Speaking Engagement

How Do I Respond to Harassment and Sexual Harassment Claims? What Are the New Laws and Coast Guard Regulations and How Do They Impact My Company?

GNOBFA 40th River and Marine Industry Seminar

InterContinental-New Orleans
444 St. Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130

Blank Rome partner Dana S. Merkel will serve as a panelist at the Greater New Orleans Barge Fleeting Association’s (“GNOBFA”) 40th River and Marine Industry Seminar, being held April 24 through 26, 2024, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Dana’s session, “How Do I Respond to Harassment and Sexual Harassment Claims? What Are the New Laws and Coast Guard Regulations and How Do They Impact My Company?” will take place on Thursday, April 25, from 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.


Topics include:

  • What is the U.S. Coast Guard policy and position on harassment and sexual harassment? What about U.S. Department of Labor?
  • What is MSIB-23, how is it applied and what is expected by the U.S. Coast Guard with respect to reporting?
  • What do I absolutely have to have in my company policy to protect my company, and how is it best implemented and enforced? Does this carry over into my TSMS?
  • Now that I am hiring women deckhands and pilots given changes in the workforce, what accommodations must I have, and what am I required by law to provide onboard my vessel?
  • What about insurance to cover these types of claims? Are there endorsements on my policies that are needed, or they covered under my P&I policy, and does insurance differ from office onshore to offshore?
  • If I’m sued for harassment or sexual harassment, what policies of coverage “kick in” and what reporting obligations do I have to my insurer?
  • Do I use my regular old maritime lawyer or do I need a labor lawyer?


  • Moderator: Marc C. Hebert
  • Dana S. Merkel, Blank Rome LLP, Washington, D.C., Defense Attorney
  • Captain Evelynn B. Samms, Chief, Office of Investigations and Casualty Analysis, United States Coast Guard, U.S. Coast Guard Representative

Other sessions include:

  • “The Past, Present and Future” of Maintenance and Cure—What Are Rights of the Employer and Its Insurer in Paying, or Not Paying, M&C?
  • Occupational Medicine and FCE’s, How and Why Are They Important to My Company and Managing Personal Injury Claims?
  • How Do I Manage Employee Use of Cannabis, Synthetic Drugs and What Drug Testing Do I Need?
  • What Can I Do to Defeat the Deckhand Who “Turns into a Captain” for Making a Wage Loss Claim?
  • Emerging Technology and Artificial Intelligence—How Are They Impacting Your Operations and the Marine Transportation System?
  • Part I: Allisions, Collisions, and Salvage Operations—What Do They All Have in Common?
  • Part II: The Maritime Lien and Vessel Seizure—Two of the Most Powerful Procedures in the Maritime Industry—Can Help or Hurt Your Company!
  • What Do I Do in the Event of a Joint U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board Investigation for a Serious Marine Incident, and Who’s Going to Help Me and How?

The Seminar will also feature a keynote address by Rear Admiral David C. Barata, United States Coast Guard District Eighth District Commander, New Orleans, Louisiana.

For more information and to register, please visit the seminar webpage.