United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
HAVENBEDRIJF ROTTERDAM N.V.
NATIONAL CHEMICAL CARRIERS LTD. CO.
ORDER AND REASONS
ZAINEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
following motion is before the Court: Motion to
Dismiss or Transfer (Rec. Doc. 21) pursuant to the
doctrine of forum non conveniens. This motion was filed by
the Defendant National Chemical Carriers Ltd. Co.
(“NCC”). Plaintiff Havenbedrijf Rotterdam N.A.
(“the Port Authority”) opposes the motion. The
motion, submitted for consideration on August 21, 2019, is
before the Court on the briefs without oral argument.
is the Port Authority for the City of Rotterdam and is
manager, operator, and developer of the port in Rotterdam,
located in the Netherlands. (Rec. Doc. 12, ¶ 2,
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint). Plaintiff alleges that on
June 23, 2018, a vessel owned by the Defendant, named the M/T
BOW JUBAIL, collided with a jetty in the Port of Rotterdam in
the Netherlands. Id. at ¶ 8. This crash
ruptured one of the vessel's fuel tanks and caused its
bunker fuel to spill into the water. Id. at ¶
the spill, the M/T BOW JUBAIL left Rotterdam without
providing any type of security to the Port Authority. (Rec.
Doc. 23-1, p. 1, Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings). However, the Port Authority discovered that the
M/T BOW JUBAIL and its NCC owned sister ship, the M/T BOW
RIYAD, were headed to ports in the United States.
Id. The Port Authority then filed an in rem
action to arrest the M/T BOW JUBAIL in Texas and an action to
attach the M/T BOW RIYAD. Id. at 1-2. The BOW RIYAD
arrived in Louisiana first and was attached in this District.
Id. at 2. Subsequently, the Defendant provided the
Plaintiff with a Letter of Undertaking stating that the
Defendant agreed to post security for $34, 000, 000 and
appear in this Court to respond to both the in
personam claim secured by the attachment of both ships
and the in rem claim against the M/T BOW JUBAIL.
Id. at 2.
Port Authority claims that it has suffered approximately
€28, 750, 000 of damages consisting of cleanup costs,
physical damage, economic loss, and potential claims from
third parties. (Rec. Doc. 15, ¶ 11, Plaintiff's
answered the Plaintiff's complaint, Defendant NCC now
moves this Court to dismiss or transfer this case to the
Netherlands pursuant to the doctrine of forum non conveniens.
(Rec. Doc. 21, Defendant's Motion to Transfer).
resolving a forum non conveniens issue “the ultimate
inquiry is where trial will best serve the convenience of the
parties and the ends of justice.” Syndicate 420 at
Lloyd's London v. Early Am. Ins. Co., 796 F.2d 821,
827 (5th Cir.1986) (quoting Koster v.
Lumbermen's Mut. Casualty Co., 330 U.S. 518, 527
(1947)). “The general principle of the doctrine
‘is simply that a court may resist imposition upon its
jurisdiction even when jurisdiction is
authorized.'” Dickson Marine Inc. v. Panalpina,
Inc., 179 F.3d 331, 342 (5th Cir.1999) (citing Gulf
Oil Corp. v. Gilbert, 330 U.S. 501, 507 (1947)).
first step in a forum non conveniens analysis is to determine
whether there exists an adequate and available alternative
forum for resolution of the dispute. Syndicate 420 at
Lloyd's London, 796 F.2d at 828 (citing
Perusahaan Umum Listrik Negara Pusat v. M/V Tel Aviv,
711 F.2d 1231, 1238 (5th Cir.1983)). The second step of the
forum non conveniens inquiry involves the balancing of public
and private interest factors.
private interest factors to be considered by the Court relate
primarily to the ...