current-events

Get on board with current industry and legal news.


Tuesday, August 21, 2018
USCG Marine Safety Alert

Following a fatal injury to a vessel pilot, the USCG issued Safety Alert 14-18 as a reminder to the industry of the hazards involved in the use of vessel gangways and pilot ladders.

http://mariners.coastguard.dodlive.mil/2018/08/22/8-22-2018-marine-safety-alert-14-18-gangways-and-ladders/


Thursday, August 24, 2017
Hurricane Harvey ~ Insurance Claims

With the rapid intensification and approach of Hurricane Harvey in the Gulf of Mexico, attorneys and staff at Gilman & Allison, LLP are preparing for the influx in insurance claims that will follow.  As most homeowners living on the Gulf Coast who have been through storms know, insurance companies are in the business of receiving money, not paying it out.  We are in the business of holding them to their obligations.

If your home or property sustains damage from the hurricane, we are here to fight on your behalf to enforce the insurance coverage you paid for.


Friday, May 26, 2017
Texas Passes New Law to Discourage Policyholders from Disputing Weather-related Claims

On May 26, 2017, the Texas Governor signed a bill into law which adds a number of hurdles and restrictions, designed to discourage and prevent insurance policyholders from disputing weather-related claims for property damage.  The new law comes to effect on September 1, 2017.


Thursday, November 17, 2016
CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT

Gilman & Allison, LLP, in coordination with the Detroit lawfirm of Liddle & Dubin, PC, initiated a federal class action lawsuit to advocate for the interests of local property owners in Brazoria County, Texas who have suffered unreasonable damages from the conduct of the Blue Ridge Landfill.

http://setexasrecord.com/stories/511057906-8-pearland-property-owners-allege-landfill-operator-botched-job


Tuesday, October 18, 2016
VESSEL ARREST

On October 18, 2016, attorneys at Gilman & Allison, LLP orchestrated the arrest of a vessel in New Orleans, Louisiana on behalf of a stevedoring company asserting a maritime lien on unpaid invoices for services provided to the vessel.  The vessel was thereafter released upon settlement.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016
VESSEL ARREST

On January 5, 2016, Gilman & Allison, LLP effected the arrest of a vessel in Perth, Australia on behalf of a stevedoring company asserting a maritime lien for an unpaid invoice.  The vessel was thereafter released upon settlement.


Sunday, October 25, 2015
TUG & BARGE AGROUND

A tug  and barge unit (Peter F. Gellatly / Double Skin 504) was driven aground by high winds.  The unit, which had been at anchor in Bolivar Roads, eventually came to rest on a mud bottom near East Beach in Galveston, Texas.  The barge was empty, carrying only small amounts of slops (waste oil) in designated tanks.  No injuries or spill resulted.  The U.S. Coast Guard and local harbor tugboats responded to assist.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015
DRILLSHIP FATALITY

The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement have responded to an incident resulting in a fatality onboard the Pacific Santa Ana, a drillship operated by Pacific Drilling and leased by Chevron.  At the time of the incident, the Pacific Santa Ana was operating in Green Canyon Block 807 in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 200 miles south of Lake Charles, Louisiana.  No environmental impact has been reported, and the vessel remains on location.


Thursday, October 1, 2015
LOST AT SEA

S/S El Faro, a U.S. flagged 790-foot RO/RO built in 1975, has been lost in Hurricane Joaquin.  The last contact made with the vessel was during a distress call, in which the S/S El Faro reported she was adrift without power, had taken on water, and was experiencing a 15° list.  The vessel was en route from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico with a crew of 28 United States citizens (SIU and AMO unions) and a riding crew of 5 Polish nationals.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015
CHANGE IN LAW AFFECTING VESSEL ARRESTS

The Western Cape High Court in Cape Town, South Africa, issued a ruling that affects claimants who have released an arrested vessel in South Africa in exchange for a Letter of Undertaking (“LOU”).  The High Court ruled that when the owner or representative of an arrested vessel successfully challenges that arrest, the LOU must be returned to the owner or representative, without regard to pending appeals.


Monday, August 31, 2015
CHEMICAL EXPOSURE

Gilman & Allison, LLP filed a lawsuit against a foreign-flagged vessel and its owners on behalf of a number of longshoremen who were injured by that vessel’s cargo.  On March 9, 2015, the M/T Carla Maersk collided with the M/V Conti Peridot near Morgan’s Point on the Houston Ship Channel.  In that collision, the M/T Carla Maersk‘s cargo tanks were torn open, causing large amounts of toxic and carcinogenic liquid and vapors to escape into the environment.  Longshoremen represented by our firm were working in close proximity to the chemical release, and suffered significant and varied injuries as a result of exposure.


