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Maritime: Maritime Disputes

Our maritime group represents clients in a wide range of maritime-related litigation and arbitration matters, including complex matters arising from mass casualties, commercial disputes, international trade, and bilateral investment treaties. Our firm is involved in complex commercial litigation and arbitration worldwide, with the subject matter of disputes spanning a broad range of sectors. 

Our litigation experience covers all aspects of marine disputes, including casualties (high profile casualties involving loss of vessel, crew and passengers, and cargo), spills, collisions and allisions, construction, cargo damage, and contract disputes. Our arbitration experience includes complex international maritime arbitrations and disputes regarding shipbuilding contracts, container leases, marine insurance, oil and gas, international sale of goods, and trade finance. 

We have represented clients in complex cross-border disputes relating to pooling, competition, and consortium issues, including regulatory control by port states, class, flag states, distressed shipping debt funds, and ownership and management structures.

Capabilities

Commercial Litigation, Arbitration, and Dispute Resolution

We frequently deal with high-profile, high-stakes commercial disputes, and have a track record of obtaining successful results in cases with regional, national, and international significance. Our firm is involved in complex commercial litigation and arbitration worldwide, including both non-administered arbitrations and arbitrations administered by the leading arbitration institutions, with the subject matter of disputes spanning a broad range of sectors, ranging from maritime disputes, to Middle Eastern property investment, to Latin American offshore oil extraction, to complex insurance coverage disputes. Maritime arbitrations have included disputes regarding shipbuilding contracts, marine insurance, container leasing, oil and gas, and international sale of goods, and trade finance. Our dispute resolution capabilities are extensive.

Examples include:

  • Casualties of all types: collisions, allisions, oil spills, personal injury or death, cargo damage or loss. Significant examples include the representation of owners and operators of vessels lost at sea, involving loss of vessel, crew and passengers, and cargo, and resulting in U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board investigations, civil proceedings (limitation of liability) and criminal proceedings
  • Charter parties (e.g. time, voyage, trip charters); contracts of affreightment; cargo claims relating to a wide range of issues, including short landing, quality, damage, contamination, title, demurrage, dead freight, off-hire, unsafe port or berth, redelivery and withdrawal claims; and related trade financing issues arising from bills of lading, letters of credit, Incoterms, etc.
  • Banking, finance, investment funds, and general corporate commercial disputes
  • Commodities, natural resources, and the international sale of goods and services
  • Construction, infrastructure, and civil and marine engineering
  • Power and energy, with a particular emphasis on offshore oil and gas matters
  • Shipping and marine insurance
  • Bilateral investment treaties and foreign investment disputes
Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Defense

The maritime industry has never been more regulated and the industry is currently facing, and will face in the years ahead, the most complex safety and environmental regulatory changes in its history. These new, complex regulatory requirements present unprecedented risks for the industry.

In cases of alleged non-compliance, we routinely represent and advise clients at every stage of an investigation, from the initial boarding and inspection of a vessel, through any vessel detention, and, if the case is referred for criminal prosecution, during any subsequent grand jury investigation. When necessary, we forcefully and effectively litigate problems that cannot otherwise be resolved and have successfully defended a number of owners, operators, and crewmembers through trial in both criminal prosecutions and in civil fine and penalty cases.

Trade

We represent clients before the U.S. Congress, the European Commission, World Trade Organization, U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. International Trade Commission, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Departments of Commerce and Treasury, and various administrative and executive branch agencies and federal courts on matters related to regulation of trade, U.S. trade policy, allegations of illegal subsidies, and customs duties.

We also advise domestic and international maritime clients on compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), its international counterparts, and numerous other international trade and export control issues, as well as sanctions.

Recreational Boating

Consistent with our cross-practice capabilities, our maritime practice is complemented by our product liability and consumer litigation capabilities. This allows us to provide recreational boating clients with comprehensive representation on all matters they may encounter.

Examples include:

  • Injury, death, and property damage
  • Marine product liability and warranty issues
  • Operator negligence
  • Boat sale and documentation
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