Friday, September 15, 2000
Yesterday, nearly 3,000 passengers on Premier's Big Red Boats and other ships had their vacations terminated. Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette, which holds the mortage on the ships, repossessed four of Premier's ships in ports outside the U.S. A fifth ship used by Premier on a charter basis was also out of service.
Reportedly, DLJ decided to act after hearing that other parties were planning to seize the ships.
FMC to probe lower Mississippi tug arrangements
In its 1999 decision in River Parishes Company, Inc. v. Ormet Primary Aluminum Corporation ("Ormet"), the Commission considered a complaint by a tug company concerning one exclusive tug arrangement at Ormet's dry bulk terminal at Baton Rouge, LA. In that case, the Commission determined that it had jurisdiction over the complaint because some of the vessels calling at Ormet's dry bulk terminal were engaged in common carriage, but also held that the complainant failed to demonstrate that Ormet's exclusive tug arrangement resulted in poor service or excessive costs, or produced unlawful anticompetitive effects. These exclusive arrangements allegedly have now spread to 17 of the 41 bulk terminals serving 89 percent of the dry bulk vessel calls on the lower Mississippi River. In view of the pervasive nature of these arrangements, and the complaints from numerous users, and one competitor, that costs have increased and competition has been stifled, the Commission commenced this inquiry to determine whether it has jurisdiction over the affected terminals, and, if so, whether these exclusive arrangements may violate provisions of the Shipping Act of 1984, as amended by the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 1998.
Responses to both the Commission's section 15 Order and to BOE's requests are due on October 5, 2000. Any further action will be guided by the information contained in those responses.