Thursday, May 14, 2015
VESSEL ARREST

On April 19, 2015, a Greek officer on a Greek-flagged vessel went missing off the Pacific coast of Mexico.  Gilman & Allison, LLP was hired by the missing mariner’s family in Greece to effect the arrest of the vessel and cause the vessel’s owner to present a bond for release of the vessel and appear in a Greek court to respond to the family’s concerns.


Wednesday, July, 23, 2014
LONGSHOREMAN INJURY CLAIM

The maritime attorneys at Gilman & Allison, LLP filed a lawsuit on behalf of a longshoreman who was injured in the Port of Houston while climbing a vessel’s accommodation ladder.  Our firm maintains a unique advantage over other “maritime” law firms when pursing a claim under the Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, because one of the partners of this law firm, Douglas Gilman, formerly worked as a Port Captain and Stevedore Superintendent prior to embarking on his legal career.  We gain particular enjoyment in fighting hard for the rights of injured longshoremen, as many of our friends continue working in that demanding industry.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV sent a letter  to Micky Arison, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Carnival Corporation, expressing his serious concerns regarding the safety and recent mechanical issues of Carnival Ship. You can read the letter here: Letter from John D. Rockefeller IV to Micky Arison


Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Shipbuilder’s Council 4th Circuit Challenge To OSHA Regs
Settlement Letter To SCA (1112

In the Spring of 2011, OSHA, after many years of development, published its Final Rule for General Working Conditions in Shipyard Employment (76 FR 24576; revision & amendment of 29 CFR Part 1915). True to form, the agency’s misunderstanding of the maritime workplace that it was attempting to regulate, coupled with its propensity to over-regulate in rote response to an ingrained subjective ignorance, resulted in a final regulation that was so intolerable to that industrial sector that it’s trade association (The Shipbuilder’s Council of America) was compelled to challenge the rule at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

Around the same time, a parallel type of challenge was mounted at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit by the National Maritime Safety Association (NMSA), in response to OSHA’s Final Rule for the vertical tandem lifting (VTL) of intermodal cargo containers. That rulemaking, too, provided every indication that OSHA simply did not understand the fundamental aspects of the subject matter it was trying to regulate within the marine cargo handling industrial sector.

At the DC Circuit, the Court remanded several substantive provisions of the final rule owing to large insufficiencies. Indeed, OSHA expects to re-open the record of the VTL rule making in the first half of 2013 in order to perfect those remanded provisions.

Meanwhile, the petition filed at the 4th Circuit by the Shipbuilder’s Council looks like it will never get to oral arguments. That, owing to settlement negotiations and their product (see attached), arrived at late in 2012. Essentially, in return for OSHA’s relief-providing “clarifications”, the law suit was withdrawn.

Several years earlier, the marine cargo handling industry was forced into the same experience with regard to OSHA’s powered industrial truck training regulations.

The foregoing are examples of costly and time consuming mistakes, each of which easily avoided with OSHA’s acquisition of accurate knowledge and the wherewithal to translate that knowledge into technically on-point regulations. Apparently, that’s far too much for the regulated maritime community to hope for.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013
OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Plan
CPL_02-13-01
Region VII CPL-2-09-01C

Yesterday, OSHA made public CPL 02-13-01  [The agency’s revised Site-Specific Inspection Targeting Plan]. Within the plan, OSHA sets out protocols to be used when area offices actually schedule enforcement activities. Please find a copy attached.

Please also appreciate that OSHA utilizes National and Local Emphasis Plans when scheduling enforcement actions. While the marine cargo handling industry (SIC 4491) does not specifically appear within the industrial sectors attaining National Emphasis, it is addressed within several Local (Regional/Area Office) Emphasis initiatives. All four of those Local Directives are attached for your consideration.


Tuesday, December 17,  2012
OSHA Notice: Stakeholder Mtgs in re Backover Accidents
OSHA Notice- Stakeholder Meeting in re Backover Accidents (121712)

SUMMARY: OSHA invites interested parties to participate in informal stakeholder meetings on preventing backover injuries and fatalities. OSHA plans to use information gathered at these meetings to evaluate backover risks across various industries, whether or how backovers may be prevented by new technology or other methods, and how effective those measures are.


