Dredge Vssel Exception Interpreted

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that a U.S.-documented non-hopper dredge vessel chartered by a company in which Stuyvesant Dredging Company (SDC) has an interest may be used to perform work under a dredging contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In the instant case, a rival dredge company filed a bid protest after the contract was awarded to a company in which SDC has an ownership interest. The protestor asserted that the SDC statutory exception only applied with regard to non-hopper dredges in existence on the date the statutory exception was enacted and may only be utilized in support of hopper dredges. The court held that the applicable statutory exception contained only three restrictions, all of which were met in this case: (1) the non-hopper dredge must be documented as a vessel of the United States; (2) the non-hopper dredge must be chartered to SDC or to an entity in which it has an ownership interest; and (3) the non-hopper dredge must be chartered to fulfill dredging obligations under a specific contract.

The appellate court remanded the case with instructions to enter summary judgment in favor of the SDC interests.

Norfolk Dredging Co., Inc. v. United States, No. 04-5040 (Fed. Cir.) (HK Law)

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 10,  Aug 2004 Peter C. Georgiopoulos

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