Blank Rome Llp News

18 Feb 2020

Anatomy of a Marine Casualty Investigation

MV Argo Merchant was a Liberian-flagged oil tanker that ran aground and sank southeast of Nantucket Island, Mass., on Dec. 15, 1976, causing one of the largest marine oil spills in history. U.S. Coast Guard Archives

Blank Rome’s maritime attorneys have represented clients in some of the largest maritime casualties in the last 20 years, including the Staten Island Ferry allision with a maintenance pier in New York, the blow out and eventual loss of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the sinking of the El Faro during Hurricane Joaquin, and the collision between the Navy Destroyer USS John S. McCain and the tanker ALNIC MC in the Singapore Strait. These casualties have resulted in the catastrophic loss of life…

09 Dec 2019

Maritime Schools Must Prep for Offshore Wind Jobs

Gabriele Rohde/Adobe Stock

The offshore wind industry in the United States is growing exponentially, with multiple projects in the development stages off of the Atlantic coast. The total megawatt capacity of U.S. offshore wind farms is anticipated to reach 22,000 by 2030 and 43,000 by 2050. To support this growth, U.S. Department of Energy reports estimate over 40,000 new jobs will be created by 2030.The new jobs anticipated to support the offshore wind industry include a wide range of types, including engineers, trade workers, surveyors, scientists, technicians, managers, and seafarers.

10 Oct 2019

Autonomous Ships, Opportunities & Challenges

Image: DNV GL

Maritime autonomous surface ship (“MASS”) technology continues to advance at a rapid pace around the globe. Although it’s not being embraced as quickly in the United States commercial market as other parts of the world, U.S. industry professionals and regulators look forward to continued development and implementation as a means to improve efficiency and safety.OpportunitiesThe U.S. Maritime Administration (“MARAD”) hosted “Achieving Critical MASS: Spotlight on the U.S. Vessel Automation Industry” July 22 and 23, 2019, encouraging discussion between U.S.

16 Jul 2019

Atlantic Offshore Wind: Favorable Winds for Maritime

© 3plusx/Adobe Stock

Now that the United States finally can envision steady winds blowing from the Atlantic Seaboard due to a pipeline of offshore wind farms on the horizon, the maritime industry can finally step up and earn some of the benefits. This includes shipbuilding, port construction, and worker training. This article reviews the key developments and forecasts the growth in maritime jobs.The federal and state governments share responsibility for developing offshore wind farms and bringing the wind into the power grid and…

02 Jul 2018

Harvey Gulf Emerges From Chapter 11 Proceedings

Shane Guidry, Harvey Gulf’s Chairman and CEO

Harvey Gulf International Marine announced that it has completed its financial restructuring and emerged from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceedings. This marks the completion of the Plan of Reorganization approved by the bankruptcy court, 77 days following Harvey Gulf’s prepackaged filing. Under the reorganization, Harvey Gulf has shed approximately $1 Billion in debt and emerges with a dramatically de-leveraged balance sheet. Additionally, the Company has kept its commitments to its trade vendors, paying all unsecured claims in full.

26 Jun 2018

HCAC to Aquire NRC, Sprint Energy from JFLCO

Glen Shore, Director of NRC Group and a Managing Director at JFLCO (Photo:JFLCO)

J.F. Lehman & Company (JFLCO), a middle-market private equity firm said that its investment affiliate JFL-NRC-SES Partners, LLC  signed an agreement to sell its membership interests in NRC Group Holdings, LLC (NRC Group), formed earlier this year with the combination of JFLCO companies National Response Corporation (NRC) and Sprint Energy Services (Sprint) , to Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp. III (HCAC). After the transaction is completed, NRC Group will be a wholly-owned direct subsidiary of HCAC, who will change its name to NRC Group Holdings Corp. NRC Group Holdings Corp.

16 Dec 2016

Could Offshore Crewing Requirements Make Things Worse?

(Photo: Joaquin Andres Bosqued)

It has been years (2009) since I last wrote an article discussing the availability of U.S. citizens to work offshore in support of oil and gas projects during a downturn in the economy. And now, it is even worse. With the price of oil and gas remaining depressed for many months now, and the many new developments related to drilling ashore, and domestic vessels remaining stacked in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), companies are working hard to find work in any market around the world. This downturn in activity also means less jobs for U.S. citizen seafarers.

