Maritime

Overview

“This international firm is a bona fide titan of maritime law.”

— Client feedback, Chambers USA

MARITIME EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM (“MERT”)

Our MERT members are ready around the clock to respond to pollution-related incidents and vessel casualties, and manage the related investigations, including potential civil and criminal consequences. In the event of an incident, please contact any of our members directly by clicking above to see the full listing of our team.

Shipping remains the most important means of moving goods around the world. With over 90 percent of cargo imported to the United States moving through seaports, maritime law and regulation—directly or indirectly—affects most businesses. Increased global trade, rising fuel costs, ongoing environmental regulation, overcapacity in the industry, the prospects for autonomous shipping, and cyber risks have converged to make this industry alter course.

Blank Rome helps companies find safe passage in these turbulent times by providing legal and business counsel in all aspects of the maritime industry. Whether the matter involves vessel finance, strategic alliances, regulatory compliance, or litigation and enforcement, we have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate any issue. We represent publicly traded and privately owned companies throughout the world, including shipowners, vessel operators, and charterers, cargo owners, ship managers, shipyards, wind farm operators, marine construction and transportation companies, waterfront facilities and terminals, energy companies, P&I clubs, marine insurers, shippers, financial institutions, and private equity investors. 

With this depth of experience, we understand the challenges clients face so they will not waste valuable time educating us about their business. When the matter involves a specialized area of the law, such as securities, labor and employment, bankruptcy, or tax, we draw upon our diverse group of more than 600 attorneys (including more than 40 who regularly advise the maritime industry) and our unparalleled network of contacts in the industry.

We also serve the shipping industry through a unique combination of regulatory, legislative, defense, and commercial advice and assistance. Our attorneys have been involved in many of the most significant vessel casualties and pollution incidents of the past century, such as the USS John McCain/Alnic MCAris T, El Faro, Amoco Cadiz, Athos I, Cosco Busan, Deepwater Horizon, Exxon Valdez, San Jacinto, Morris J. Berman, Torrey Canyon, and Amazon Venture spills

To keep on top of the latest trends in the maritime industry, please read our Mainbrace newsletter.

How We Can Help

  • compliance with international, federal, and state regulatory requirements
  • commercial, corporate, and general litigation 
  • defending against enforcement actions and criminal prosecutions
  • strategic alliance structuring
  • vessel and corporate finance
  • bankruptcy 
  • insurance and reinsurance 
  • tax

International Litigation, Arbitration, and Defense

Our maritime litigation and regulatory attorneys have substantial experience in conducting investigations and defending criminal, civil, and administrative enforcement actions, resolving insurance disputes, responding to environmental incidents and other casualties, and assisting those subject to government investigations. 

Government Relations

Our maritime government relations group can advise and advocate for you in the complex intersection of law and policy. Blank Rome’s experienced attorneys and lobbying and communications professionals can help you navigate these choppy waters and develop comprehensive strategies aimed at achieving favorable outcomes.

Regulatory Compliance

Blank Rome’s maritime regulatory compliance attorneys serve the shipping industry globally. Our services include regulatory advice for both U.S. and international operations; training for shoreside and shipboard employees; compliance program development; internal investigations and defense against civil, criminal, and administrative enforcement actions; and updates on and analysis of legislative and regulatory changes. Our attorneys are well versed in emerging issues, such as ballast water management, autonomous vessels, and drones and can help clients navigate the uncharted waters of the regulatory environment.

Commercial Transactions and Finance

Through our extensive maritime and shipping contacts, we often make the initial introductions for companies and investors interested in making industry mega-deals; as a result, we have been successful in bringing many deals together. Our maritime finance attorneys structure, negotiate, and document transactions, while simultaneously addressing any tax and regulatory issues that may arise. We help take companies public, guide buyers and sellers, and assist with bankruptcy and business restructuring.

Environmental

Blank Rome’s maritime environmental attorneys advise international vessel owners and operators, managers, charterers, and shippers on the multiplicity of international, federal, state, and local environmental regulations—as well as international conventions—that govern maritime transportation. Our attorneys are have been involved in many of the most notable pollution incidents of the past century.

Business Restructuring 

Our business restructuring and bankruptcy and maritime groups are nationally recognized providers of legal counsel and have an unmatched capability to provide one-stop shopping for financial restructurings and bankruptcies in the maritime industry to ship-owners, charterers, creditors, and other stakeholders. 

International Business

We have the depth and breadth needed to support our clients in the global arena and have a long history of representing international clients in the United States and protecting domestic clients’ interests abroad.

In the area of international trade sanctions and export controls, Blank Rome has successfully represented shipowners, P&I clubs, charterers, flag states, offshore oil and gas companies, shipyards, vessel agents, and managers in often critically sensitive matters before the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Department of State, and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security.  

What Sets Us Apart 

  • With nearly 40 shipping lawyers in New York, Washington, D.C., Houston, and Philadelphia, Blank Rome has the largest and most comprehensive maritime practice in the United States. 
  • 2013–2017 Chambers USA: ranked Blank Rome Band 1 for Transportation: Shipping/Maritime: Litigation (New York) – Nationwide and Transportation: Shipping/Maritime: Regulatory. 
    • “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.”
    • “The firm has a fantastic reputation in the international shipping community.” (Chambers Global)
    • “Clients praise ‘the lawyers’ willingness to assist quickly and proffer reliable off-the-cuff advice.’” (Chambers Asia)
  • The Legal 500 United States 2017 ranked Blank Rome Tier 1 in Transport: Shipping.
  • 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.

Team

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