Note from the Editor

Thomas H. Belknap, Jr., Editor

COVID, COVID, COVID … Sometimes it feels like that is all anyone is talking about these days (especially now that the election is behind us). So, in this issue of Mainbrace, we (mostly) take a break from that topic and try to focus on some other things.

Use of new technology in the maritime industry is one subject that always interests us, and there is no shortage of pertinent topics in this space. In this issue, we present articles discussing the legal and practical issues relating to the use of facial recognition technology on cruise ships, developments in the use of blockchain in global logistics arrangements, and new regulatory developments relating to electronic recordkeeping onboard vessels.

Meanwhile, as the 116th Congress moves towards its close at the end of the year, we take a look at pending maritime-related legislation and make a few guesses as to what we might expect from the 117th Congress, which convenes in January 2021. Of particular interest to the budding offshore wind industry is a separate article looking at recent developments on proposed legislation to clarify the application of the Jones Act to offshore wind development. We also look at ongoing efforts to pass legislation to tackle the serious and expanding problem of plastics in the oceans, as well as provide an update on regulatory developments relating to the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act.

The year 2020 has become a punchline of sorts for all the things that can go wrong. There’s no question that it has been a year like no other in memory, and I am sure many of us are ready to turn a new leaf in 2021. With disruption comes opportunity, however, and it is not so difficult to envision the many ways that the hurdles of this year will jumpstart innovation and progress in the coming years. Indeed, it seems clear that we are already heading down this path. So, let this be our New Year’s wish to all our clients and friends: may you stay ahead of the curve and figure out how to turn problems into solutions. We look forward to being there to help you do just that in 2021 and beyond. Happy Holidays to all.