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

Title 50Chapter IISubchapter KPart 296 → §296.7

Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries

§296.7   Burden of proof and presumption of causation.

(a) Burden of proof. The claimant has the burden to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, all facts necessary to qualify his claim, including:

(1) The identity or nature of the item which caused the damage or loss; and

(2) That the item is associated with oil and gas exploration, development, or production activities on the Outer Continental Shelf.

(b) Presumption of causation. Notwithstanding the above, damages or losses are presumed to be caused by items associated with oil and gas exploration, development, or production activities on the OCS if the claimant establishes that:

(1) The claimant's commercial fishing vessel was being used for commercial fishing and was located in an area affected by OCS oil and gas exploration, development, or production activities;

(2) A report on the location of the obstruction which caused such damage or loss, and the nature of such damage or loss, was made within fifteen days after the date on which the vessel first returned to a port after discovering such damage;

(3) There was no record on the most recent nautical charts issued by the National Ocean Survey, NOAA, or in any weekly Notice to Mariners issued by the Defense Mapping Agency Hydrographic/Topographic Center, in effect at least 15 days before the date the damage or loss occurred, then an obstruction existed in the immediate vicinity where the damage or loss occurred. In the case of damages caused by a pipeline, the presumption will be available regardless of whether the pipeline was recorded on charts or in the Notice to Mariners; and

(4) There was no proper surface marker or lighted buoy attached, or closely anchored, to such obstruction.

(c) Geographic exclusion from presumption of causation. Damage or loss occurring within a one-quarter mile radius of obstructions recorded on charts or in a Notice to Mariners, or properly marked, is presumed to involve the recorded or marked obstruction.

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