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Maritime Law Archives

Two Incidents Halt Operations on the Hebron Offshore Platform

On June 3, 2017, it was announced that the sizeable Herbon oil platform started its two week journey from Bull Arm, St. John's, to the Grand Banks. Eight tow vessels were used to carry the massive platform to its destination.

Basics of Admiralty Limitation on Liability Actions

Unlike typical personal injury lawsuits, claims involving ships and vessels may be subject to special rules that can limit the damages an injured party is entitled to receive following a lawsuit. While most lawsuits seek recovery for the entirety of medical and property damages incurred by an injured individual, these admiralty actions, known as Limitation Actions, can reduce or even eliminate the amount of money available to be awarded.

Fifth Circuit Rules on Applicability of the "Collateral Source Rule" for Medical Benefits Paid Under a Workers' Compensation Insurance Policy Required by the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the "collateral source rule," which prevents a defendant from reducing his liability by the amount a plaintiff recovers from independent sources such as health insurance, does not apply when the defendant's workers' compensation insurance carrier pays benefits pursuant to the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA). Under the court's ruling, written off portions of billed medical expenses are not recoverable when the remaining portion of the billed medical expenses were paid through LHWCA workers' compensation insurance.

"Advances" from Employers of Injured Jones Act Seamen

When a seaman is hurt at work, many employers seek to avoid responsibility by paying "advances" while the seaman is recovering and undergoing medical treatment. By law, the employer of an injured Jones Act seaman is required to pay that seamen maintenance and cure benefits. At the end of a case, employers are not permitted reimbursement for proper maintenance and cure benefits. However, if an employer characterizes payments as "advances," then the company can try to get repaid that money out of any settlement or amount a jury may award at trial.

Two German Maritime Shipping Companies Plead Guilty to Environmental Crimes

On October 25, 2016, two German shipping companies pleaded guilty to environmental crimes for using what is commonly referred to as a "magic pipe" to discharge pollutant-laden waste into waters of the United States. The companies, which owned and operated the M/V Nils B, acknowledged that they used a black hose to dump used fuel oil and lubricating oil. Such discharging activities are prohibited by United States and international law due to serious negative environmental impacts. The companies and the United States have agreed to recommend that the court impose a criminal penalty of $750,000.00. The case is pending before the Honorable Jan M. Adler in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.

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