Tuesday, November 29,  2012
Current Alert: 29 CFR Part 1922

What is it and what does it do?
http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/29/1922


Friday, June 22, 2012
OSHA Direct Final Rule- Updating of Head Protection Regulations
OSHA NPRM – Updating Head Protection Regulations (062212)

OSHA DFR – Updating Head Protection Regulations (062212)

SUMMARY: OSHA is issuing this direct final rule to revise the personal protective equipment (PPE) sections of its general industry, shipyard employment, longshoring, and marine terminals standards regarding requirements for head protection. OSHA is updating the references in its standards to recognize the 2009 edition of the American National Standard for Industrial Head Protection, and is deleting the 1986 edition of that national consensus standard because it is out of date. OSHA also is including the construction industry in this rulemaking to ensure consistency among the Agency’s standards. OSHA is publishing a proposed rule in today’s Federal Register taking this same action.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012
FMCSA Final Rule-Chassis Insoection Reports
FMCSA Final Rule-Chassis Insoection Reports (061212)

SUMMARY: FMCSA eliminates the requirement for drivers operating intermodal equipment (IME) to submit—and intermodal equipment providers (IEPs) to retain—driver-vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) when the driver has neither found nor been made aware of any defects in the IME.  This responds to a joint petition for rulemaking from the Ocean Carrier Equipment Management Association (OCEMA) and the Institute of International Container Lessors (IICL).


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Notice: MACOSH Mtg (Seattle, 24/25 July)
OSHA-MACOSH Mtg Notice (060612)

Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 USC Title 5)(Courtesy of Signorino Posting)

SUMMARY: In today’s FEDERAL REGISTER, OSHA has had published a notice announcing the next meeting of the Maritime Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety & Health (MACOSH). Please find that notice attached.  It’s worth making the observation that MACOSH (in terms of its utility and value to employers and employees within the marine cargo handling industry) is hardly worth the public resources necessary to keep the committee functioning. This is so, owing largely to three reasons:

  1. OSHA uses MACOSH as its own personal tool, by having the committee provide a charade-like rubber stamp for the direction and “initiatives” that the agency itself  wishes to pursue;
  2. Over its many years of operation, OSHA has seldom (if ever) asked for MACOSH’s opinions or advice before embarking upon inane policy shifts that impact the regulated maritime industries in no small way; and
  3. For the most part, current MACOSH members ostensibly representing the marine cargo handling community clearly are not in possession of the knowledge and expertise required by the law that is supposed to be the gold standard in the composition and operation of such committees: the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). For a better assessment of the Secretary of Labor’s compliance with FACA in re MACOSH (Yes, it’s her committee. She appoints the members and then defers to OSHA in the operation of the committee thereafter), a copy of that law is attached, as well.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012
OSHA Issues Globally Harmonized HazCom Final Rule
(Courtesy of Signorino Posting)
Read More
SUMMARY: In this final rule, OSHA is modifying its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to conform to the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). OSHA has determined that the modifications will significantly reduce costs and burdens while also improving the quality and consistency of information provided to employers and employees regarding chemical hazards and associated protective measures. Consistent with the requirements of Executive Order 13563, which calls for assessment and, where appropriate, modification and improvement of existing rules, the Agency has concluded this improved information will enhance the effectiveness of the HCS in ensuring that employees are apprised of the chemical hazards to which they may be exposed, and in reducing the incidence of chemical-related occupational illnesses and injuries.


Thursday, March 8, 2012
OSHA Direct Final Rule – Updating Acetylene Standards
(Courtesy of Signorino Posting)
Click Here to Download PDF
SUMMARY: OSHA is confirming the effective date of its direct final rule that revises the Acetylene Standard for general industry by updating the reference to a standard published by a standards-developing organization, the Compressed Gas Association. In the December 5, 2011, direct final rule, OSHA stated that it would withdraw the companion proposed rule and confirm the effective date of the direct final rule if the Agency received no significant adverse comments. OSHA did not receive significant adverse comments on the direct final rule. Therefore, OSHA is confirming that the direct final rule will become effective on March 5, 2012.


