Copyright (c) 1999 Tulane University
Tulane Maritime Law Journal
COMMENT: Allisions in the Artificial Archipelago: Economic Damages and Offshore Oilmen in the Oil and Gas Circuit
24 Tul. Mar. L. J. 299
Bryant E. Gardner *
Technological advances have helped make offshore oil production a major industry in the Gulf states over the last several decades. As the industry has expanded, so have the legal problems associated with it. Countless supply vessels, barges, tugs, jack-up rigs, spud barges, platforms, helicopters, pipelines, and other contraptions have been marched out into the Gulf of Mexico in the race to extract the coveted condensate from underneath the Gulf. The high volume of activity in the Gulf makes accidents inevitable, and when there is an allision or collision, it often gets very expensive. Although the platforms that dot the Gulf have been classified by the courts as artificial islands, when the vessels working in close proximity allide with any of the "islands" in this artificial archipelago, admiralty jurisdiction and substantive admiralty law apply. 1
The purpose of this Comment is to survey the law on damages available to mineral concerns when a vessel allides with oil production equipment, focusing on the availability of lost profits and other economic damages. The body of maritime law governing the availability of economic damages and lost profits has been in flux in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit since the Louisiana ex rel. Guste v. M/V Testbank 2 decision in 1985 created uncertainty at the periphery. Cryptic reasoning and varied holdings from courts in the Fifth Circuit suggest that they are still looking for a formula to better approximate the economic damages that ...
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