The Maritime Advocate-Issue 699



1. The Safety of Ever-Smaller Seats on Airplanes
2. Federal Court Enforces Foreign Arbitral Award Resolving Jones Act Seaman’s Personal Injury Claim
3. 3rd Annual Cuba Opportunity Summit
4. Trialing Driverless Trucks in the UK
5. The Shipping Forecast
6. People and Places

FOB Network News

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1. The Safety of Ever-Smaller Seats on Airplanes

Hans N. Huggler of the firm of Lane Powell in Portland,Oregon writes:-

Does the ever-decreasing size of airline seating make you fed up? It certainly seems to do so to Judge Millet, who penned this opening paragraph in Flyers Rights Education Fund v. F.A.A., – F.3d – (2017 WL 3202638) (D.C. Cir. 2017):

This is the Case of the Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat. As many have no doubt noticed, aircraft seats and the spacing between them have been getting smaller and smaller, while American passengers have been growing in size. Paul Hudson and the Flyers Rights group became concerned that this sharp contraction in passenger seating space was endangering the safety, health, and comfort of airline passengers. So they petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration to promulgate rules governing size limitations for aircraft seats to ensure, among other things, that passengers can safely and quickly evacuate a plane in an emergency. The Administration denied the petition, asserting that seat spacing did not affect the safety or speed of passenger evacuations. To support that conclusion, the Administration pointed to (at best) off-point studies and undisclosed tests using unknown parameters. That type of vaporous record will not do — the Administrative Procedure Act requires reasoned decision making grounded in actual evidence. Accordingly, we grant the petition for review in part and remand to the Administration.

Read the note in full here:-

2. Federal Court Enforces Foreign Arbitral Award Resolving Jones Act Seaman’s Personal Injury Claim

Jason P. Minkin and Jonathan A. Cipriani of BatesCareyLLP in Chicago discuss a recent U.S. decision in which the court enforced a foreign arbitral award approving a settlement between a Jones Act seaman and his employer. In Castro v. Tri Marine Fish Co., LLC, 2017 WL 3262473 (W.D. Wash. July 31, 2017) the court found that the award was subject to the New York Convention, and that the arbitral process approving the settlement did not offend the United States’ “most basic notions of morality and justice” since, among other things, it provided benefits commensurate to those that would be available under U.S. maritime law. The decision is an example of the broad reach of the New York Convention and the considerable deference that U.S. courts will give to agreements that fall within the Convention. The note appears in the Kluwer Arbitration Blog:-

3. 3rd Annual Cuba Opportunity Summit

Michael T. Moore, the Founder of law firm Moore & Co. and Chairman of the Board of the International SeaKeepers Society tells us he has been asked to present at the 3rd Annual Cuba Opportunity Summit in New York City on October 23, 2017.

This event, organized by The Lauder Institute of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Momentum Events will focus on recent policy changes to the US-Cuba relationship.

Michael Moore, is an expert on travel to, from and around Cuba by boat or by plane. Since August of 2015, he estimates his law firm has facilitated well over 200 legal trips to Cuba by vessels, mostly yachts, or by private aircraft. These trips have complied with all U.S. laws and, where required, are within the guidelines and rules articulated by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Secretary of the Treasury and the Department of Homeland Security.

4. Trialing Driverless Trucks in the UK

There has been a deal of excitement at the prospect of real driverless trucks taking to the roads of this conservative-yet- innovative island. Here is the announcement kicking off the first trials:-

The Department for Transport (DfT) and Highways England has commissioned TRL, the global centre of innovation in transport and mobility, to lead the first real-world operational trial of platooning vehicles on UK roads.

The £8.1m trial will see TRL lead a consortium of partners including DAF Trucks, the UK market leader of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) sales, Ricardo, who worked with TRL to deliver the HGV Platooning feasibility study for the DfT in 2014 and DHL, the global market leader in the logistics industry.

Applying experience gained in platooning projects in Europe and the USA, the project will collect information and independently evaluate heavy vehicle platooning under real-world operational conditions. Trials will be tailored to the unique requirements of UK roads and will collate the evidence required to understand issues such as fuel efficiency and reduced emissions, safety, acceptance by drivers and other road users, implications for future infrastructure, and the commercial case for adoption.

Rob Wallis, Chief Executive, TRL commented: “The UK has an unprecedented opportunity to lead the world in trialling connected vehicle platoons in a real-world environment. TRL and its consortium of leading international partners, have the practical and technical knowledge gained from previous projects to understand what is required to put a connected vehicle platoon on to UK roads safely. The team are now taking that expertise and uniquely applying it within live traffic operations.”

Richard Cuerden, Academy Director at TRL added: “Platooning technology has the potential to deliver a wide range of benefits to all road users. As well as supporting the Department for Transport and Highways England in informing future infrastructure investments and policy decisions, the trials will highlight the services that platooning may offer road users and whether these can safely contribute to a reduction in vehicle emissions, improved journeys and greater economic prosperity.”

Transport Minister Paul Maynard said: “We are investing in technology that will improve people’s lives. Advances such as lorry platooning could benefit businesses through cheaper fuel bills and other road users thanks to lower emissions and less congestion. But first we must make sure the technology is safe and works well on our roads, and that’s why we are investing in these trials.”

Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England Chief Executive, said: “We are pleased to be supporting the Government’s ambition for the UK to be a global leader for innovation. The trial has the potential to demonstrate how greater automation of vehicles – in this instance, HGVs – can deliver improvements in safety, better journeys for road users and reduction in vehicle emissions. Investing in this research shows we care about those using our roads, the economy and the environment, and safety will be integral as we take forward this work with TRL.”

