TMA held its annual seminar for Members on 12th May on a range of topics, including legal and operational problems arising out of unsafe port / berth claims, drug smuggling and law enforcement issues and a topical update on OW bunkers. Thirty two members attended the seminar held at our offices in Jersey City.
Chris Wood of Winter Scott ( London ) gave us an interesting and well delivered overview of OW bunker cases and particularly the recent Res Cogitans decision and included some footage from the Supreme Court hearing. This was followed by an entertaining and informative presentation by David Thompson from Signum Services who talked about the range of services offered by Signum and the practical issues confronting vessel operators when drugs are smuggled on board. David highlighted the routes favored by drug smugglers, discussed some cases from the Signum files and talked about prevention and mitigation. Greg Linsen of Blank Rome then followed with a comprehensive overview of the legal pitfalls a vessel operator may face when dealing with drug violations and criminal prosecutions. Before joining Blank Rome Greg spent many years with the Dept of Justice so was able to give the Members a first hand view of the potential exposures faced by vessel operators and how to mitigate that exposure.
The final session featured a panel with Marcus Dodds from Reed Smith (London) and Gene O’Connor from Montgomery McCracken (New York) presenting the English law and US law perspective on unsafe port/ berth claims. Discussion ranged from the Ocean Victory case to the Athos I pollution incident and focused on charter party safe berth warranties, terminal and wharfinger implied warranties and the legal issues arising out of alleged breaches.
The panel and the seminar were expertly moderated by TMA’s Mike Crowley and the discussion continued after the seminar through drinks and dinner.