08 Nov 2016

The US Election: Ramifications for Maritime

Clinton vs. Trump. Perhaps one of the most important presidential elections in U.S. history, the 2016 Election Day results with have impacts felt far and wide – and all throughout maritime industry. A proverb common to both Greek and Turkish cultures states that a wolf may change its fur, but does not change its nature (Ο λύκος την τρίχα αλλάζει, το χούι δεν τ`αλλάζει /Kurt tüyünü değiştirir, huyunu değiştirmez). In English, we might render this “a leopard cannot change its spots.” If we are to believe the proverb…

02 Nov 2016

South China Sea Arbitration: Implications for Maritime and O&G

(Credit: Blank Rome LLC)

A recent decision by an international tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, has significant implications for other maritime disputes, freedom of navigation, and future oil and gas claims in the Arctic. The arbitral award issued on July 12, 2016, by a unanimous five-member panel or Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the dispute between the Philippines and China over rocks and elevations in the South China Sea, sounded a clarion call for the rule of law and the clearly defined…

24 Nov 2015

When Conducting Investigations Consider 'Privileges'

Jeffrey S. Moller

Whether voluntarily or as required by the International Safety Management Code, the American Waterways Operators’ (AWO) Responsible Carrier Program, or some other rule or regulation, investigations of accidents and near-miss situations are routinely conducted by companies in the maritime industry. This is due to the widespread recognition that careful examination of the root causes of such incidents can help to prevent future occurrences. Faulty procedures, defective equipment, and inadequate training can all be identified in the investigation exercise.

10 Mar 2015

Huffman Joins Blank Rome in Houston

Jay T. Huffman (Photo: Blank Rome)

Blank Rome LLP announced that Jay T. Huffman has joined the Firm as an associate in the Maritime, International Trade, and Public Contracts group. He is based in the Firm’s Houston office. Huffman joins Blank Rome from Royston, Rayzor, Vickery & Williams, L.L.P. He concentrates his practice in maritime and energy-related litigation matters, including state and federal cases involving MARPOL violations, collisions, cargo contamination, Jones Act, OCSLA, and LHWCA defense. He also has experience handling serious marine incident investigations…

14 Jan 2015

NY Shipping Conference Speakers Announced

Conference organizers have announced the speaker lineup for the 21st annual Hellenic-American and Norwegian-American Chambers of Commerce conference, often called the New York Shipping Conference. Entitled “The Life of a Ship”, the conference will feature luminaries including Steinar Nerbovik of Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, Ben Ognibene of Heidmar, Craig Stevenson Jr., Joseph Hughes of Shipowners Claims Bureau, Paal Johansen of DNV GL, and Angela Chao of Foremost Group . The event will be held on Wednesday, February 11 at the Waldorf-Astoria starting at 8:15 a.m. with conference registration and continental breakfast sponsored by DNB Bank ASA. The luncheon keynote speaker will be Sturla Henriksen, CEO of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, organizers said.

05 Jan 2015

As Interest in LNG Surges, Regulators Struggle to Keep Pace

Joan M. Bondareff

The use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) as a transportation fuel for ships, barges and ferries has surged in recent months. This surge is due, in large part, to the boon in the production of natural gas in the U.S.; new low sulfur rules for the North American Emission Control Area (ECA), which go into effect on January 1, 2015; and new technologies for the construction of engines capable of running on LNG. Regulatory regimes both in the U.S. and worldwide are struggling to keep pace with the tremendous growth of LNG as a fuel.

07 Aug 2014

USJ-IMECO Acquires Joiner Systems

Affiliates of USJ-IMECO Holding Company, LLC , a portfolio company of J.F. Lehman & Company (JFLCO), today announced the acquisition of Joiner Systems, Inc. Joiner Systems, headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, primarily designs, engineers and manufactures accommodation systems for commercial and government ships. USJ-IMECO is an independent provider of turnkey marine joiner, distributed systems and electro-mechanical solutions for government and commercial customers involved in new ship construction and vessel maintenance, repair and overhaul. Headquartered in Crozet, Va. and Iron Mountain, Mich., the company employs approximately 700 people across the United States. USJ and IMECO were acquired by J.F.

10 Jun 2014

Aker Philadelphia Shipyard forms Philly Tankers

Kristian Rokke, Chairman of AKPS

Aker Philadelphia Shipyard and financial sponsors, including American Shipping Company and funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, create pure play Jones Act shipping company, Philly Tankers. Aker Philadelphia Shipyard ASA (OSE: AKPS) is pleased to announce the planned establishment of Philly Tankers AS, a Norwegian limited liability company, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Philly Tankers LLC, a Delaware limited liability company (together “Philly Tankers”). Philly Tankers…

27 May 2014

Lindsay Malen to Speak at Posidonia 2014

Lindsay Malen, Director of Business Development at TITAN Salvage and the Marine Response Alliance (MRA)

Lindsay Malen, Director of Business Development, Marine Response Alliance/TITAN Salvage, will speak on the topic “Salvors:  Partners in OPA90 Compliance & More” at the North American Marine Environment Protection Association’s (NAMEPA’s)  “Compliance, Cost and Competency in America” seminar being held at the 2014 Posidonia conference in Athens, Greece on Thursday, June 5, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. “Compliance, Cost and Competency in America” will examine the environmental challenges facing today’s shipping industry. Highlights include: regulatory challenges in the U.S.

