Thomas H. Belknap, Jr.
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Tom Belknap is a member of our Maritime Emergency Response Team (MERT).
Tom Belknap is the Co-Chair of the Litigation Subcommittee of Blank Rome's Maritime Industry Team and concentrates his practice in the areas of international commercial and insurance litigation and arbitration, with particular emphasis on the maritime industry. Mr. Belknap has been involved in a wide variety of domestic and international maritime, commercial, and insurance matters, including:
- international and domestic commercial contract disputes, including arbitrations under AAA, ICC and ad hoc arbitration terms
- marine insurance disputes, including protection and indemnity, general commercial liability, hull and machinery, and war-risk insurance coverage issues
- charterparty disputes, including arbitrations under SMA, MAA and ad hoc arbitration terms
- COGSA and multi-modal cargo damage claims
- marine casualty and collision cases and vessel limitation of liability actions
- maritime commercial and “treasure” salvage and general average disputes
- maritime attachment (Rule B) and vessel arrest (Rule C) actions
- recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitration awards and judgments
Mr. Belknap is co-author with Blank Rome Partner John Kimball on the annual update to the Benedict on Admiralty, Vol. 3A: The Law of Salvage (2009 revision), and to Time Charters (7th ed. 2014). He is also the editor of Mainbrace, Blank Rome’s quarterly maritime newsletter.
He is 'a rising force — he is hard-working, with a good understanding of the law, particularly cargo matters.'
Mr. Belknap has been recognized by Chambers USA every year since 2009 as a leading shipping litigation attorney. Chambers stated, "Thomas Belknap is praised for his 'thoughtful and thorough approach.' He has expertise across a range of matters including contracts and charter party disputes, casualty litigation and insurance coverage." Chambers further noted that he is "fantastic when it comes to the details of a claim, where you have to go through a complaint, take it to pieces and put it back together again," and he is “always prepared, articulate, knowledgeable and practical in his approach to running cases.” He is "a rising force—he is hard-working, with a good understanding of the law, particularly cargo matters."
Mr. Belknap is also recognized in the Guide to the World's Leading Shipping and Maritime Lawyers as one of the outstanding practitioners in this field.
- Represented war risk insurer in coverage dispute with member concerning alleged bombing of vessel in Sri Lanka.
- Represented owner of off-shore marine construction support vessel in dispute with charterer over formation of a charter party contract
- Represented cargo vessel owner in grounding in U.S. Gulf in connection with claims by charterer/cargo.
- Represented cargo vessel owner in collision with U.S. Navy nuclear submarine.
- Represented natural gas utility in defending two separate claims for damage to electric transmission cables crossing Long Island Sound during marine construction project, and related insurance coverage litigation as "additional assured" under contractor's policies.
- Represented international commodities trading company in defense of $60 million suit for allegedly wrongful "poaching" of trading group from competitor.
- Obtained New York judgment in favor of owner of vessel being sold for scrap against hull & machinery underwriters for “sue and labor” costs incurred in search and rescue efforts following loss of insured vessel while under tow.
- Obtained arbitration award in favor of client vessel owner defeating claim by charterer for alleged failure to supply necessary lifting gear for heavy lift specialty cargo.
- Obtained arbitration award and judgment in favor of client vessel owner against charterer for failure to tender cargo under voyage charter.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of Nigerian client seeking to enforce Nigerian default judgment obtained against interior design company in respect of disputes arising out of a contract relating to the construction of a five-star hotel in Lagos, Nigeria.
- Represented of freight forwarder in defense of $2 million project lift cargo damage claim.
- Numerous Rule B and Rule C matters, both in obtaining and opposing attachments and arrests.
COMMUNITY SERVICE & AFFILIATIONS
Mr. Belknap is a member of the MLA Committee on Maritime Arbitration and Mediation, a member of the Transport and Arbitration Groups of the Association Internationale des Jeunnes Avocats, and a member of the International Bar Association.