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Industries & Practices

Admiralty & Maritime

From the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, business interests in the Admiralty & Maritime industries influence economies on a local, national, and global level. Clark Hill’s attorneys in Admiralty & Maritime law span across these waters to deliver solutions for many of the world’s most active offshore companies.

Shipowners, operators, and charterers of freighters, tankers, tugs, barges, supply boats, offshore drilling rigs/vessels, offshore platforms, and vessels engaged in oceanographic/seismic research, and other oil field services are regularly represented by our attorneys.

Companies and individuals involved in brown water activities, such as offshore exploration, pipeline construction, commercial diving, supply boat services, and many other maritime energy activities, also engage our team.  We also address a variety of multinational blue water business concerns, including shipyards, manufacturers, sellers, purchasers, transporters, and insurers of waterborne products.

Marine Cargo Claims

Whether cargo is loaded or discharged from any common carrier vessel throughout the country, we handle any claims arising out of the carriage, custody, or control of the goods. Maritime clients consult with us to investigate cargo damage, rust or contamination claims, counsel on best shipment practices, adjust claims before litigation, and represent them in federal or state court to prosecute or defend any manner of cargo claims.

Collisions/Allisions

Numerous vessel, bridge, and land-based property owners have relied on our counsel in a wide variety of collision and allision causes of action. These cases have included initial investigations of such incidents, taking of witness statements, and interaction with governmental agencies. Such representation can also include discovery, litigation, negotiation, and settlement of the myriad of claims that may arise in collision and allision cases.

Salvage Claims 

Vessel owners and salvage companies work with us on the marine salvage of commercial and recreational vessels. These matters include the calculation of the salvor’s claim, the value of the salved vessel, the reasonableness of the salvage claim, the appropriateness of applying salvage principles to recreational vessels, and the prosecution and enforcement of maritime liens for salvage activity.

Personal Injury Actions 

Maritime personal injury actions are usually of two types, when an injured crew member files a claim, or when an employee acting as a Stevedore files a claim. Our attorneys are experienced in defending such claims in both state and federal courts and the Department of Labor.

Maritime Liens 

Maritime clients may require counseling as to the type of vessel subject to maritime liens, the imposition of such liens under federal law, or advice on the proper procedures for enforcement of such a lien. Other clients require the prosecution of in rem federal court actions for the enforcement or foreclosure of maritime liens. Such enforcement may include the issuance of a warrant of arrest for a vessel by the United States Marshal’s office. Thereafter, the firm will move expeditiously toward the establishment and perfection of proper security by the debtor and/or the payment of the outstanding maritime lien. Firm attorneys are available to successfully negotiate all aspects of the establishment and satisfaction of maritime liens.

Marine Financing

Many businesses and vessel owners receive counsel on the benefits and restrictions of vessel documentation under United States law. Eligibility and ownership citizenship requirements must be clear before the sale or purchase of either a commercial or recreational vessel. Representation is optimal for any vessel financing whether it includes a first preferred or another type of ship mortgage or other financing procedures. Our attorneys are well experienced in such commercial transactions and can provide a full range of representation in this regard.

Commercial Transactions

Shipping and related maritime activities constitute complicated business enterprises. While certainly admiralty and maritime issues abound in the operation of such an enterprise, general business, labor and employment, and other laws, rules and regulations also exist which govern or control the maritime client. Clients rely on our full array of capabilities in ancillary business issues that may arise for the admiralty or maritime client.