build and Rebuild Determinations

Jonathan K. Waldron, Jeanne M. Grasso, and Sean T. Pribyl

Action Item: A recently published guidance document issued by the National Vessel Documentation Center (“NVDC”) for the first time provides the public with the key criteria it uses in making U.S. Build and Rebuild determinations. Stakeholders should review this guidance document for application to their interests. Continue reading “U.S. Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center Publishes Criteria for Making U.S. Build and Rebuild Determinations”

Department Of Homeland Security Approves Jones Act Waiver for Deliveries to Puerto Rico

Jonathan K. Waldron, Jeanne M. Grasso, Matthew J. Thomas, and Sean T. Pribyl

 

 

 

Action Item: On September 28, 2017, Acting Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) Secretary Elaine Duke issued a 10-day Jones Act waiver, available here, in the interest of national defense and in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. The waiver commences immediately and applies to all products shipped from U.S. coastwise points to Puerto Rico. Covered merchandise must be laded on board a vessel within the 10-day period and delivered by October 18, 2017. Continue reading “Department Of Homeland Security Approves Jones Act Waiver for Deliveries to Puerto Rico”

Department Of Homeland Security Extends Jones Act Waiver

Jonathan K. Waldron, Jeanne M. Grasso, Matthew J. Thomas, and Sean T. Pribyl

 

 

 

Action Item: On September 12, 2017, Acting Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) Secretary Elaine Duke issued a new Jones Act waiver for refined products, effectively broadening and extending the previously issued seven-day Jones Act waiver by an additional seven days, to now run through September 22, 2017. This second Jones Act waiver also expands the number of states to which the waiver applies, and now includes movement of refined petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, shipped from New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico. The new waiver can be found here. Continue reading “Department Of Homeland Security Extends Jones Act Waiver”

Jones Act Waiver Granted In Response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Jeanne M. Grasso, Sean T. Pribyl, Matthew J. Thomas, and Jonathan K. Waldron

 

 

 

Action Item: On September 8, 2017, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) Elaine Duke granted a seven-day waiver of the Jones Act in the interest of national defense. The waiver was issued to facilitate the movement of refined petroleum products to be shipped from New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Louisiana to South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Notably, this waiver applies to covered merchandise laded on board a vessel within the seven-day period of the waiver, and interested parties should be aware of the restrictions attendant to this waiver. The actual Jones Act waiver can be found here. Continue reading “Jones Act Waiver Granted In Response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma”

U.S. Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center Issues Rebuild Determination with Newly Imposed “Cumulative Steelweight” Criteria

Jonathan K. Waldron and Sean T. Pribyl

Action Item: A recently published Rebuild Determination Letter issued by the National Vessel Documentation Center (“NVDC”) adds a significant new criteria in making Jones Act rebuild determinations by calling into question any previous rebuild activity in which a vessel may have been engaged. To ensure future compliance with coastwise trade requirements, industry stakeholders must now consider the additional “cumulative steelweight” test articulated in the recent determination when assessing the extent to which foreign work has been performed on a vessel’s hull or superstructure. Continue reading “U.S. Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center Issues Rebuild Determination with Newly Imposed “Cumulative Steelweight” Criteria”