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e-CFR data is current as of January 19, 2021

Title 50Chapter IISubchapter KPart 296 → §296.5

Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries

§296.5   Instructions for filing claims.

(a) Fifteen-day report required to gain presumption of causation—(1) General. Damages or losses are presumed to be qualified for compensation if certain requirements are satisfied. One requirement is that a report must be made to NMFS within fifteen (15) days after the date on which the vessel first returns to a port after discovering the damage or loss. Filing of a fifteen-day report must be followed up by filing a detailed claim.

(2) When and how to file a fifteen-day report. To qualify for the presumption of causation, a fifteen-day report must be made to NMFS within fifteen days after the date on which the vessel first returns to a port after discovering the damage or loss. Satisfaction of the fifteen-day requirement is determined by the postmark, if the report is mailed; by the date of a call, if the report is telephoned or radiotelephoned; or, by the date of appearance, if the report is made in person. The fifteen-day report must be made to the Chief, Financial Services Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910; telephone: (301) 713-2396.

(3) Contents of fifteen-day report. Each fifteen-day report must include the following information:

(i) The claimant's name and address;

(ii) The name of the commercial fishing vessel involved;

(iii) The location of the obstruction which caused the damage or loss;

(iv) A description of the nature of the damage or loss;

(v) The date such damage or loss was discovered;

(vi) If the fifteen-day report is made after the vessel returns to port, the date on which the vessel first returned to port after discovering the damage.

(b) Form of claim. Claims must be in writing. Claims may be submitted on NOAA form 88-164. This form may be obtained from any NMFS regional office or from the Chief, FSD. Although claimants are not required to use this claim form, it will probably be to their benefit to do so.

(c) Who must file and when and where to file claims. All claimants (including those who filed 15-day reports to gain the presumption of causation) must submit a claim application to the Chief, Financial Services Division, within 90 calendar days of the date the claimant or the claimant's agent first became aware of the damage or loss. The Chief, FSD, may allow a longer period for filing claims if, in his discretion, unusual and extenuating circumstances justify a longer period. The term “filed” means delivered in person, or mailed (as determined by the date of the postmark) to the Chief, Financial Services Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20235. The Chief, FSD, suggests that mailed claims be sent by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, so the claimant will have a record that the claim was received by the Chief, FSD.

(d) Aggregating claims. If more than one commercial fisherman suffers loss or damage from the same incident (for example, when several members of the crew lost income due to loss of fishing time), all claims should be submitted on their behalf by the owner or operator of the commercial fishing vessel involved.

(e) Contents of claim. Each claim must be signed by the claimant and must accurately and completely provide the following information:

(1) The name, mailing address, telephone number, citizenship, and occupational status (for example, vessel owner, operator, or crew member) of each claimant;

(2) The name and Coast Guard documentation number or State registration number of the commercial fishing vessel involved in the damage or loss;

(3) The home port, type, and size of the vessel involved in the casualty;

(4) A full statement of the circumstances of the damage or loss including:

(i) The date when the casualty was first discovered by the claimant,

(ii) The water depth (if known) and visibility at the time and location where the casualty occurred,

(iii) The direction, speed, and activities of the claimant's vessel immediately before, during, and after the casualty (including a full description of both the deployment of any fishing gear which is the subject of the claim and all attempts at retrieval of the gear),

(iv) The names and addresses of all witnesses to the casualty,

(v) The location where the casualty occurred in Loran C coordinates or the next most accurate method of position fixing available to the claimant,

(vi) A description of the item or obstruction (if sighted or recovered) which caused the casualty, and whether or not any surface markers were attached to or near the obstruction. Submit any available photographs of the item or obstruction. State reasons for believing the obstruction is associated with OCS oil and gas activities.

(5) The amount claimed for property damage or loss and a full statement of the type and extent of damage or loss including:

(i) An inventory of all components of fishing gear damaged or lost,

(ii) The date, place, and cost of acquisition of all fishing gear damaged or lost and proof of its purchase (sales receipts, affidavits, or other evidence),

(iii) One estimate from a commercial fishing gear repair or supply company of the present replacement or repair (whichever applies) cost of the damaged or lost fishing gear. If the gear will be repaired by the claimant himself, a detailed estimate by the claimant identifying the repair cost.

(6) The amount claimed for economic loss and the basis for that amount with supporting documentation, as follows:

(i) Trip tickets for the three vessel trips immediately before the trip during which the casualty was discovered and for the vessel trip immediately following the trip during which the casualty occurred.

(ii) A statement of the amount of time involved on each of the vessel trips above (or if the casualty involves fixed gear, a statement of the number of gear units deployed on each of these trips).

(iii) A statement of the amount of time lost from fishing because of the damage or loss and a full explanation of why this time period is reasonable.

(iv) Documentation of the date replacement gear was ordered and received or the date gear repair began and ended. This documentation may consist of purchase orders, bills of lading, or statements from sellers or repairers.

(7) The amount claimed for other consequential loss or costs (including fees for claim preparation, etc.) with suitable documentation of the amounts claimed (such as invoices, receipts, etc.).

[47 FR 49600, Nov. 1, 1982, as amended at 50 FR 13796, Apr. 8, 1985; 53 FR 24645, June 29, 1988; 61 FR 6322, Feb. 20, 1996]

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