15 May 2014

To Litigate, or Arbitrate? That is the Question

More than once, I have been asked to resolve a dispute in which my client was surprised to learn either that it could not force the other side into arbitration, or that arbitration was very different from its expectations. Many companies devote hours (if not weeks and months) to negotiating what they consider to be the “substantive” terms of a contract, yet they pay little attention to the dispute resolution clause often included among boilerplate terms at the end. This is a risky practice, for rights that are carefully bargained for may effectively be lost if the “right” dispute resolution procedure is not negotiated at the outset. When it comes to dispute resolution clauses, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

06 May 2014

Avista & SEACOR Tankers in Jones Act Shipping J/V

NASSCO shipyard sunrise: Credit NASSCO/Ken Wright.

Private equity firm Avista Capital Partners informs it has invested in a newly-formed joint venture (J/V) with SEACOR Tankers Inc., a subsidiary of SEACOR Holdings Inc. that operates a fleet of 7 U.S.-flag Jones Act vessels (5 owned and 2 chartered-in) in the U.S. coastwise trade transporting crude oil, petroleum and specialty chemical products. Under the terms of the joint venture, ACP III Tankers LLC, a wholly owned entity of Avista, will fund a portion of the equity required for the design and construction of three 50…

07 Jan 2014

New York Shipping Conference Adds Speakers

Blaine Collins

Examining areas of change and growth in shipping is the focus of the 20th annual Hellenic-American and Norwegian-American Chambers of Commerce conference, often called the New York Shipping Conference. Entitled “Today’s Vision- Tomorrow’s Reality”, the conference will present a Macro Shipping and Economic Overview, a look at Shipping 2020, the challenges of balancing safety, regulatory compliance and costs, the current outlook and sources of dry bulk demand and supply, sourcing ship finance, and the commercial impacts of decisions regarding trade routes, chartering and futures.

21 Oct 2013

WISTA USA Leadership Changes

Alexandra Anagnostis

At the recent global Women's International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) annual meeting and conference held in Montreal, Jeanne Grasso, a partner at Blank Rome LLP, was elected to the Executive Committee of WISTA International. Jeanne has been the President of WISTA USA for the past five years, during which time its membership has increased by nearly 30% to become the largest in the global Association. In addition to activities within each of the eight regional Chapters…

26 Aug 2013

SHIPPINGInsight 2013 Announces Agenda and Speaker List

The SHIPPINGInsight conference producers have finalized the agenda and confirmed speaker list for the 2013 Fleet Optimization Conference, scheduled for Oct. 22-24 at the Sheraton Stamford Hotel in Stamford, Conn. “The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Connect and Engage,’” said conference co-producer Frank Soccoli. “We are bringing together an impressive lineup of speakers, moderators, panelists, sponsors, exhibitors and delegates representing all segments of the shipping industry. New for 2013 is an extra LNG Workshop, which will take the form of a roundtable discussion of experts to consider the barriers, challenges, solutions and best practices for achieving widespread adoption of LNG as a marine fuel. The workshop is free for all registered delegates.

02 Aug 2013

Houston Law Firm Joined by Eight Attorneys

The addition of all 8 attorneys from Bell, Ryniker & Letourneau 
strengthens Houston presence for largest U.S. maritime legal practice Blank Rome LLP. This group of attorneys and additional professional staff bring significant experience in maritime and energy law, in addition to the areas of insurance, transportation, government contracts and construction. Michael K. Bell, Keith B. Letourneau, and Douglas J. Shoemaker join as partners; Robert J. Ryniker, and James C. Arnold join as of counsels; and Mitchell R. Machann, Tracy Freeman, and David G. Meyer join as associates. “We are delighted to welcome Michael, Keith, Douglas and all of our new colleagues to our Houston office and to the Blank Rome team,” said Alan J. Hoffman, Co-Chairman and Managing Partner.

09 May 2013

Ship Finance Lawyer Joins Fulbright

Brian Devine: Photo credit Fulbright

A finance lawyer with a focus in the transportation industry, Brian P. Devine, joins the New York office of Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P as partner. “Brian’s experience in shipping will increase the capabilities of our maritime practice,” said Thomas W. Hughes, the Chair of Fulbright’s Business Group. Devine advises clients nationally and internationally in finance and security arrangements; insolvency matters; mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; debt and equity offerings; sale and purchase; commercial transactions and disputes; and corporate governance and structure.

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