MAINBRACE: March 2023

Note from the Editor

William R. Bennett III

This is my first publication as editor of Mainbrace. Truth be told, when I was asked to be editor, I thought it was a joke, laughed and asked “seriously?” In short, I was concerned I was not up to the task. Well, “why” you may ask, “seems like a simple and ordinary note for a law firm to pump out.” Not so my friends, not so.

It is important to note that Mainbrace is not merely another “publication” generated by a law firm’s marketing team. Mainbrace is much more. Mainbrace has a long history of providing the maritime legal and business community with articles that are relevant to the then present-day industry concerns. It is a collaboration among skilled and talented lawyers who somehow find the time to author enlightening articles. Is Mainbrace the “Gray Lady”? No, but she is our lady and we hold her dearly.

Believe it or not, Mainbrace has been in publication since 1990! In fact, the first publication—Vol. 1 No. I—was issued in March 1990 by the law firm of Healy & Baillie, which joined Blank Rome in 2006. “How did it last so long?” you ask. Simply put, the sustainability of Mainbrace is directly related to the efforts of Tom Belknap, who spearheaded the publication of Mainbrace for nearly 15 years. And should any of our readers desire to read ANY issue of Mainbrace since its first publication in March 1990, Tom can supply you with a copy—all of which are safely tucked away in a binder in his office.

To Tom Belknap, our partner and friend: Bravo Zulu, Bravo Zulu!

I do not take lightly taking over the conn of Mainbrace from Tom and having to safely navigate her publication in the future. Admittedly, I won’t do so alone, for I am surrounded by a crew of brilliant legal minds who will supply me with articles to publish. And to them, I am grateful.

Lastly, to our readers, we take pride in every issue of Mainbrace we publish and will continue to author and publish meaningful and informative articles that meet your expectations.

William R. Bennett III, Editor


Will Jones Act Waivers Be a Viable Option in the Future?
By Dana S. Merkel, Jonathan K. Waldron, and Jeanne M. Grasso

Companies often ask if it is possible to obtain a Jones Act waiver in emergency circumstances or otherwise when they know that there may not be domestic Jones Act vessels available to perform the transportation or installation of cargo. Historically, waivers have been very difficult to obtain and recent Congressional developments will make them even more difficult to obtain. Read More »

A Practical Approach to Reduce MARPOL Enforcement Risks in the United States
By Kierstan L. Carlson and Jeanne M. Grasso

Readers of Mainbrace know well that the United States has been aggressively enforcing compliance with MARPOL for decades. Often referred to as “magic pipe” cases, the U.S. Department of Justice has brought criminal MARPOL prosecutions against owners and operators of ships running the gamut from fishing vessels to bulkers, tankers, container ships, and cruise ships. These prosecutions have involved underlying violations of MARPOL Annex I (oil), but also Annex V (garbage) and more recently Annex VI (air emissions). Read More »

Offshore Wind Development Is Coming to the Gulf of Mexico
By Joan M. Bondareff and Keith B. Letourneau

The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) has identified two Wind Energy Areas (“WEAs”) in the Gulf of Mexico to develop offshore wind farms. A lease sale is expected later this summer. One 546,000-acre WEA is located south of Galveston, Texas; the other is a 188,000-acre tract off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana. According to BOEM, the two WEAs have the potential to power 2.3 million and 799,000 homes, respectively, with clean energy generated by continuously renewable offshore wind. Read More »

Transfer of Offshore Wind Safety and Environmental Responsibilities
By Dana S. Merkel and Jonathan K. Waldron

The Department of the Interior transferred safety and environmental oversight for the Outer Continental Shelf renewable energy program from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement on January 31, 2023. Importantly, the transfer does not affect current regulatory requirements for offshore wind development, but merely the agency responsible for oversight and enforcement. Read More »

Compliance, Enforcement Risks, and Emerging Issues Regarding EPA’s Vessel General Permit
By Jeanne M. Grasso and Dana S. Merkel

About a year ago, we wrote about a rise in enforcement of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Vessel General Permit (“VGP”). In the words of one EPA attorney, that was “just the beginning” and we have continued to see more aggressive reviews of VGP compliance and penalty demands, particularly on the U.S. West Coast. Since then, EPA has continued demanding significant penalties for alleged violations, sometimes citing interpretations of the VGP that are not outlined in any guidance documents. Read More »

U.S. Court Authorizes Service of Subpoena on U.S. Nationals through Social Media While Prohibiting the Issuance of a Subpoena on Foreign Nationals Abroad
By Michael B. Schaedle and Evan Jason Zucker

Corrupt managerial behavior has been a driver in the collapse of the cryptocurrency market. Enforcing and defending claims against directors and officers, where the directors and officers are not living in the United States and may not be U.S. citizens, is a current judicial focus in the U.S. litigation system. In the Three Arrows Capital chapter 15 case, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York addresses founder misconduct and defines the limits of the United States’ broad discovery tools to aide a letterbox jurisdiction, like the British Virgin Islands, in corralling bad actors and subjecting them to forensic examination. Read More »

