Today the Senate will debate amending the Death On The High Seas Act (DOHSA) to permit the families of the oil workers killed in the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion to recover compensation for their emotional damages for losing their husbands and fathers. The House of Representatives previously voted to amend DOHSA.
We have discussed the inequities in this archaic law which has been denying just compensation to families for 90 years.
Senator Rockefeller introduced the "Fairness In Admiralty and Maritime Law Act" (S 3600), which will permit recovery of compensation for the families of oil workers, cruise cruise passengers and crew members on maritime vessels killed in international waters.
But the cruise industry has unleashed its lobbyists to work the Senators over to try and kill the amendment and exclude the families of cruise passenger and crew members from the Rockefeller amendment. With the urging of the cruise lines, Florida Republican Senator LeMieux (left) introduced an amendment to exclude everyone except the BP widows from compensation. The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) is once against trying to strip the rights of cruise passengers and crew members. CLIA’s Michael Crye (below right) has been working with the cruise industry’s lobbyists.
CLIA has assembled its usual cast of characters to try and kill the Senator Rockefeller’s amendment to DOHSA, including the Alcalde & Fay lobbying firm. The cruise lines have paid millions to the lobbyists at Alcalde & Fay.
Cruise Law News (CLN) has learned that Alcalde & Fay lobbyists, including Tandy Bondi (below left) and Harold (Hal) Creed, have been been working with Senator LeMieux’s staffers to grow support for the cruise industry’s interests. This means that when a cruise line’s negligence kills a retired passenger or child, the surviving family is barred from receiving compensation.
Senator LeMieux has made a deal with Alaskan Senator Begich to support LeMieux if Begich’s study amendment passes. A classic I’ll-scratch-your-back-if-you-scratch-mine. Alaskan Senator Inouye’s staff has been communicating with LeMieux’s staff.
The Alcalde & Fay people have been pressuring Senator Nelson but have been unable to obtain his commitment to join forces with Senator LeMieux. Ms. Bondi met with Senator Cantwell’s Chief of Staff yesterday.
Alcalde & Fay’s consensus is that the Republicans will support LeMieux, so they are working on lobbying the Democrats. Today they will be releasing a letter from the coalition of industries which are trying to keep the passengers and crew members from being included in DOHSA.
One of the coalition members is the American Waterways Operators (AWO), which is the trade association for the U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry.
The AWO’s Jennifer Campbell (Senior Vice President – National Advocacy) and Chris Coakley (Vice President – Legislative Affairs) have been lobbying on behalf of the AWO. Ms. Campbell has been calling the Senators to try and derail the expansion of DOHSA, and Mr. Coakley has been walking the halls of Congress.
The AWO lobbyist have been placing alot of pressure on Senator Vitter, who is in a key position being from Louisiana which is at the epicenter of the BP disaster.
It is an amazing spectacle seeing the cruise industry using Senator LeMieux as a front man for its nefarious interests. The cruise lines have a big industry shill in their hands. Before he was a Senator, LeMieux lobbied heavily for offshore drilling by companies like BP off of the coast of Florida – a story which the St. Petersburg Time published last year.
So we have kindred spirit companies, the cruise lines and BP and their maritime and oil & gas industry friends, teaming up to fight against the families to deprive them of their DOHSA remedies which are desperately needed to protect innocent people killed on the high seas.
Two dirty industries are paying millions to their lobbyists to put profits over people again.