MAINBRACE: September 2023

Note from the Editor

William R. Bennett III

My commute into New York City is by fast ferry, which allows me the pleasure of watching all sorts of vessels arrive and depart New York Harbor: cruise ships, container vessels, tankers, bulkers, tugs, research vessels, and, of course, the occasional yacht. Watching a large cruise ship or container vessel passing underneath the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge is a spectacular sight. And, of course, seeing any type of vessel pass near the Statute of Liberty is nostalgic. A picture is a must; one cannot have too many of those types of photos, in my opinion. My fellow passengers give me a sideways glance every time I get up to head out on deck to take a photo of a vessel passing by us. I take pictures because I love the maritime industry, but I was recently reminded how difficult life is working at sea.

This past Labor Day weekend, while enjoying time at the beach, a friend asked whether the crew aboard a tanker that had been anchored off Sandy Hook, NJ, for a few days were able to get off to visit New York City. I replied, “Generally, no.” The group I was with were shocked. After explaining why crew were not permitted off the vessel, I then explained that the average unlicensed crew member’s tour can be from 4 to 10 months long, with no weekends or holidays; possibly no choice of who to room with; no choice of what to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner; often unable to speak with a loved one at home for several days or weeks. Add to that the potential for inhospitable weather while at sea. We all agreed that put into perspective the debate about whether one should be in the office two or three days a week.

In closing, please consider supporting an organization that cares for seaman and their mental health.

— William R. Bennett III, Editor


Finally—A Path Forward for Implementation of the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act
By Jeanne M. Grasso and Dana S. Merkel

In December 2018, the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act was signed into law and intended to replace the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 Vessel General Permit (which has been in place for nearly ten years) to bring uniformity, consistency, and certainty to the regulation of incidental discharges from U.S. and foreign-flag vessels. Read More »

Recent Developments Affecting U.S. Maritime Arbitration
By Thomas H. Belknap Jr.

This article highlights some recent legal developments relevant to maritime arbitration although, as will be seen below, not all of the developments specifically involve maritime cases. This fact serves as a good reminder that maritime arbitration in the United States is but a subset of a broad and well-developed body of law relating generally to international and commercial arbitration. Read More »

Navigating the Complex Waters of Cross-Border Maritime Mergers & Acquisitions
By Nathan S. Brill

Significant assets, intricate ownership structures, multinational operations, overlapping regulatory schemes, disparate time zones, and differing transaction customs are just a few of the macro challenges that make mergers and acquisitions in ocean shipping and related industries some of the most intricate and exciting transactions in the global economy. Read More »

Maritime Transportation: Whose Responsibility Is It When Produce Arrives in Damaged Condition?
By Keith B. Letourneau

What do avocados, bananas and citrus fruit all have in common in Texas? A large percentage reach our shores by ship. But you know how bananas and avocados ripen on the kitchen counter. How are they kept fresh from grove to store, and whose responsibility is it when the produce arrives in damaged condition, or the buyer fails to pay for these commodities? Read More »

Can Foreign Corporate Defendants Be “Found” by Registering and Appointing an Agent Post Mallory?
By Lauren B. Wilgus and Noe S. Hamra

Post Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway Co., are foreign corporate defendants “found within the district” for purposes of Rule B by registering to do business in New York and appointing an agent for service of process? Read More »

Evolution of Offshore Wind and the Coastwise Laws
By Jonathan K. Waldron, Dana S. Merkel, and Vanessa C. DiDomenico

Over the past year, a number of new interpretations related to the application of the coastwise laws to the developing offshore wind industry in the United States have clarified how construction and operation of offshore wind farms will proceed. The U.S. coastwise laws, which impose restrictions on the transportation of merchandise and passengers, as well as towing and dredging operations, are interpreted and enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 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 »

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 September 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 September 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 hurricanes, wildfires, mudslides, snowstorms, earthquakes, and tornadoes. 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 »

© 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.