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Michael G. Chalos

Fax +1.212.536.3901
Michael Chalos has been practicing maritime law for more than 35 years. During such time, Mr. Chalos has handled a number of matters involving traditional maritime issues such as collisions, groundings, failure of equipment, damage to cranes and offshore rigs, cargo and other damages, general average, personal injury and other Jones Act issues, Death on the High Seas Act, arrests, insurance (relating to cargo, P&I, hull, indemnity and general liability), including issues involving Certificates of Financial Responsibility (COFRs) for both vessels and off-shore rigs and platforms, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), the Clean Water Act and other environmental related statutes, dealing with the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF) and related governmental agencies such as the Coast Guard, EPA, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), and its sub-agencies, as well as commercial disputes, drafting of charter parties and other lease agreements, Memorandum of Agreements for the sale and purchase of vessels, Management Agreements, pooling arrangements and agreements, registration of vessels in U.S. and other jurisdictions around the world, financing of vessel purchases and leasing. Michael is a Member of the United States Maritime Law Association and a Proctor in Admiralty.

Mr. Chalos also has extensive experience advising clients on civil and criminal environmental law matters. In addition to his traditional maritime practice, Mr. Chalos has represented a number of clients involved in high-profile civil and criminal environmental litigation. This has included the successful defense of the masters of the Exxon Valdez oil tanker and Selendang Ayu cargo ship, as well as numerous United States and foreign-based corporations, ship owners, managers, operators, and crew who were the targets of criminal investigations by the U.S. government. In addition to the Exxon Valdez matter, Michael has represented owners, operators, and/or underwriters involved in major pollution casualties, including the Morris J. Berman, the Buffalo 405, the Cape Mohican, the Bermuda Islander, the Athos I, and the Cosco Busan.

Professional Background

Prior to joining K&L Gates, Mr. Chalos was a senior partner at another New York law firm. He represented a number of clients involved in high profile civil and criminal environmental litigation, numerous United States and foreign based corporations, shipowners, managers/operators, and crewmembers who were subjects of criminal investigations by the United States government.

Mr. Chalos also has substantial experience in defending and resolving oil pollution incidents, MARPOL, and the Act for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (APPS) violations, and other environmental claims. He frequently interacts with government entities involved in the enforcement of environmental regulations, such as the Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Coast Guard, Federal and State Trustees, and the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, as well as various state departments of environment.

Mr. Chalos has authored a number of articles on the criminalization of maritime accidents in the United States and other maritime nations, as well as articles relating to investigations and prosecutions by United States authorities of the by-passing of oily water separators and waste oil management systems. Mr. Chalos has also authored several Environmental Management Systems/Compliance Programs, which are currently used in use as part of settlement agreements reached with governmental authorities of pending investigations. He is also a frequent lecturer on these topics to industry groups, governmental bodies, law students, and environmental groups.


  • Mr. Chalos has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America publication for his work in Admiralty and Maritime Law.
  • Since 2014, Chambers USA has ranked Mr. Chalos in the category Transportation: Shipping Maritime: Litigation (New York).

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Former Chairman of the U.S. Maritime Law Association’s Committee on Environmental Crimes