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Disputes arising in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) following Hurricane Ida can be subject to three bodies of law: maritime law, federal law under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), and state law, whether surrogate federal law under the OCSLA or within territorial waters. Jurisdiction for claims arising in the GOM is generally a federal question under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 subject to the saving to suitors clause in certain maritime-related claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1333(1). Jurisdictional issues can be complicated and fact-based where maritime and non-maritime “services” are “mixed,” as discussed in Baker v. Hercules Offshore, Inc., 706 F.3d 680 (5th Cir. 2013).

The Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), as defined, consists of submerged lands, subsoil, and seabed in a specified zone up to 200 or more nautical miles seaward of the adjacent states’ jurisdiction. The OCSLA, 43 U.S.C. § 1331, et seq., regulating OCS operations extends federal jurisdiction to OCS operations and resources under 43 U.S.C. § 1349(b). Likewise, the OCSLA extends the benefits conferred by the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) to employees working on the OCS.


Continue Reading Offshore Jurisdictional Issue Primer

Piecing things back together following a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Ida, can be a time-consuming and stressful process for individuals and companies alike.

For those in the maritime industry, there are a number of unique factors to be mindful of when assessing the extent and scope of damage. Below are some helpful tips from Jones Walker’s maritime emergency and casualty response team for responding to an emergency:


Continue Reading Best Practices when Responding to a Maritime Disaster

Vessels are vital for the movement of people and property (cargo) over inland waters, across blue water, and in support of offshore energy operations in post-Ida recovery. During post-Ida salvage and repair operations, vessels are necessary. Ida resulted in the destruction of terminals, docks, and platforms and also resulted in vessels “breaking away” from their moorings and sustaining heavy damages.

Vessels are hired, rented, or leased under the terms and conditions of charter parties and Master Service Agreements, which dictate the use, warranties, obligations, and allocation of risks between the parties. Understanding the basic structure of a vessel hire is important, just as when we rent a car or truck for personal or business purposes.


Continue Reading Charter Party and Service Agreements Will Lead the Way to Ida Recovery but Have Consequences

Following a major hurricane or other extreme weather event, vessel owners and operators may face liability for failure to perform their agreed contracts or for liability arising from an allision or collision. When such major hurricanes strike, to escape liability, vessel owners and operators may take advantage of two doctrines: (1) force majeure; and (2) the inevitable accident/ Act of God defense. Below we explain those doctrines and the burden of proof for each.

Continue Reading Hurricanes and Act of God Defenses

On March 22, 2021, the US Coast Guard released a change notice to its COVID-19 guidance in Marine Safety Information Bulletin Number 02-21.  This change includes sea ports (maritime transportation hubs), provides additional information on applicability for mask wear in the marine transportation system, and includes links to Coast Guard and CDC Frequently Asked Questions

As of March 22, 2021, all energy and transportation workers, including river pilots, are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Louisiana. Governor John Bel Edwards expanded vaccine eligibility to all essential workers in Priority Group 1-B, Tier Two, including transportation, construction, manufacturing, and energy workers. An updated list of all eligible individuals and essential

On January 21, 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order (EO) 13998 to promote COVID-19 safety in domestic and international travel. The EO confirms existing public health measures and implements new measures that will impact marine operators and activities within sea ports for both domestic and international travel.


Continue Reading Mask Order on Certain Modes of Domestic Travel — US Coast Guard To Implement Public Health Measures at Sea Ports and Will Enforce CDC Guidelines

The Louisiana Maritime Association issued an updated COVID-19 Daily Report Supplement this week on September 23, 2020. In this supplement, there are updated links to current state and local guidance and some additional CDC recommendations for maritime pilots. Follow this link to access this report online.

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, detailed arrangements, procedures, and protocols have been designed and implemented to help assure the health and well-being of seafarers and passengers, while maintaining day-to-day operations of marine and offshore assets.

In a recent Maritime Executive article, authors Martin Petricic and Gareth Burton of ABS worked with Rear Admiral Joyce Johnson