Thomas H. Belknap, Jr.
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Tom Belknap is a member of our Maritime Emergency Response Team (MERT).
Tom Belknap is co-chair of Blank Rome's Maritime Industry Team Litigation Subcommittee and concentrates his practice on international commercial and insurance litigation and arbitration, with particular emphasis on the maritime industry. He also focuses on offshore construction, casualty, and insurance issues, including negotiating and advising on relevant contracts. 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, SMA, and ad hoc arbitration terms;
- offshore pipeline installation and construction projects and related insurance issues;
- maritime bankruptcy matters, acting for debtors, secured and unsecured creditors, and unsecured creditors’ committees;
- marine insurance coverage disputes, including protection and indemnity, general commercial liability, marine 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; and
- recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitration awards and judgments.
Mr. Belknap is a co-author of Time Charters (7th ed. 2014), and he also co-authors the annual update to the Benedict on Admiralty, Vol. 3A: The Law of Salvage. He is also the editor of Mainbrace, Blank Rome’s quarterly maritime newsletter.
He has expertise across a range of matters including contracts and charter party disputes, casualty litigation and insurance coverage.
Mr. Belknap has been recognized by Chambers USA every year since 2009 as a leading shipping litigation attorney. Chambers has 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." In the 2015 edition, Chambers particularly highlighted his “really good connections in the Asian shipping arena.”
Mr. Belknap is also recognized in Who’s Who Legal – Transport 2015, the Guide to the World's Leading Shipping and Maritime Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and Expert Guides – Best of the Best USA, as an outstanding practitioner in the shipping field.
- Represented a natural gas utility in defending two separate claims for damage to major electric transmission cables crossing the Long Island Sound during a marine construction project, and related insurance coverage litigation as an "additional assured" under the contractor's policies.
- Represented a foreign jack-up barge operator in negotiations to provide installation services for a U.S. East Coast offshore wind farm installation project.
- Representing a large U.S.-based marine bunker supplier in connection with a New York litigation arising out of an O.W. Bunker bankruptcy.
- Represented the unsecured creditors committee in respect of maritime issues relating to a U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy action.
- Representing numerous debtors in maritime issues relating to a U.S. Chapter 15 action seeking recognition of foreign bankruptcy proceedings.
- Advised a foreign offshore ice breaking company on corporate organization and limitation of liability issues.
- Represented a cargo vessel owner in a collision with a U.S. Navy nuclear submarine.
- Represented a war-risk insurer in a coverage dispute with a member concerning the alleged bombing of a vessel in Sri Lanka.
- Represented the owner of an offshore marine construction support vessel in a dispute with a charterer over the formation of a charterparty contract.
- Representing sellers and buyers of coal and other bulk commodities in an arbitration of disputes under sales contracts (ICC and AAA arbitration).
- Numerous Rule B and Rule C matters, both in obtaining and opposing attachments and arrests.
- Numerous matters seeking recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitration awards and judgments.
COMMUNITY SERVICE & AFFILIATIONS
Mr. Belknap is a member of the International Bar Association, the United States Maritime Law Association, and the Connecticut Maritime Association.