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Admiralty – Charterer Can’t Collect with Alter Ego Theory (access required)

Vitol S.A. v. Primerose Shipping Co. Ltd. A district court had admiralty jurisdiction to consider the appeal of a ship charterer’s attempt to collect on a judgment against the ship’s owner by attaching a vessel docked at Baltimore, but the 4th Circuit upholds the district court’s decision to vacate its ex parte order of attachment and dismiss the ship charterer’s complaint based on an alter ego theory.

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Admiralty – Tort/Negligence – Suits in Admiralty Act – Coast Guard – Search & Rescue (access required)

Turner v. United States The Coast Guard’s decision as to whether to start a search for a missing boater is discretionary; therefore, the Coast Guard’s delay in starting the search for plaintiff and her husband is shielded by sovereign immunity. Plaintiff made it to shore 20 minutes after the Coast Guard started its search; she has not shown that she was damaged by any negligence of the Coast Guard in that timeframe.

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Admiralty – Personal Injury – Arbitration (access required)

Aggarao v. MOL Ship Mgmt. Co. Ltd. A Filipino seaman who suffered devastating injuries while working aboard the Asian Spirit vessel in the Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore must arbitrate his claims against the vessel owner and additional defendants; the 4th Circuit affirms the arbitration decision but vacates the dismissal of the case and remands for reinstatement and consideration of the injunction request and entry of a stay pending arbitration.

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Admiralty – Allision — Damages – Fair Market Value — Yacht & Corps of Engineers Vessel (access required)

F.C. Wheat Maritime Corp. v. U.S. When the captain of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers vessel fell asleep at the wheel and struck plaintiff’s 70-foot yacht, the Marquessa, docked at the pier at Ocean Marine marina in Portsmouth, the yacht was a constructive total loss based on two of three opinions in this battle of the experts, and the 4th Circuit affirms a $440,000 damage award for the fair market value of the ship at the time of loss.

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Admiralty – Wrongful Death – Navy Training Exercise – No Contribution from U.S. – Sovereign Immunity (access required)

In the Matter of the Complaint of Vulcan Materials Co. v. Massiah v. U.S. In this appeal of a $1.25 million wrongful death award against Vulcan Materials Company in a suit in admiralty after the death of a 19-year-old seaman when his rigid-hull inflatable boat collided with a tug during a Navy training exercise on the James River, the 4th Circuit affirms the district court award to the seaman's family members and its decision that the U.S. can't be held liable for contribution.

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