Maritime - Litigation


“The group is excellent for complicated and difficult litigation where there's a lot of money at stake.”

— Client feedback, Chambers USA

Blank Rome Maritime’s attorneys have the breadth and depth of experience to assist clients in resolving all aspects of maritime disputes. From collisions, allisions, groundings, and oil spills to cargo damage to charter party disputes to insurance coverage to salvage and general average, we’ve handled it all. Our attorneys work with clients to understand their objectives and always seek to resolve disputes as expeditiously as possible.

When maritime executives face civil or criminal charges or their companies are threatened by regulatory action, Blank Rome can offer a team of defense attorneys whose sole focus is the maritime industry.  We regularly handle complex and multijurisdictional litigation and have substantial experience defending criminal, civil, and administrative enforcement actions, responding to environmental incidents and other casualties, and assisting those subject to government investigations. In addition, our attorneys have more experience in maritime arbitration than any other U.S. firm. We also represent maritime clients in non-maritime corporate and commercial disputes of all types.

How We Can Help

  • Marine casualties
  • Collisions, allisions, groundings, and sinkings
  • Charterparty and contract disputes
  • Vessel construction/shipbuilding disputes
  • Cargo claims
  • Protection and indemnity claims
  • Freight, demurrage, and defense insurance claims
  • Insurance coverage and subrogation matters
  • Tug and tow matters
  • Arrests and attachments
  • Commercial disputes
  • Bankruptcy
  • Salvage and general average claims
  • Environmental matters
  • Jones Act coastwise trade issues
  • Maritime personal-injury claims
  • Defense of criminal, civil, and administrative actions
  • Mediation and alternative dispute resolution
  • Internal and government investigations

White Collar Defense and Investigations

When clients face government investigation, a whistleblower’s accusations, or self-discovered misconduct, we address the allegations, while mitigating the damage to the company’s or individual’s reputation. We use a combination of investigative tactics, media relations, and negotiating strategies, and, when needed, have the billings of seasoned trial and appellate team. Blank Rome Maritime’s team includes internationally known trial lawyers and former U.S. federal prosecutors.

Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Many disputes can best be resolved through alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”), which can include negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. Using maritime arbitrators to resolve disputes can be quick, cost-effective, and can help avoid negative publicity. It also allows you to continue conducting other commercial arrangements by isolating the dispute.
Our attorneys are often called upon to serve as arbitrators and have been counsel of record in more than 600 New York arbitration awards reported by the Society of Maritime Arbitrators in New York—more than any other firm in the United States.

International Litigation

Our attorneys have served as expert witnesses in international litigation on numerous occasions, testifying in worldwide courts on issues of American law, such as in a major reinsurance dispute before the High Court of Justice in London arising out of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and in O.W. Bunker cases.

What Sets Us Apart 

  • With nearly 40 shipping lawyers in New York, Washington, DC, Houston, and Philadelphia, Blank Rome has the largest and most comprehensive maritime practice in the United States.
  • Chambers Global 2023 recognized Blank Rome as a global leader in Shipping: Litigation — Global-wide.

    • “Blank Rome has a well-regarded shipping litigation practice, with considerable expertise in dealing with high-profile disputes, as well as maritime arbitration. It is respected both within the USA and internationally for its deep industry knowledge. The law firm offers:

      • Notable expertise in handling a wide range of issues, including casualties, charter party disputes, bankruptcy and environmental matters.

      • Experience acting for a mix of owners, operators, charterers, financial institutions and shipyards.

      • Additional strength advising on shipping issues as they intersect with environmental litigation.” 

    • Sources have said:

      • “One peer described the team as a ‘real quality outfit.’”

      • “A source particularly praised the firm’s skills in handling maritime transactions.”

      • “The firm has a fantastic reputation in the international shipping community.”

  • Chambers USA consistently ranks our Maritime practice group Band 1:

    • 2019–2023: ranked Blank Rome Band 1 for Transportation: Shipping/Maritime: Litigation (New York) – Nationwide, Transportation: Shipping/Maritime: Litigation (Outside New York) – Nationwide, and Transportation: Shipping/Maritime: Regulatory. Sources have said:

      • “It fields one of the most highly regarded regulatory teams in the USA alongside stellar litigation and transactional practices, and is also home to one of the premier governmental affairs groups…The firm has excellent resources to handle large, complex cases with serious consequences.”

      • “Clients value the firm’s ‘amazing array of subject matter experts across multiple disciplines and jurisdictions’”

      • “‘Their service is excellent and they are very responsive.’”

      • “‘They’re absolutely top of the line, no question at all.’”

      • “[T]he team has ‘a lot of very successful and talented lawyers’ and … [a] ‘truly international practice.’”

  • The Legal 500 United States 2023 ranked Blank Rome Top Tier in Transport: Shipping – Finance and Transport: Shipping – Litigation and Regulation.
  • Recipient of the Lloyd’s List North American Maritime Legal Services Award 2015 and 2016.
  • 2013 U.S. News & World Report—Best Lawyers (Woodward/White, Inc.): designated “Law Firm of the Year” for Maritime & Admiralty Law.
  • Several of our maritime attorneys lecture at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy’s OPA 90 Qualified Individual Training Program on legal issues related to pollution incidents, and are often asked to serve as arbitrators and expert witnesses in foreign litigation and courts on issues of U.S. maritime law. 
  • Our attorneys include former U.S. Coast Guard and Navy officers, representatives and senior staff from Congressional committees, and high-level officials of government agencies, including the Department of Justice, Maritime Administration, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • Among our attorneys, we have a professor of maritime law at the New York University School of Law, an adjunct professor at Drexel University’s School of Law teaching admiralty law, and an adjunct professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology where she teaches Information Security & Law. Additionally we have several authors and editors of leading maritime treatises and textbooks, including Time Charters, Voyage Charters, The International Law of the Shipmaster, Maritime Security Handbook, the chapter “Maritime Cyber Security: The Unavoidable Wave of Change,” in Issues in Maritime Cyber Security and the Benedict on Admiralty volume relating to salvage.

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