Judge overturns Corps of EngineersÆ North Carolina dredge contract
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to award a dredging contract in North Carolina to Norfolk Dredging, overturning an initial contract award to Bean Stuyvesant.
In the case of Norfolk Dredging Co. vs. the United States and Bean Stuyvesant LLC, Judge Christine Odell Cook Miller sided with Norfolk Dredging’s contention that Bean Stuyvesant did not qualify for the contract because it did not meet the U.S. corporate citizenship requirements for dredgers under the 1992 Oceans Act.
In the Oceans Act, Congress passed an amendment to allow Stuyvesant Dredging Co., a subsidiary of Dutch corporation Royal Boskalis Westminster, to continue operations of its U.S.-flag hopper dredge, “Stuyvesant,” under U.S. cabotage rules.
The U.S.-flag dredge industry, represented by the Dredging Contractors of America (DCA), alleges Royal Boskalis has exploited the amendment through its interest in New Orleans-based Bean Stuyvesant.
Norfolk Dredging argued in its case that the amendment for the “Stuyvesant” should not permit unlimited expansion of Bean Stuyvesant’s dredging activity. Miller agreed with Norfolk Dredging that “the exception cannot swallow the rule” and said Bean Stuyvesant could not charter non-hopper dredges to complete the dredging project in North Carolina. Bean Stuyvesant intended to hire a non-hopper dredge, “Meridian,” for the project.
The judge’s decision, however, does not preclude Bean Stuyvesant from bidding on other dredge projects. Bean Stuyvesant executives maintain they operate within the law and the company is simply giving the U.S. dredge leaders some competition.