Multimodalism and Through Transport–Language, Concepts, and Categories

The legal framework of international multimodal transport is tangled and complex, primarily because of the failure to agree on a discreet international convention. By contrast, agreement has been reached on several international and regional unimodal transport regimes. Consequently, the legal position relating to those regimes enjoys greater clarity and certainty, but none is wholly free of difficulties. It is also obvious that the logistics of international multimodal transport manifest a greater and more varied number of performance operations than international unimodal transportation, a factor which further contributes to the prevailing legal and commercial complexity.

In relation to international multimodal transport, there is also a less settled usage as to the appropriate defining language, with such phrases as “multimodal transport,” “combined transport,” “through transport,” and “intermodal transport” used interchangeably and somewhat loosely. In the defunct United Nations Convention on International Multimodal Transport of Goods of 1980 (Multimodal Convention), reference is made to “multimodal transport.” This mode of description appears to be increasingly followed in linguistic usage; though, as a perusal of texts, journals, and law reports will readily confirm, the alternatives are far from disappearing.

Forum Selection Clause Survey 2011-2012

This survey compiles and organizes case decisions regarding the enforceability of forum selection clauses (FSC) contained in bills of lading, charterparties, and other maritime contracts. The case summaries are classified by whether the FSC was enforced, not enforced, or conditionally enforced. If the court did not make one of these three determinations, then that information is provided, as well.

Collision Survey 2011-2012 Survey of Allision and Collision Decisions in the Federal and State Courts

This survey compiles and organizes allision and collision decisions by federal and state courts during the past two years. For allisions, incidents are classified by the type of structure with which the vessel allided. For collisions, the incidents are categorized chronologically. Many incidents could fall within multiple categories. These cases are classified according to the most significant aspect of the incident.

A Decade Later, $1 Billion Saved: The Second Circuit Relieves a Maritime Classification Society of Unprecedented Liability for Environmental and Economic Damages in Reino de España v. American Bureau of Shipping, Inc.

After sailing the world for more than a quarter century, the oil tanker PRESTIGE met a sudden demise in November 2002 when she sank 140 miles off the coast of Spain, following internal structural failure. Consequently, the PRESTIGE’s hazardous cargo of fuel oil spilled into the ocean, eventually washing onto Spain’s beaches and coastline.

Turning a Blind Eye to Deaf Ears: The Fifth Circuit Examines an LHWCA Claim for Hearing Loss in Ceres Gulf, Inc. v. Director, Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs

Claimant Norris Plaisance began working as a longshoreman in the 1950s. From 1982 until his retirement in 1988, Plaisance worked for petitioner Ceres Gulf. He initially noticed loss of his hearing in 1976 and subsequently obtained hearing aids. Plaisance was diagnosed with both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss upon his retirement from Ceres Gulf in 1988. Plaisance filed a claim against Ceres Gulf pursuant to the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) in March 2006.

Pirates Without Treasure: The Fourth Circuit Declares that Robbery is not an Essential Element of General Piracy

In two factually similar cases, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit was tasked with determining whether the piracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1651, encompasses attacks on vessels in international waters when the attackers do not seize or rob the vessels. Both cases were on appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, where two district judges had reached divergent conclusions on the definition of piracy.

Come One, Come All: The Second Circuit’s Messier Approach to Maintenance and Cure

Richard Messier, a tugboat seaman, fell off a ladder and sustained a back injury while working aboard the tug EVENING MIST, a Bouchard Transportation Co. (Bouchard) vessel. After seeking medical attention, his back pain quickly abated. However, during the ensuing medical examination, routine blood tests revealed an abnormally high level of creatinine in his blood. Messier’s creatinine levels continued to rise for a week, ultimately resulting in renal failure. After his symptoms subsided, Messier’s doctors ordered additional tests to determine the cause of his kidney failure.