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American Maritime Transport, Inc. v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

March 23, 1989, Decided

No. 88-1510

Opinion

 [*1559]  MICHEL, Circuit Judge

Aeron Marine Shipping Company, American Shipping, Inc. and Archon Marine Company (Aeron) appeal the Claims Court order of June 22, 1988, 15 Cl. Ct. 29, denying Aeron's motion for intervention as of right in an action between American Maritime Transport, Inc. (AMT) and the United States Maritime Administration. We affirm.

Background

 [**2]  Aeron seeks to intervene in a lawsuit between AMT and the Maritime Administration about a shipping subsidy. Specifically, AMT claims entitlement to an "operating-differential subsidy" which is provided for in its contract with the Maritime Administration, and which is incorporated into the contract pursuant to section 603 of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, 46 U.S.C. § 1173 (1982). 1 The purpose of such  [*1560]  subsidies is to provide financial assistance to U.S.-flag ships in international competition to make the U.S. ships price competitive. 46 U.S.C. § 1172 (1982). Specifically, the contract provides that the Maritime Administration will pay AMT the subsidy for AMT vessels operating "in world-wide carriage of liquid and dry bulk cargo in the foreign ocean-borne commerce of the United States. . . ." The subsidy is payable, however, only if the cargoes are "commercial."

 [**3]  The Maritime Administration determined that certain grain cargoes being carried by AMT vessels to Israel cannot be considered "commercial" since the grain cargoes are reserved for U.S.-flag vessels by the Government of Israel. Accordingly, AMT's vessels do not compete "commercially" with foreign-flag vessels for carriage of the grain, and thus cannot be said to need an operating-differential subsidy in order to meet foreign competition. AMT challenged in the Claims Court the Maritime Administration's interpretation of "commercial" cargo. 2 

Aeron sought to intervene as of right as provided by Claims Court Rule 24(a). 3 Rule 24(a) mandates intervention when:

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870 F.2d 1559 *; 1989 U.S. App. LEXIS 3494 **

AMERICAN MARITIME TRANSPORT, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee v. THE UNITED STATES, Defendant-Appellee; AERON MARINE SHIPPING COMPANY, AMERICAN SHIPPING, INC. and ARCHON MARINE COMPANY, Applicants For Intervention-Appellants

Prior History:  [**1]   Appealed from: U.S. Claims Court, Judge Margolis.

CORE TERMS

subsidy, intervene, cargoes, vessels, shipping, grain, coal, intervenor, operating-differential, contingent, carriage, indirect

Civil Procedure, Parties, Intervention, Intervention of Right, General Overview, Remedies, Judgment Interest, Admiralty & Maritime Law, Maritime Contracts, Business & Corporate Compliance, Admiralty & Maritime, Vessel Licensing & Registration, Shipping, Regulations & Statutes, Preferences & Subsidies, Governments, Courts, Courts of Claims, Transportation Law, Carrier Duties & Liabilities, Damages, Business & Corporate Compliance, Transportation Law, Water Transportation, Licensing & Registration, Jurisdiction, Jurisdictional Sources, Statutory Sources, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, Limited Jurisdiction