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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 118264
Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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In Admiralty law, is there a general requirement, for commercial

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In Admiralty law, is there a general requirement, for commercial vessel operators to supply their Vessel Masters/ Captains with reasonable equipment to comply with EPA and regulatory laws? I, as a Master, have recently had a new regulatory requirement forced upon me. This is the latest in a long list of ridiculous, unreasonable, requirements. Since these relatively small businesses (shipping companies and oil transport service companies) are heavily regulated, they just keep giving in to these laws without a fight and passing on the ultimate responsibility to us. The crews. When we don't have what we need , then we get the old wink and nod gesture. We are supposed to just keep the vessels moving at any cost, and go along to get along. We are not equipped for most of it and I would like to know what course to steer here. Would I have a strong case against my company and the regulatory bodies. One or the other? My claim would be that it is impossible to comply.
Under Maritime law, the vessel is supposed to comply with ALL government regulations and supply all equipment and when an accident or injury occurs and they are found not to have the required equipment, the vessel owner will be held strictly liable if the failure to have equipment required by law contributed in any way to the accident. Other than that, if the vessel is boarded or inspected, the captain would be cited for not having the proper equipment. Also, the government agencies can simply stop the vessel from operating for not complying with all regulations. The EPA and all of the other agencies pass these regulations intending ALL owners comply with them and the owners are taking the risk, as are the captains, for non-compliance.

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
More specifically, I am thinking of action, based on the fact that it is imposssible to comply. The implication is that I can either overlook the shortcoming and hope nothing happens or actually demand that I am properly equipped. That would cost me my job. Would this be a valid basis for legel action?
The time for that was during the contest period when they were formulating the rules. The problem with trying to sue the government after the fact on these cases is that it will cost you much more to litigate a likely losing battle than the cost of compliance. If you are fired for reporting to them that they are in violation, then you could have a potential retaliation claim against the employer for terminating you for reporting law violations which as master you are responsible to do.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
But I would have to be able to prove that I lost my job for that reason? Realistically they could claim other reasons for firing me, right? Then the burden of proof is on me?
Correct, but there are rarely any smoking guns in these types of cases and the courts look at the timing from when you made your complaint to the employer and the termination and also look at the actual grounds given by the employer for the termination. Most of these cases are made off of circumstantial evidence and inferring of circumstances by the courts and they are not easy cases to win, but can pay big when you do win.
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