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Punitive damages and the Jones Act

A recent Jones Act case has focused attention on the issue of punitive damages under U.S. maritime law.  By Tim Akpinar A recent Jones Act case in Louisiana District Court focused attention on the issue of punitive damages under U.S. maritime law. In Howard v. Offshore Liftboats LLC, two employees were injured during a basket transfer from a utility vessel to a liftboat. At the time, they were working for the company that owned and operated the liftboat. As for the utility vessel,...

MM&P: Two-watch system study reads more like opinion

Self-serving opinions and selected research on fatigue and sleep are used to justify inherently unsafe practices.  By George Quick, Vice President, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots A recently released paper on the “six-on/six-off” watch system is little more than an opinion piece intended to serve the interests of operators in the inland tug and barge industry. The paper, “Enhancing Sleep Efficiency on Vessels in the Tug/Towboat/Barge Industry,” is the...

A new ferry service for Hawaii?

Hawaii hasn't had interisland service since the Hawaii Superferry went bankrupt in 2009 — but change may be afoot.  By Michael N. Hansen, president, Hawaii Shippers' Council  The Hawaii media covered with great fuss the introduction of nine ferry-related bills in the state Legislature’s 2016 regular session, which began on Jan. 20. Fifty days later and halfway through the session only one bill remained under consideration. Much of the widespread interest and emotion over a...

What the offshore downturn is good for

The offshore downturn is a good time for workboat operators to do some financial housekeeping.  By Ronnie Evans  Major oil companies and analysts are predicting a prolonged slump for the oil industry, which casts a dark cloud over the workboat industry. But all is not lost. Now is actually a good time for workboat operators to take stock of many of the tasks that fall to the wayside when business is booming. This includes having a candid conversation with your banking and...

NOIA: President’s budget is bad news

The president’s budget threatens the development of energy sources necessary for continued economic growth and energy security.   By Randall Luthi, president of the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) The president’s budget, while most ideological, is also most illogical in that it threatens the development of a broad range of energy sources necessary for continued economic growth and energy security. The proposals aimed at the oil and natural gas industry...

Thinking about selling your company?

Eight key factors you must consider before a sale.   By Ronnie Evans  If you’ve been paying attention to news headlines lately, you’ve probably noticed an uptick in merger and acquisition activity. Companies in the workboat industry are buying, selling and consolidating more aggressively than I’ve seen at any point during my career. This is good news for buyers and sellers, but as M&A activity increases, so too does the complexity of selling a company. Deals that used to...

El Faro images offer view of tragedy

I don't know if there is anything more haunting than seeing a ship at rest on the sea floor. By Jerry Fraser, WorkBoat publisher   Most always, they will tell you after a tragedy such as the sinking of the El Faro, it was a chain of events. In all likelihood the loss of the 40-year-old containership in October, with all 33 crewmembers, was no exception. First, the El Faro ran into weather worse than forecast. It happens, but still, strike one. Then the ship lost power....

More than 1,100 companies exhibiting at WorkBoat Show

More than 1,100 companies will be displaying products and services at this year's International WorkBoat Show — are you ready? By Bob Callahan, Group Vice President Bob Callahan, Group Vice PresidentThis year’s 36th edition of the WorkBoat show is right around the corner — Tuesday, Dec. 1, through Thursday, Dec. 3, at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. With more than 1,100 companies set to display products and services, a high quality education program, entertainment and...

Shipbuilding data tells a bigger story

Putting context around the importance of the U.S. shipbuilding and repair industry. By Jerry Fraser, WorkBoat publisher Take it from an ex-commercial fisherman: if you have water in your veins (seawater or brown), there are far worse places to be than the U.S. shipbuilding industry. The Maritime Administration’s 2015 report, “The Economic Importance of the U.S. Shipbuilding and Repairing Industry,” is a reminder that maritime commerce is a crucial component of the U.S. economy and is...

Jones Act critics ignore the facts

Connecting the Jones Act to the El Faro tragedy is incorrect and shameful.   By Matt Paxton, president, Shipbuilders Council of America In the wake of the tragic loss of the El Faro and her 33-member crew during Hurricane Joaquin, familiar opponents of the maritime industry have shamefully used this difficult time as a weak attempt to blame the Jones Act for the tragedy. The highly customized vessels that operate between U.S. ports are built specifically for the unique trade that...