The Greater New Orleans Barge Fleeting Association (GNOBFA) launched the most recent version of their annual River and Marine Industry Seminar in New Orleans last week, starting on Wednesday, April 22, and continuing through Friday, April 24. A group of 475 registered attendants were welcomed to the Hotel Inter-Continental for a series of panels on issues surrounding marine work.
On the first day, many topics focused on possible applications of the Jones Act to maritime employees, including when an employee is considered a Jones Act Seaman, or what a company can do if sued by a worker under this Act. This legislation has been in the news recently in a grander sense, with a coalition of states and territories advocating for its reform to reduce the prices of goods in those areas.
As the event program outlines, the panels considered specific questions, including "Who gets to pick the doctor for treatment?" when an employee is injured. Regulatory issues and government updates were discussed by both industry representatives, like Gary LaGrange of the Port of New Orleans, and government representatives, such as USCG Rear Admiral Peter Gautier.
Professional attendees included doctors, maritime legal experts and affiliates with the United States Coast Guard. The closing remarks on Friday were delivered by GNOBFA President Karl Gonzales, of Gulf South Marine Transportation, Inc., as well as the seminar's co-director Alan Savoie and co-moderator Maurice C. Herbert Jr., Esq. The seminar was preceded on Tuesday by a special cocktail party reception for registrants at the hotel, "Rolling Down the Muddy Mississippi."
GNOBFA addressed important concerns with this event by attempting to connect companies together across industries, as well as governments. Maritime insurance helps to cover operators' potential losses when performing important work, whether on a river or far out at sea.