- Details: All ships owned by the International Industries company are flagged in the Bahamas and Liberia. The “flag of convenience” rules have both public and private implications. Private law comes into play in the employer-employee, passenger contract, and cargo contract obligations of the ship. Public law also interfaces with these rules in that ships and companies pick and choose flags on convenience for individual ships based upon liability concerns such as negligence, contractual, labor, customs, immigration, and/or environmental laws.
The flag of convenience arrangement, also known as foreign registries, offered by the Bahamas, Liberia, Panama, and other countries, permit ship owners to avoid most of the wage and labor laws of the United States. A ship is subject to liability as if it were within the country whose flag it flies. Your International Industries company passenger tickets and contracts also make reference to this fact that all claims by passengers or employees must be litigated in and under the law of the country whose flag the ship in question flies.
and Mrs. John Doe were passengers on one of your company’s smaller cruise ships, The Sailfin, for a week-long journey from Miami, with stops in Nassau, Key West, and the Grand Cayman Islands. The Sailfin flies the flag of Liberia. One night during the cruise, the Does returned to their cabin and find two ship employees removing cash and Mrs. Doe’s jewelry from the ship-provided safe. Mr. Doe struggled with the men, but he collapsed and suffered a nearly fatal heart attack. Both Mr. and Mrs. Doe were locked inside the cabin restroom, and the robbers escaped. A few hours later, the ship docked in the Grand Cayman Islands, and the two robbers left the ship with the cash and jewelry. The robbers did not return to the ship. Mr. and Mrs. Doe were rescued several hours after the ship left the Grand Cayman Islands and identified the two employees in a photo lineup. Mr. Doe was air-evacuated to the Islands for treatment and then medically evacuated back to the United States.
The day after her return to Miami, Mrs. Doe’s attorney faxed the International Industries company a letter threatening to sue it for negligent supervision, training, hiring of employees, emotional distress, assault, battery, theft, and wrongful injury unless the company tendered the sum of $5 million dollars plus medical expenses within 10 business days.
Under Liberian law, it is assumed a wife is the property of the husband and has no standing to sue or claim damages for her husband’s injuries, and further that any property within the possession of the husband and wife is deemed to be the sole property of the husband.
Identify and discuss the public and private law ramifications for the International Industries company in this situation.
How would the legalities be different if the incident happened at the International Industries company’s resort on U.S. mainland?
What should the International Industries company do for Mr. and Mrs. Doe and in terms of developing policies for future criminal incidents?
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