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Sunday, September 23, 2018

INTERTANKO Welcomes Involvement of the United States Federal Government in the Washington State Legal Challenge

The United States Attorney General has moved to intervene in INTERTANKO’s legal challenge of Washington State Regulations, currently on appeal before the 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals. In giving its reasons for intervening, the Attorney General states that there is an obvious Federal interest in the case. "This Court must rule on the pre-emptive effect of several Federal statutes, Coast Guard regulations, various international conventions and a specific bilateral agreement between the United States and Canada involving traffic in the Strait of Juan de Fuca".

It is recognised that any ruling in this case will have a substantial impact on the Federal Government because it will seriously affect the constant ongoing relations between the United States and Canada, as well as the many nations that participate in the international maritime safety and environmental regulatory regime.

"The Federal Government’s involvement is welcomed by INTERTANKO" says INTERTANKO’s Managing Director, Dagfinn Lunde.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which also supports INTERTANKO’s legal challenge of the Washington State regulations, is currently preparing a brief for submission to the Court.


The U.S. State of Washington has imposed regulations seeking to implement tank vessel manning, equipment and operations in a manner differing from international and US Federal law.

INTERTANKO and its membership have a major stake in the development of rational and uniform regulations which promote the safety of tanker operations. The State of Washington, by acting unilaterally without regard to the extensive body of Federal and international law governing tank vessels operations, has put in jeopardy the orderly regulation of tanker operations.

INTERTANKO filed a legal challenge to the new Washington State regulations in July 1995 on the grounds that US states and localities had no right to impose requirements such as these in derogation of Federal and international standards. In his ruling of 18 November 1996 on the INTERTANKO vs State of Washington case U.S. District Court Judge John Coughenour denied the Association's motion for summary judgement and found Washington State's tanker regulations to be constitutional contrary to INTERTANKO's challenge.

Late last year INTERTANKO lodged an appeal and its Managing Director, Mr. Dagfinn Lunde, stated, "Given the importance of uniform standards to the integrity of Federal and international programs, INTERTANKO very much hopes that this decision will focus the attention of US Federal authorities on the need to protect Federal and international regulations against duplicative or contrary state and local regulations".

For more information contact:
Mr. Dagfinn Lunde, Managing Director, INTERTANKO
Direct Line: +47 22 12 2650

Mr. Svein Ringbakken, Legal Counsel, INTERTANKO
Direct Line: +47 22 12 2690

Mr. C Jonathan Benner, Eckert, Seamans
INTERTANKO's US Legal Counsel
Telephone: +1 202 659 6600