Welcome to the summer 2017 edition of Mainbrace. To say we live in interesting times would be a serious understatement. We read headlines on a daily basis that challenge traditionally accepted notions of how governments operate, creating uncertainty as to how they will do so in the future. When you couple that uncertainty with the stiff headwinds faced by the maritime industry in recent years—vessel overcapacity in certain sectors, tight margins, cutbacks in the offshore-service sector, and the promulgation of new and expensive ballast water and air emissions regulatory regimes—the pressure to operate in a fiscally sound, fundamentally safe, and legally responsible manner has never been greater.
As ethical and legal compliance issues dominate the news, we thought it would be a good time to consider a variety of statutory and regulatory compliance matters that affect the maritime industry in the United States. Members of our white collar defense and investigations practice group have contributed a primer on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which may inform your perception of national political developments. George T. Boggs and Stefanos M. Roulakis of our international trade group have provided an article addressing U.S. anti-boycott provisions, which include reporting requirements that may surprise you. Our internationally recognized partner who focuses on Jones Act issues, Jonathan K. Waldron, in conjunction with Matthew J. Thomas and Patricia M. O’Neill, explain the latest developments involving the Executive Branch’s recent proposal to roll back 40 years of Jones Act coastwise-trade rulings.
W. Cameron Beard and Lauren B. Wilgus of our New York maritime practice group offer an article addressing how and when foreign litigants may be able to obtain discovery in the United States to support such foreign actions, and William R. Bennett and Alexandra Clark bring us up to date on the vexing issue of when punitive damages may be available in injury and death claims.
We also thought it appropriate to take stock on what has and has not been accomplished legislatively during the early days of the new Trump administration. Through insight gained from years on the Hill, Joan M. Bondareff, in conjunction with Jonathan K. Waldron, give us an overview of developments relating to the federal government’s fiscal year 2017 budget and legislative agendas.
While we look at compliance issues, we are mindful that our focus needs to include a watchful eye towards the future of the maritime industry. In that light, Alan M. Weigel and Sean T. Pribyl offer an article addressing developments relating to unmanned vessels and attendant legal implications.
We hope you find this edition informative and entertaining, and look forward to your suggestions for future articles. Enjoy the summer season!