Cases and Deals

Blank Rome Represents Flame S.A. against Freight Bulk Ltd. and Vista Shipping

Blank Rome LLP successfully represented Flame S.A. in an ongoing maritime litigation case against Freight Bulk Ltd. and Vista Shipping.

Industrial Carriers, Inc., a shipping company based in Ukraine, became insolvent in October 2008 and defaulted on four forward freight agreements (“FFAs”) with Flame. Flame secured a judgment of approximately $19 million in England. In 2010, Flame had its English judgment recognized in the Southern District of New York. In 2013, the vessel M/V CAPE VIEWER arrived in Norfolk, Virginia.

Blank Rome’s maritime litigation team filed a writ of attachment against the vessel and a complaint alleging that its owner and operator, Freight Bulk and Vista, were alter egos of Industrial Carriers. After lengthy pre-trial proceedings, a bench trial began in August 2014 wherein Blank Rome established that Industrial Carriers fraudulently transferred hundreds of millions of dollars of assets to Vista. The court awarded judgment in excess of $8M (the value of the CAPE VIEWER) to Flame. Freight Bulk appealed and the Fourth Circuit unanimously affirmed the judgment of the district court. Last week, a request for an en banc review was denied. In addition to this successful outcome, Flame was able to seize additional bank accounts overseas in an effort to collect the rest of its judgment.

Flame S.A., established in January 2003, is an integrated shipping & trading company registered and headquartered in Lugano (Switzerland).