Mulling Sanctions: Will the 45th President Limit Trade with Iran and Cuba?

Mainbrace | March 2016 (No. 2)

Stefanos N. Roulakis

The election of the 45th President of the United States could have a drastic impact on the global maritime industry. There are few issues that changed for the maritime industry in the last year of the Obama administration as much as trade sanctions against Iran and Cuba. Continue reading “Mulling Sanctions: Will the 45th President Limit Trade with Iran and Cuba?”

The Latest on the Ballast Water Conundrum

Mainbrace | March 2016 (No. 2)

Jeanne M. Grasso and Dana S. Merkel

The challenges faced by the maritime industry in implementing international and domestic ballast water requirements continue unabated. These challenges may be getting even more challenging in the next year or so.

Internationally, new ratifications to the International Maritime Organization’s (“IMO”) International  Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (“Convention”) mean the Convention is very close to entering into force. In the United States, which is not party to the Convention, the U.S. Coast Guard (“USCG”) issued a revised policy addressing extensions for the installation of ballast water treatment systems and, shortly thereafter, rejected an “equivalency request” from four ballast water treatment system manufacturers, which would have helped alleviate the need for these extensions, which now number more than 4,000. In addition, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) acted arbitrarily and capriciously in drafting the ballast water provisions of its Vessel General Permit for Discharges Incidental to the Normal Operation of Vessels (“VGP”), thus creating more uncertainty. Continue reading “The Latest on the Ballast Water Conundrum”

Critical Habitat for Right Whales Expanded

Jeanne M. Grasso, Jonathan K. Waldron, and Stefanos N. Roulakis

Action Item: The National Marine Fisheries Services (“NMFS”) promulgated a final rule identifying critical habitats for the endangered Northern Atlantic Right Whale. Stakeholders involved in spill response, ocean and offshore energy (including renewable energy), fisheries, and other activities requiring federal permits or permission should examine the final rule to determine current possible impacts to activities in the Atlantic Ocean. Additionally, stakeholders involved in industries in the Atlantic Ocean, particularly in the South Atlantic, should consider engaging early with NMFS to minimize permitting delays and costly modifications to plans. Continue reading “Critical Habitat for Right Whales Expanded”

Heavy Lifting: U.S. Coast Guard Confirms Container Verified Gross Mass Requirement Will Not Be Delayed

Jeanna M. Grasso, Jonathan K. Waldron, and Dana S. Merkel

Action Item: A recent amendment to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (“SOLAS”) regarding requirements for providing certain cargo information, including weight, prior to loading has caused industry confusion and consternation. As the implementation date is July 1, 2016, stakeholders should work together to develop procedures to meet this implementation date because the U.S. Coast Guard has made it clear that it does not intend to delay implementation. Continue reading “Heavy Lifting: U.S. Coast Guard Confirms Container Verified Gross Mass Requirement Will Not Be Delayed”

January 16th Marked Changes in U.S. Sanctions on Iran

Matthew J. Thomas, Jonathan K. Waldron, and Dana S. Merkel

Action Item: January 16, 2016, marked Implementation Day under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”), an agreement between Iran and the EU3+3 nations (the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the United States) to ease international trade sanctions in exchange for constraints on Iran’s nuclear capabilities. As of January 16, the United States lifted a number of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, particularly the so-called “secondary sanctions” related to non-U.S. persons. With limited exceptions, U.S. persons and companies continue to be broadly prohibited from engaging in transactions with Iran, but a limited exception has been implemented to permit foreign subsidiaries of U.S. entities to do business with Iran in some circumstances. Continue reading “January 16th Marked Changes in U.S. Sanctions on Iran”

Congress “Almost” Takes Action on the “Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015”

Mainbrace | January 2016 (No. 1)

Jonathan K. Waldron and Joan M. Bondareff

In the waning hours of the first session of the 114th Congress, the Senate passed H.R. 4188, an “Act to authorize appropriations for the Coast Guard for fiscal years 2016 and 2017, and for other purposes,” but the House of Representatives had already recessed for the year so final passage has been stalled until 2016. We anticipate that the House will take up the bill within the first two months of 2016, pass it without further amendment, and send it off to the President for his signature. Therefore, we have summarized the Senate enrolled bill, below, with our fondest hopes that the House decides not to tinker with the bill any further… Continue reading “Congress “Almost” Takes Action on the “Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015””