The opinion of the court was delivered by: MOTLEY
CONSTANCE BAKER MOTLEY, Chief Judge
Plaintiff, The Shipping Corporation of India, Ltd., (hereinafter "SCI"), an Indian corporation with its offices in India, brings this action to recover money damages in the amount of $88,965,086.00, from defendant, American Bureau of Shipping (hereinafter "ABS") a non-profit corporation formed under a "Special Act" of the State of New York in 1862. SCI alleges that the claimed damages were suffered as a result of the fault, neglect, errors, and omissions of ABS in connection with ABS' "classification" services.
The action is presently before the court on ABS's motion to dismiss on the ground of forum non conveniens.
ABS is a "classification society" which formulates and publishes rules and standards [standards] by which it rates the fitness of vessels for their intended service. ABS' primary duty is to certify the soundness and seaworthiness of merchant vessels. Classification by a recognized classification society is a prerequisite to registration of merchant vessels and to procurement of insurance upon them and their operations.
The classification process proceeds as follows:
The Classification Process consists of a) the development of Rules, Guides, standards and other criteria for the design and construction of marine vessels and structure, for materials, equipment and machinery, b) the review of design and survey during and after construction to verify compliance with such Rules, Guides, standards or other criteria and c) the assignment and registration of class when such compliance has been verified.
Rule 1.1 of ABS' "Rules for Building and Classing Steel Vesels" (1980 edition).
SCI owns and operates ocean-going cargo vessels which operate in international commerce, including ports of the United States. Among the merchant vessels SCI owns are the four "Ore-Bulk-Oil" (hereinafter "OBO"), vessels classified by ABS, at issue here.
All four vessels were constructed in Yugoslavia by Brodogradiliste Tvornica Diesel Mortora (hereinafter "Shipyard"). Hulls 254 and 261 were originally ordered by a Swiss corporation but sold to SCI before completion or classification. Hulls 270 and 271 were built directly for SCI.
SCI applied to ABS for classification of the four vessels, using ABS' standard printed form which bears New York, New York as ABS' address. Drawings were submitted to ABS' Genoa office for review and analysis. Smaller scale plans were reviewed at ABS' offices in England and Germany. ABS surveyors from the Genoa office inspected the four vessels prior to their classification as OBO vessels.
Problems developed after SCI put the four vessels into service as OBO vessels which required remedial measures to be undertaken by ABS. SCI made the final decision on all remedial measures only after conferring and negotiating with ABS' New York office and overseas staff, and the Shipyard.
The crux of SCI's complaint is that the vessels were not suited for use or service as OBO vessels because they were incapable of withstanding the normal stress incident to their operation in that capacity. Specifically, SCI alleges fault, neglect, errors, omissions, and breaches of or by ABS, or those for whom it is responsible, in performance of its obligations with respect to:
A. ABS' formulation of it Rules and standards applicable to ABS' design review and approval, construction surveys and ...