Maritime Ransomware
By Vanessa C. DiDomenico, Sharon R. Klein, and Karen H. Shin

Cybersecurity concerns are certainly on the radar for shipowners and operators. Cybersecurity breaches can penetrate systems aboard and ashore and can jeopardize safety and adversely impact maritime operations, as well as disrupt the downstream distribution of the goods on board. In that light, it is imperative that shipowners and operators install tough mitigation, detection, and response plans. Read More »


Blank Rome Named “Law Firm of the Year” in Admiralty & Maritime Law in U.S. News – Best Lawyers® 2023 “Best Law Firms”

Our firm was named “Law Firm of the Year” in Admiralty & Maritime Law in the 2023 “Best Law Firms” survey by U.S. News & World Report – Best Lawyers®. Only one law firm per legal practice area received the “Best Law Firm” recognition. Our Maritime practice group was also ranked Tier 1 nationally and ranked Tier 1 regionally in Houston, New York City, and Washington, D.C., in Admiralty & Maritime Law. Read More »

Chambers Global 2023 Ranks Blank Rome Attorneys and Shipping, Energy, and Bankruptcy & Restructuring Practices

Chambers Global 2023 recognized Maritime partner John D. Kimball for his industry knowledge and leading practice, as well as Blank Rome LLP as a global leader in Shipping: Litigation. Read More »

Blank Rome Attorneys Recognized as Thought Leaders: USA and Global Leaders by Who’s Who Legal 2022–2023

Who’s Who Legal recognized five Blank Rome Maritime attorneys in their inaugural “Thought Leaders: USA 2023” rankings and seven as “2022 Global Leaders.” In total, 14 practice area categories and 26 firm attorneys were recognized. Read More »

Blank Rome Earns Perfect Score in 2022 Corporate Equality Index

Our firm received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2022 Corporate Equality Index, the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey and report measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. With this score, Blank Rome has been designated for the seventh year in a row as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.” Read More »

Blank Rome Recognized by Leadership Council on Legal Diversity as a 2022 Compass Award Winner

Our firm was named a Compass Award winner by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (“LCLD”) for our participation in and support of LCLD’s mission and programs, as well as our strong commitment to building a diverse organization and a more inclusive legal profession. Read More »

Blank Rome Announces 2023 Promotions: Dana S. Merkel Elevated to Of Counsel

Effective January 1, 2023, Blank Rome announced the elevation of Dana S. Merkel to of counsel in our Maritime and International Trade practice group. Read More »

Perspectives: Intentional about Inclusion (2022–2023)

Welcome to the 2022–2023 edition of Perspectives, Blank Rome’s diversity and inclusion newsletter that keeps you informed on our latest diversity and inclusion news and provides insight on current diversity and inclusion issues in the legal industry and beyond. Read More »

The BR Privacy & Security Download

We invite you to read our March 2023 edition of The BR Privacy & Security Download, the monthly digital newsletter of Blank Rome’s Privacy, Security & Data Protection practice, which covers current trends and updates in the areas of state, local, and federal laws and regulations, U.S. litigation and enforcement, and international laws and regulations, as well as the group’s recent events and webinars, media activity, and news. Read More »

The BR State + Local Tax Spotlight

Welcome to the March 2023 edition of The BR State + Local Tax Spotlight, our monthly newsletter from Blank Rome’s State + Local Tax team that highlights important State + Local Tax developments across numerous jurisdictions and provides updates on significant legislative developments and judicial decisions that could impact business operations. Read More »


Severe Weather Emergency Recovery Team (“SWERT”)

SWERT is an interdisciplinary group of Blank Rome attorneys and government relations professionals with decades of experience helping companies and individuals recover from severe weather events, including recent hurricanes, wildfires, and mudslides across the United States. We are ready to assist those in the path of storms and other severe weather events. Read More »

Safe Passage Blog

We invite our readers to dive into our archive of Mainbrace newsletters and maritime development advisories, as well as keep abeam with all of our current and upcoming analyses on trending maritime topics and legislation, in our Safe Passage blog. Read More »

Blank Rome’s Maritime Industry Team

Our maritime industry team is composed of practice-focused subcommittees from across many of our firm’s offices, with attorneys who have extensive capabilities and experience in the maritime industry and beyond, effectively complementing Blank Rome Maritime’s client cases and transactions. Read More »

© 2023 Blank Rome LLP. All rights reserved. Please contact Blank Rome for permission to reprint. Notice: The purpose of this update is to identify select developments that may be of interest to readers. The information contained herein is abridged and summarized from various sources, the accuracy and completeness of which cannot be assured. This update should not be construed as legal advice or opinion, and is not a substitute for the advice of counsel.