USSM continues legal fight against MSP vessel transfer
U.S. Ship Management and Maersk Line Ltd. will return to the courtroom Friday, but this time in North Carolina.
The hearing will be held before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina in Charlotte. The court will consider USSM’s request for a preliminary injunction to prevent the transfer of six U.S.-flag vessels enrolled in the Maritime Security Program from its fleet to Maersk Line Ltd., the U.S.-flag vessel operator of A.P. Moller/Maersk.
In November 2002, Maersk Line Ltd. asked MarAd for permission to transfer USSM’s 15 MSP ships under its direct control. USSM was formed as the operator of the former Sealand Service ships enrolled in the federal government program. MarAd approved the transfer earlier this year. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled Aug. 12 that it would not issue a preliminary injunction on behalf of USSM.
So far, three former USSM containerships have been transferred to Maersk Line Ltd. USSM officials have maintained they would fight the transfers every step of the way.
Maersk Line Ltd. said in a recent statement it “welcomes the opportunity to present its arguments to the court and is confident that, when presented all of the facts, the court in North Carolina will conclude, as did the federal courts in the District of Columbia, that MarAd’s determination that the transfer of the MSP operating agreements from USSM to MLL should proceed.”