Federal court overturns Massachusetts law setting navigation rules aimed at oil spills

A Massachusetts law establishing rules for vessels navigating in state waters has been struck down as unconstitutional by a federal court. Massachusetts passed the 2004 Massachusetts Oil Spill Prevention Act in response to the 2003 oil spill in Buzzards Bay. It occurred when a Bouchard Transportation Co. barge struck a rock ledge, spilling 98,000 gallons of oil. The state law…
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U.S. seeks an injunction against tax advisor

The U.S. Department of Justice has asked a federal court to issue an injunction prohibiting Martin Kapp, a certified public accountant based in California, from advising his clients that they can claim on their income tax returns what has come to be known in the industry as "the mariner's deduction."Kapp has written about tax breaks for mariners in articles that…
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Speed limits proposed off East Coast to protect endangered whales

The National Marine Fisheries Service is soliciting opinions on a proposal to implement speed restrictions in order to reduce the risk of collisions with endangered North Atlantic right whales. The restrictions would require vessels of 65 feet or longer to travel at 10 knots or less at certain times of the year in certain areas along the East Coast in…
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Salvage industry nearing end of monumental Katrina cleanup

Almost a year after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf coast, the largest commercial salvage mission in United States' history is nearly complete. As of Aug. 1, about 20 commercial vessels remain to be recovered in Louisiana and 14 in Alabama.In the wake of the two hurricanes there were between 3,000 and 3,500 commercial vessel casualties in the states…
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Egyptian crew of arrested ship spends four months stranded in Charleston

For Second Mate Shehab Mohamed Mustafa and 28 others, Charleston Harbor might as well have been a jail. The Egyptian crew aboard the bulk carrier Edco was stranded at Charleston for almost four months after the vessel became entangled in a financial dispute.Under a legal practice based on ancient maritime tradition, Edco was "arrested" by U.S. marshals after the ship's…
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U.S. Coast Guard looking overseas for 140-foot cutter designs

A worldwide search is nearing an end for an existing patrol-craft design that can be adapted as quickly as possible to bring new 140-foot cutters into service for the U.S. Coast Guard.The need became acute this winter after the Coast Guard wrote off $100 million in renovations to eight of its aging 110-footers. Attempts to lengthen their lives by refitting…
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Coast Guard mural honors responders to Hurricane Katrina

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a great deal of news coverage was given to the phenomenal air rescues performed by U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crews. Despite that recognition, Capt. Robert Mueller, deputy commander U.S. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, felt that there was also a need to honor the efforts of other responders.During a staff briefing, he suggested commissioning…
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Woodside Natural Gas and MARAD reach agreement

The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a notice stating that Woodside Natural Gas has applied for a license to construct and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) deepwater port (DWP) off the coast of California. Woodside has agreed to register two new LNG regasification vessels under the United States flag and to employ US officers and crew in the operation…
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Office Clerical Workers Announce Settlement in LA

(LOS ANGELES) After months of intense bargaining and marathon negotiations, office clerical workers announced this afternoon that a tentative agreement has just been reached with shipping executives on a three-year labor contract covering clerical workers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. "This agreement means good jobs that our community needs will stay here in the southland,” said…
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West Coast dock strike feared

 KNX News Radio in Los Angeles reported that the Longshoremen have promised to honor the clerical workers picket lines, which could shut down the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Both the union and the seventeen shipping companies doing business at the ports have proposed their last, best and final offer. But the offers were not good enough. John…
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