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Thursday, April 19, 2018

INTERTANKO Praises Position of U.S. Government in Tanker Litigation

The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners today expressed its satisfaction with support provided by the Government of the United States in ongoing litigation to control proliferation of local marine safety regimes.

In a brief filed this week in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the United States Department of Justice supported INTERTANKO's contentions that Washington State regulations governing tanker operations, management, equipment, manning, and personnel qualifications were unlawful invasions of areas subject to exclusive federal oversight. "Up to now, the missing element of this issue has been the federal government," said Richard du Moulin, Chairman of INTERTANKO. "The brief of the United States makes a strong statement that INTERTANKO's concerns for a uniform federal regime based on international cooperation must be supported." Mr. du Moulin called the filing by the U.S. a good day for the environment and a good day for our Constitution." In Oslo, Dagfinn Lunde, INTERTANKO's Managing Director said that he was "very pleased" with reports from INTERTANKO's attorneys about the content of the brief of the United States. "The United States has always been a leader in proposing environmental protection initiatives in international fora," remarked Mr. Lunde. "This strong defense of international marine safety and environmental protection regimes will go a long way towards restoring the credibility of the United States as an international negotiating partner."

The litigation was initiated in 1995 by INTERTANKO in response to Washington State regulations that imposed requirements for watch practices, towing and navigation equipment, reporting requirements and other rules that differed from the controlling federal and international rules. In November of 1996, U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour found the State's regulations to be lawful because of broad exceptions to federal control that he said existed in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. INTERTANKO has appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The United States moved to intervene and court action on that motion is awaited. The United States has asked that its status be deemed that of an amicus curiae if intervention is not granted.

In a related development, INTERTANKO also praised the International Chamber of Shipping for its support in an amicus curiae filing with the appellate court. Mr. Lunde observed that INTERTANKO very much appreciated the show of solidarity within the international industry evidenced by the ICS filing. "On issues related to protection of uniform international practices, it is important that the maritime industry stand together. These issues are not simply tanker issues, they are industry issues. The ICS stand as a "friend of the court" reflects the value placed on effective international safety standards by the range of tonnages and vessel types within the ICS membership.

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The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners today expressed its satisfaction with support provided by the Government of the United States in ongoing litigation to control proliferation of local marine safety regimes. In a brief filed this week in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the United States Department of Justice supported INTERTANKO's contentions that Washington State regulations governing tanker operations, management, equipment, manning, and personnel qualifications were unlawful invasions of areas subject to exclusive federal oversight. "Up to now, the missing element of this issue has been the federal government," said Richard du Moulin, Chairman of INTERTANKO. "The brief of the United States makes a strong statement that INTERTANKO's concerns for a uniform federal regime based on international cooperation must be supported." Mr. du Moulin called the filing by the U.S. a good day for the environment and a good day for our Constitution." In Oslo, Dagfinn Lunde, INTERTANKO's Managing Director said that he was "very pleased" with reports from INTERTANKO's attorneys about the content of the brief of the United States. "The United States has always been a leader in proposing environmental protection initiatives in international fora," remarked Mr. Lunde. "This strong defense of international marine safety and environmental protection regimes will go a long way towards restoring the credibility of the United States as an international negotiating partner."

The litigation was initiated in 1995 by INTERTANKO in response to Washington State regulations that imposed requirements for watch practices, towing and navigation equipment, reporting requirements and other rules that differed from the controlling federal and international rules. In November of 1996, U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour found the State's regulations to be lawful because of broad exceptions to federal control that he said existed in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. INTERTANKO has appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The United States moved to intervene and court action on that motion is awaited. The United States has asked that its status be deemed that of an amicus curiae if intervention is not granted.

In a related development, INTERTANKO also praised the International Chamber of Shipping for its support in an amicus curiae filing with the appellate court. Mr. Lunde observed that INTERTANKO very much appreciated the show of solidarity within the international industry evidenced by the ICS filing. "On issues related to protection of uniform international practices, it is important that the maritime industry stand together. These issues are not simply tanker issues, they are industry issues. The ICS stand as a "friend of the court" reflects the value placed on effective international safety standards by the range of tonnages and vessel types within the ICS membership.