The recently enacted "American Jobs Creation Act" gives significant tax breaks to a number of U.S. industries--including shipping.

MARINE LOG and BLANK ROME will present a senior level seminar CHANGES IN U.S. TAXATION OF SHIPPING INCOME in Stamford, Conn. on April 5 & 6, 2004

Make sure you know how the new tax rules work!

March 10, 2005

INTERTANKO seeks to join suit against Massachusetts spill law

The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO); the American Waterways Operators (AWO); the Chamber of Shipping of America; and the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) formally petitioned this week to join a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (Civil Action No. 05-10112 JLT) on January 18, 2005.

The suit charges that the Massachusetts Oil Spill Act impermissibly treads on federal jurisdiction, specifically, the jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard, in making rules governing maritime operations in U.S. waters. It also asserts that comprehensive federal regulation already exists in the areas covered by the state Act, and that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution provides that federal laws and regulations override any attempt by a state government to legislate or regulate in the same areas. This same provision was upheld when INTERTANKO won its long-running legal battle against the State of Washington by a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Locke, 529 U.S. 89 (2000).

The Massachusetts Act was signed into law on August 4, 2004 in response to a 2003 tank barge accident that resulted in an oil spill in Buzzards Bay. It regulates oil-carrying vessels traveling in interstate and/or international commerce while such vessels are within the waters of Massachusetts. The industry asserts that such interstate commerce requires a single, clear set of federal regulatory standards that are uniform from state to state and locality to locality, in order to avoid confusion that could lead to accidents.

INTERTANKO's members represent, on a tonnage basis, approximately 70 percent of the world's independently owned self-propelled tank vessel fleet. Many members own or operate tank vessels that currently call at ports in Massachusetts while engaged in interstate or foreign commerce.

In submitting itd motion to intervene, INTERTANKO stated that its members who call at Massachusetts ports, or are considering doing so, have been adversely affected by the Act. "Our members are subject to being required to equip, man, operate, deploy, and manage their vessels in accordance with the Act when in Massachusetts waters, in a manner different from federal requirements and requirements in other states and countries. The departure of Massachusetts from an extensive federal regulatory scheme poses a burden on and expense to our members."

INTERTANKO says that "the lack of uniformity impairs federal control of tank vessel safety standards and presents a threat to international maritime safety, as well as to the lives and property of INTERTANKO's members, their employees, and to the marine environment."

It adds that its members not calling at Massachusetts ports are adversely affected by the Act "to the extent that the Act's deviations from federal and international requirements constitute impermissible barriers to their use of Massachusetts ports even when their vessels already comply with federal laws and international treaties."


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