Monday, February 13,2012
DOL Regulatory Flexibility Agenda
(Courtesy of Signorino Posting)
Click Here to Download PDF
SUMMARY: The Internet has become the means for disseminating the entierty of the Department of Labor’s semiannual regulatory agenda. However, the Regulatory Felxibility Act requires publication of a regulatory flexibility agenda in the Federal Register. This Federal Register notice contains the regulatory flexibility agenda. In addition, the Department’s regulatory plan, a subset of the Department’s regulatory agenda, is being published in the Federal Register. The regulatory plan contains a statement of the Department’s regulatory priorities and the regulatory actions the Department wants to highlight as its most important and significant.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012
FMCSA implements CDL Medical Card Merger Program
(Courtesy of  Lane S. VanIngen)
Read More
SUMMARY:
FMCSA is pursuing program initiatives and exploring rules to support the medical program in preparation for implementation of new initiatives, such as the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners and regulations to provide for a Federal medical qualification certificate to be made part of the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). These initiatives include engaging the diverse medical community that examines drivers for medical fitness for duty, and in carrying out the planning, development, and research necessary to promulgate and enforce these proposed rules and programs.The FMCSA sought and received expanded authorities to support its medical program.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Massive fire on offshore rig near Nigeria’s coast continues; 2 workers still missing
(Courtesy of Washington Post)
Read More
SUMMARY: Chevron Corp. says a fire on an offshore rig near Nigeria’s coast is still burning as a search continues for two missing workers.
Chevron said an investigation into the fire is ongoing, though they believe a possible equipment failure caused the inferno. Officials with Nigeria’s state-run oil company already have blamed the fire on a “gas kick” — a major build up of gas pressure from drilling.


Monday, January 16, 2012
Cruise ship accident
(Courtesy of Reuters)
Read More
SUMMARY: A large Italian cruise ship carrying more than 4,000 people ran aground on a sandbar off the coast of Italy on Friday night and passengers and crew were being evacuated to a nearby island, coastguard officials said. They said there were no immediate reports of injuries among the some 3,200 passengers and 1,023 crew. Those on board were being evacuated by lifeboats and other ships in the area. The ship, the 290-metre-long Costa Concordia, ran aground at about 10 p.m. (2100 GNT) near the island of Giglio off the Tuscan coast, said the officials. A statement from the Italian coastguard said the ship had taken on water and was listing about 20 degrees but that there was no danger of it sinking. The cruise ship company said the cause of the incident is being investigated.


Thursday, January 12, 2012
Outreach Training Offerings at OSHA’s Website
Click Here to Download PDF
SUMMARY: This week, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) has announced a new initiative (ostensibly put in place by the agency’s Directorate of Training & Education) that would allow employers and employees to secure OSH-related training within a number of various subject headings. Click HERE for a link to the press release announcing this initiative. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today announced its selection of 10 OSHA authorized training providers to deliver 25 online courses as part of its Outreach Training Program. The OSHA Outreach Training Program teaches workers how to identify, prevent, and eliminate workplace hazards. The program also informs workers of their rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011
EPA Grants California’s Request to Adopt & Enforce Cold Ironing Regulations
(Courtesy of Signorino Posting)
Click Here to Download PDF
SUMMARY: The At-Berth Regulation requires fleets of container vessels, passenger vessels and refrigerated cargo vessels to either: (1) Limit the amount of time they operate their auxiliary diesel engines by connecting to shore power for most of a vessel’s stay at port (‘‘Shore Power Option’’); or (2) achieve equivalent emission reductions by employing other emission control techniques (‘‘Equivalent Emission Reduction Option’’).7 Fleet operators who elect the Shore Power Option are required to obtain the power that would otherwise be provided by a vessel’s auxiliary engines by connecting to shore power for a percentage of the fleet’s annual port visits.8 The required percentage of shore power connected port visits increases over the life of the regulation. Specifically, fifty percent of a fleet’s total visits must be connected to shore power by 2014, followed by seventy percent by 2017, and eighty percent by 2020. Additionally, if a vessel is equipped to connect to shore power and it visits a berth equipped to provide compatible power, the vessel must us the shore power provided.


Monday, December 5, 2011
DOT Issues Final Rule – Restricting Cell Phone Use For Truck Drivers
(Courtesy of Lane S. VanIngen)
Click Here to Download PDF
SUMMARY: Recently the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) have joined forces to issue a final rule that will restrict the use of cell phones by drivers of commercial motor vehicles. The rule banning use of handheld cell phones applies only to drivers of commercial motor vehicles who are involved in interstate commerce. The rule intends to limit the distractions to a commercial vehicle driver and thereby make our nation’s highways safer.


Friday, December 2, 2011
FMCSA/PHMSA Final Rule- Restricting the Use of Cellular Phones
(Courtesy of Signorino Posting)
Click Here to Download PDF
SUMMARY:FMCSA and PHMSA are amending the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to restrict the use of hand-held mobile telephones by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). This rulemaking will improve safety on the Nation’s highways by reducing the prevalence of distracted driving-related crashes, fatalities, and injuries involving drivers of CMVs. The Agencies also amend their regulations to implement new driver disqualification sanctions for drivers of CMVs who fail to comply with this Federal restriction and new driver disqualification sanctions for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who have multiple convictions for violating a State or local law or ordinance on motor vehicle traffic control that restricts the use of handheld mobile telephones. Additionally, motor carriers are prohibited from requiring or allowing drivers of CMVs to use hand-held mobile telephones.


