Public and Private Law

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Public and Private Law

By | Feb. 2011
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All ships owned by your Logistics and Services company are flagged in the Bahamas and Liberia. The "flag of convenience" rules have both public law and private law implications. Private law comes into play in the employer-employee, passenger contract, and cargo contract obligations of the ship. Public law also interfaces with these rules in that companies will pick and choose flags of convenience for individual ships based upon liability concerns such as negligence, contractual, labor, customs, immigration, and/or environmental laws. The flag of convenience arrangement, also known asforeign registries, offered by the Bahamas, Liberia, Panama, and other countries permits ship owners to avoid most of the wage and labor laws of the United States. A ship is subject to liability as if it were "within" the country whose flag it flies. Logistics and Services company passenger tickets and contracts also make reference to this fact that all claims by passengers or employees must be litigated in and under the law of the country whose flag the ship in question flies.  Mr. and Mrs. Lowell were passengers on one of your company's smaller cruise ships, The Minnow, for a week-long journey from Miami, with stops in Nassau, Key West, Grand Cayman, and Puerto Rico. The Minnow flies the flag of Liberia. One night during the cruise, the Lowell's returned to their cabin and found two ship employees removing cash, jewelry, and Mr. Lowell's laptop computer from the ship-provided safe. Mr. Lowell struggled with the men, but he collapsed and suffered several severe injuries. Mr. and Mrs. Lowell were locked inside the cabin restroom, and the robbers escaped. A few hours later, the ship docked in Puerto Rico, and the two robbers left the ship with the cash, jewelry, and laptop stolen from the Lowell's safe; the robbers did not return to the ship. Mr. and Mrs. Lowell were rescued several hours after the ship left Puerto Rico for Grand Cayman and identified the two employees in a photo...