The on-road trials will form part of regular DHL logistical operations and are expected to take place in 2018, following the successful completion of a rigorous programme of driving simulations, driver training and test track trials over the coming months.

The HGV Platooning project adds to TRL’s growing programme of innovation into future transport and mobility solutions, focused on (i) highly-automated, self-driving vehicles, (ii) intelligent, connected infrastructure and vehicles, (iii) low carbon technologies and electrification and (iv) shared mobility services. Today TRL, together with its partners, has an active portfolio of autonomous, connected, electric and shared mobility projects totalling in excess of £50m. These include GATEway, MOVE_UK, Atlas, Driven, Streetwise and DRAGON


What is platooning?
Platooning involves two or more vehicles connected with ‘vehicle to-vehicle communication’, allowing them to effectively communicate with each other and operate as a single unit. The lead vehicle takes control of the speed and direction of all the vehicles in the platoon, when the lead vehicle brakes the following vehicles automatically brake with zero reaction time significantly increasing road safety. The constant controlled speed delivers fuel savings and environmental benefits through the reduction of CO2 emissions, whilst the ability to decrease the distance between vehicles increases road network capacity.


Project partners:
TRL: The overall project lead and research partner, responsible for project and risk management.
DAF: OEM partner and UK market leader for commercial trucks, responsible for supplying vehicles to be used in the project.
Ricardo: Technology partner and global engineering, strategic and environmental consultancy.
DHL: Leading logistics provider in the UK, will be providing drivers and freight deliveries for the trials.
Transport Systems Catapult: Research partner, will contribute to technical trial design and data analysis.
Millbrook: Test partner, will provide the test track facilities for the off-road platoon testing.
TNO: Currently leading the Dutch Truck Platooning Trials and will provide reciprocal representation on both the UK and Dutch Advisory Groups.
Costain: A strategic partner to Highway England with in-depth knowledge of the strategic road network.
Apollo Vehicle Safety: Research partner, will provide knowledge and expertise on vehicle safety.

5. The Shipping Forecast

Thanks to the Browser, we learn of this short history of the Shipping Forecast, a public service since 1867, devised by Robert FitzRoy, pioneer of weather forecasting and previously captain of HMS Beagle on which Charles Darwin sailed. “The shipping forecast is now 93% accurate, and the forecast for inshore waters is about 97% accurate. Wind direction is not always as easy to get right as wind speed, with about 80% accuracy and more than 90% respectively, while about 15% of gale warnings turn out to be false alarms”

6. People and Places

Bill Birch-Reynardson-Obituary

The former Senior Partner of Thomas R Miller, Bill Birch-Reynardson played a formative role in the lives of the publishers of this e-zine. He died recently at a great age. His obituary in the Daily Telegraph appears in the link below:-


John Banks-An Appreciation

A member of a golden generation of shipping journalists, John Banks, was buried at sea in recent days. He was a fine correspondent and often exchanged lines with us . The tribute given at his funeral by Ronald Sim appears in the link below:-


Nick Elliot, the former Inchcape person, has published his second maritime thriller called Dark Ocean:-

From the Avo Archive

The website of this newsletter contains all the editorial material since the inception of the Maritime Advocate as a print based quarterly in 1997 under the founding aegis of John Guy, Chris Hewer and Manfred Arnold. Readers can go to the site and search the database on the home page in its entirety. If you are looking for an old case, an old controversy or you would just like to see how many times you and your firm have featured in our annals feel free to access the archive. It is like this e-zine, free to Readers and we always appreciate the support of advertisers and sponsors.

Looking for prophetic lines on all things robotic, we found one, short and sweet, in Issue 491 of August 18th, 2011

Man Made Seagull

That robots will play a bigger and bigger part of our industry seems to us to be beyond argument these days, especially the kinds that are built of inanimate matter. The latest effort to play God comes from Festo, the makers of SmartBird, a large, lightweight robot, modeled on a seagull, which flies by flapping its wings.

See the video:-


One day the teacher decides to play a zoological game. She holds up a picture of a giraffe and asks if anyone knows what it is. No one raises his/her hand. The teacher says “See it’s long neck? What animal has a long neck?” Sally holds up her hand and asks if it is a giraffe. “Very good Sally,” the teacher replies.

Next she holds up a picture of a zebra. None of the students holds up his/her hands. “See the stripes on this animal? What animal has stripes?” Billy holds up his hand and says it is a zebra. “Very good Billy,” the teacher replies.

Next she holds up a picture of a deer. None of the students recognised the animal. “See the big antlers on this animal. What animal has horns like this?” Still no one guesses. “Let me give you another hint, it’s something your mother calls your father.”

Johnny shouts out “I know what it is, it’s a horny b*st*rd.”

[Paul Dixon]

And Another

Little Johnny and his father ran a one-mule farm and barely eked out a living.

One day, Little Johnny hit the lottery, winning $50,000. He burned rubber into town, collected his money, and left more rubber all the way back home, where he told his father the good news and handed him a $50 bill.

The father looked at the money for a moment and then said, “Little Johnny, you know I’ve always been careful with what little money we had. I didn’t spend it on whiskey or women or frivolous things. In fact, I couldn’t even afford a license to legally marry your Ma.”

“Pa!” Little Johnny exclaims, “do you know what that makes me?”

“Sure do,” said his father, fingering the fifty-dollar bill, “and a damn cheap one too!”