Wednesday, November 29, 2011
OSHA Info Collection Approval-Transport of VTLs
(Courtesy of Signorino Posting)
Click Here to Download PDF
SUMMARY: The Department of Labor (DOL) is submitting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sponsored information collection request (ICR) titled, ‘‘Vertical Tandem Lifts for Marine Terminals,’’ to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The Vertical Tandem Lifts (VTLs) standards of regulations 29 CFR part 1917 require employers to develop, implement, and maintain a written plan for transporting vertically connected containers in the longshoring and marine terminal industries. The written plan is necessary for the safe transport of VTLs in the marine terminal where factors affect the stability of a VTL that has a higher center of gravity than a single container.


Monday, October 17, 2011
OSHA House Bill Update:
(Courtesy of Signorino Posting)
Click Here to Download PDF File
SUMMARY: The un-numbered HouseBill introduced last week represents the Republican-controlled House’s version of appropriations (funding) legislation for the Departments of Labors and Health & Human Services. The OSHA-related segments of the bill include inspection exemptions for most agricultural workplaces, exemptions for workplaces with ten or fewer workers, collection if fees from nationally recognized testing laboratories, etc., etc. Of substantial interest, however, are newly-appearing provisos that prohibit any appropriated funds from being available for the funding of Susan Harwood training grants, for the development of any standard that would include the reinsertion of a musculoskeletal disorder column on any OSHA recordkeeping form, for the development of any standard that would impose an I2P2 standard, for the enforcement of the recently-reversed policy OSHA had allowed for fall protection in the residential construction industry; and for the development or enforcement of any standard that would qualify as a “significant regulatory action” under the terms of Executive Order 12866, unless both the Senate & House Appropriations Committees have received thirty (30) days advance notice.


Friday, December 29, 2010
Proposed Hours of Service Regulation changes:
(Courtesy of Lane S. VanIngen)
SUMMARY: In late December while everyone was enjoying the holidays, FMCSA announced that it would be proposing changes to the hours of service rules that are currently in place. To give you a summary on what may be expected in a forthcoming rule to publish this summer, see the recap below:
The proposed rule would limit drivers to either 10 or 11 hours of driving time following a period of at least 10 consecutive hours off duty. FMCSA is considering both limits. It would limit the standard “driving window” to 14 hours, while allowing that number to be extended to 16 hours twice a week. Actual duty time within the driving window would be limited to 13 hours. The Drivers would be permitted to drive only if 7 hours or less have passed since their last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes. The 34-hour restart would be retained, subject to certain limits: the restart would have to include two periods between midnight and 6 a.m. and could be started no sooner than 168 hours (7 days) after the beginning of the previously designated restart. The definition of “on duty” would be revised to allow some time spent in or on the CMV to be logged as off duty.


Friday, April 29, 2011
PHMSA Final Rule: Texting Ban While Conveying Select Cargoes
(Courtesy Signorino Posting)
Click Here to Download PDF
SUMMARY: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is prohibiting texting on electronic devices by drivers during the operation of a motor vehicle containing a quantity of hazardous materials requiring placarding or any quantity of a select agent or toxin listed in the Department of Health and Human Services ‘‘Select Agents and Toxins’’ regulations. Additionally, in accordance with requirements adopted on September 27, 2010 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), motor carriers are prohibited from requiring or allowing drivers of covered motor vehicles to engage in texting while driving. This rulemaking improves the health and safety on the Nation’s highways by reducing the prevalence of distracted driving-related crashes, fatalities, and injuries involving drivers of commercial motor vehicles.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011
PHMSA: Enhanced Enforcement Authority Procedures
(Courtesy Signorino Posting)
Click Here to Download PDF
SUMMARY: PHMSA is implementing enhanced inspection, investigation, and enforcement authority conferred on the Secretary of Transportation by the Hazardous Materials Transportation Safety and Security Reauthorization Act of 2005. This final rule establishes procedures for issuance of emergency orders (restrictions, prohibitions, recalls, and out-of-service orders) to address unsafe conditions or practices posing an imminent hazard; opening packages to identify undeclared or non- compliant shipments, when the person in possession of the package refuses a request to open it; and the temporary detention and inspection of potentially non-compliant packages. These inspection and enforcement procedures will not change the current inspection procedures for DOT, but will enhance DOT’s existing enforcement authority and allow us to respond immediately and effectively to conditions or practices that pose serious threats to life, property, or the environment. As this rule affects only agency enforcement procedures, it therefore results in no additional burden of compliance costs to industry.

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