In our previous article “COVID-19 and the Shipowner’s Legal Obligations,” published in The Maritime Executive, and through our participation in a Zoom webinar on potential vessel operator liabilities hosted in conjunction with Greater New Orleans Barge Fleeting Association, we discussed the standard of reasonable care owed under the Jones Act and an employer’s obligation to provide a reasonably safe place to work. An owner has a duty to provide a seaworthy vessel under the General Maritime Law.

Recently, a COVID-19-related wrongful death lawsuit was filed against a vessel owner/Jones Act employer in the Eastern District of Louisiana titled, Kathy Norwood v. Rodi Marine LLC, et al., Civil Action No. 2:20-cv-01404. This case has been assigned to Judge Eldon Fallon and will test the legal obligations owed by vessel owners.


Continue Reading COVID-19-Related Jones Act Suit Filed

Part I of this series outlined remedies available under the Jones Act and vessel owner liabilities. During part II of this series, we will summarize some remedies available under the general maritime law to third-party visitors and passengers. This could include individuals riding on a crew boat, contract hands on offshore drilling vessels, or passengers on crew boats.


Continue Reading COVID-19: VESSEL OWNER OBLIGATIONS, PART II

Vessel owners may have liability to their employees who become ill in the service of the ship and who may also expose other crew members. Vessel owners may also have obligations to third-party visitors and passengers exposed to COVID-19 while on board. Part I of this series will outline remedies available under the Jones Act and vessel owner liabilities.


Continue Reading COVID-19: VESSEL OWNER OBLIGATIONS, PART I

Virtually all states and locales have policies on what are “essential” services during the pandemic. So does the federal government — basically, healthcare, grocery stores, pharmacies, transportation, etc. In the case of contracts with federal agencies, Department of Defense contracts are considered essential, but those federal contracts and others may not also meet the test of all states and locales for being essential.


Continue Reading Federal Contracts — on Again or off Again — During the Coronavirus Pandemic

In MSIB 20-02 released by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Eighth District on April 2, 2020, the USCG announced that cases of COVID-19 in offshore workers reported to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) do not also need to be reported to the USCG, through the Captain of the Port, as previously

All vessels calling on US ports are now required to report crew and passenger illnesses to the Captain of the Port (COTP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), immediately, or 15 days prior to arriving in a U.S. port.

The USCG has deemed the illness of a person on board a vessel that may adversely affect the safety of the vessel or port facility a “hazardous condition” pursuant to 33 CFR 160.216.  Illnesses must be reported immediately to the Captain of the Port and the Centers for Disease Control. Additional guidance and reporting requirements can be found here: MSIB Number 02-20 (Change 3) issued on March 16, 2020.


Continue Reading Maritime Regulatory Update – COVID-19