Maritime shipping accounts for more than 90% of imports and exports in the US and the UK, and remains the most important means of moving goods around the globe. Passenger vessels also represent a thriving and growing component of the sector. And, all vessels depart from and arrive at ports, which are themselves a critical part of the global transport infrastructure, handling domestic and international trade and directly employing hundreds of thousands of people.

Our team balances deep legal and regulatory knowledge of the maritime industry with an acute awareness of the business issues that affect your ability to compete successfully.

To address maritime incidents, we are on call around the clock and calendar to provide immediate response to, and investigation of, all manner of maritime and other transportation casualties. We regularly work with the International Group of Protection & Indemnity Clubs, Hull and Machinery underwriters, and other domestic and international marine insurers.

We dive deep to provide solutions that are in alignment with your business objectives, executive team and operating style.

Because maritime commerce propels vast components of the global economy, our Admiralty and Ports team maintains close working relationships with lawyers in other global-economy sectors, such as Manufacturing, Energy & Natural Resources and Retail & Consumer Goods. Our team also is our clients’ portal to lawyers in related service areas ranging from employment to securities, equipment finance, creditor rights, cybersecurity, real estate and more.   

We offer an insatiable curiosity about, and preparation for, the future course of the industry. Together, you and we will navigate emerging legal and compliance developments such as Post-Panamax, multinational trade competition, the expansion of environmental regulations, the potential of autonomous shipping, and the arrival of big data and cyber challenges, to name a few. 

Browse our Admiralty and Ports lawyers and professional staff

What we do

Our industry-focused maritime team has broad industry knowledge, comprehensive resources, and decades of experience advising clients across virtually all aspects of admiralty and maritime law in the UK, US and beyond. We serve shippers and carriers across all maritime asset classes from general cargo ships, product tankers, container ships, bulk carriers, and pure car/truck carriers, to cruise lines, to towing companies, to private owners and manufacturers of yachts and other large seagoing vessels. In our recreational boating division, we act for many major boat builders, personal watercraft makers, and engine and accessory manufacturers, as well as insurers, marinas, boatyards, yacht management companies, and operators.

Our services include around-the-clock emergency response and investigation of casualties involving personal injury and death, pollution incidents, collisions, groundings, machinery failure, dock damage, and cargo loss, as well as to provide immediate response in defending MARPOL criminal matters. We help maritime companies navigate complex commercial litigation and dispute resolution; draft and negotiate intermodal transportation contracts and supply chain agreements; resolve charter party disputes; handle vessel arrest actions; counsel on environmental and other regulatory compliance; and defend enforcement actions, grand jury investigations and criminal charges.

On the transactional front, we advise maritime companies on the structuring of ship sales and purchases, vessel mortgages and other marine finance transactions, including the preparation and recording of bills of sale, preferred ship mortgages, and other finance documentation.

In acting for port owners, operators of ports and port facilities, port users and funders, we’ve developed a deep understanding of what our clients need. We regularly advise in areas such as planning, regulatory issues, marine real estate, competition, insurance, port developments and health and safety incidents.

Examples of work

  • As a correspondent for the International Group of P&I Clubs, provided onshore and offshore incident response for the world's major ship owners, including general cargo ships, product tankers, container ships, bulk carriers, and pure car/truck carriers, and investigated and litigated all manner of incidents ranging from fire to personal injury and death, cargo damage, collision, grounding, and criminal activity
  • Supported the acquisition of portside real estate for major multinational towing companies
  • Advised a multinational dredge and dock operator on its project to bring the Charleston, SC port in alignment with Post-Panamax 24-hour turnaround requirements
  • For one of the world’s largest cruise lines, provided incident response and defended litigation related to the seaborne death of a passenger
  • Defended major cruise line against homeowner association’s efforts to prevent construction of new passenger terminal, prevailing in state Supreme Court
  • Represented manufacturers of yachts in product-claim disputes and litigated numerous claims arising from recreational boating, watersports business, and personal watercraft accidents
  • Advised freight forwarders and other logistics providers in evaluating liabilities in the event of losses in transit, and resolved logistics-related business disputes
  • Defended dredging company in permitting disputes, enforcement actions for alleged permit violations, and claims for breach of contract
  • Represented a multinational money center bank, the agent and lender in a $50 million senior secured facility related to a fleet of dredging vessels operated in Middle East and Northern Africa. The transaction was syndicated to group of US-based lenders
  • Represented BMO and Fifth Third Bank, through their private banks, on several yacht transactions for high net worth individuals, each transaction having a value between $2.5 and $8 million
  • Represented PNC, as lender and agent, on a senior secured lending facility for fleet of barges operated in US Gulf Coast with total value of between $85 and 100 million. Transaction was syndicated in the capital markets to two other participants
  • Represented Flagstar Bank and the finance division of a super-regional US bank as co-lenders and agents on an $85 million financing of a double-hull, articulated tug-barge operated in the Great Lakes with foreign corporate and personal guarantees
  • Represented a major money center bank on the sale of four blue water tankers during past 18 months. Each vessel has a value of approximately $30 million
  • Represented Fifth Third on a construction loan and the permanent financing of several tug-barges operated along the Mississippi River, each with a value of approximately $10 million
  • We have completed equipment finance and leasing deals in the aggregate of over 5 billion dollars, with individual transactions ranging from $750,000 to $350 million. Many of these transactions helped to finance transportation assets such as aircraft (corporate and commercial) and rail equipment, as well as locomotives and vessels (barges and tankers)
  • We handle casualty and litigation matters arising in ports throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. We have an on-call Emergency Response Team available 24/7 to respond to and investigate casualties and incidents of all types, including collisions, shipboard and dockside personal injuries, cargo damage, pollution and HAZMAT discharges, alleged safety violations, expanded Port State Control inspections, and other shipboard emergencies