McGlinchey Stafford’s Maritime team represents clients in the shipping, banking, and energy industries, including vessel owners, rig owners, property owners, banks, private equity groups, maritime suppliers, oil and gas companies, underwriters, drilling contractors, government contractors, and brokers.
We assist clients through all stages of formation, capitalization, regulatory compliance, operational issues, restructuring and workouts, bankruptcy proceedings, litigation, and arbitration. The firm represented one of Louisiana’s largest shipyards for decades, assisting with all legal facets of its operations, including in connection with the negotiation and documentation of shipbuilding contracts, debt facilities, acquisitions of other shipyards, corporate and debt restructurings, construction disputes and litigation, construction bond issues and disputes, and the disposition of the shipyard in January 2016.
Our comprehensive experience includes:
- Charter drafting and disputes
- Death on the High Seas Act (DOHSA)
- Defense of personal injury, toxic torts, and death claims
- Financing vessels and rigs
- Jones Act
- Limitation of Liability Act
- Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act
- Marine fuel contamination
- Maritime arbitrations
- Maritime collisions and allisions
- Maritime liens
- Negligent towage
- Offshore drilling activities
- Oil, gas, and energy disputes
- Oilfield Indemnity Acts – Louisiana and Texas
- Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
- Products liability
- Property damage
- Vessel and rig construction
- Vessel seizures
More than 95% of the world’s commerce moves by water. We are uniquely equipped to handle matters that involve some of the largest ports in the United States, with offices in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Birmingham, Alabama; Cleveland, Ohio; Houston, Texas; and New Orleans, Louisiana. We are optimally situated to represent a diverse number of shipping clients who transport goods through the Gulf of Mexico and along the Mississippi River, and our attorneys have an extensive history of advising clients such as tug and barge owners, dock owners, traders, brokers, and others who depend on these ports, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Mississippi River.
Marine Contracts, Agreements, and Finance
Our Maritime team frequently represents vessel owners and owners of drilling rigs (jack ups, floaters, barge rigs, and drilling vessels), lenders, and shipyards with drafting vessel construction contracts. On behalf of our clients, our attorneys negotiate and draft purchase agreements and charters, and assist with registration of ships, rigs, supply vessels, and yachts worldwide. We also assist with financing these transactions at the request of owners, banks, and private equity investors. Our team regularly works with the Export-Import Bank of the United States and the Maritime Administration of the United States (MARAD) in connection with their loan guarantee programs. We regularly represent banks and tug and barge companies that work the Mississippi River relating to fleet financing, operational agreements, and other contractual matters.
We have served as maritime counsel for banks in connection with multimillion-dollar revolving credit and term loan facilities secured by marine assets such as tug and barge fleets, supply boats, and drilling rigs, as well as the restructuring of these loan facilities.
Regulatory Guidance and Insurance
Our Maritime attorneys are seasoned in working with the United States Coast Guard and numerous foreign registries such as the Marshall Islands and Panama to record ship mortgages, bills of sale, and other instruments. We assist with obtaining certificates of financial responsibility and other safety/environmental related certificates. We have also obtained special permissions from MARAD needed to sell certain vessels. We work with United States Customs and Border Protection in determining whether a vessel is eligible to operate in coastwise trade.
For our banking clients engaged in the maritime industry, we work proactively to help ensure their loans are secured and assets are appropriately protected. We provide counsel relating to vessel insurance requirements and are familiar with industry standards for insurance requirements.
In marine insurance coverage disputes, our attorneys have significant experience counseling American underwriters and brokers and drafting insurance coverage opinions. They represent American underwriters and brokers in marine coverage disputes, as well as shipbuilders and marine equipment vendors in negotiating and drafting vessel construction and repair contracts.
Litigation and Arbitration
We also provide advice and counsel in litigation and arbitration relating to the ownership and use of maritime assets, maritime lien disputes, and ship mortgages. We have represented vessel and rig owners in maritime and oil and gas disputes, including several cases leading to important decisions in these fields by the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Our Maritime attorneys have substantial experience representing owners and claimants alike in litigation involving cargo claims, breach of charter agreements, maritime products liability, the Jones Act, DOHSA, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, collisions and allisions, personal injury, vessel sale contracts, vessel financing, ship construction, limitation proceedings, vessel arrests, and various maritime lien enforcement issues and disputes.
Restructuring and Protection of Lender’s Security and Collateral
With the recent slowdown and subsequent bankruptcies of energy industry companies with maritime interests and assets, our Creditors’ Rights, Financial Restructuring, and Bankruptcy team is being called upon when clients need assistance with workouts and restructuring. Our lender clients value our experience in the restructuring and documentation of asset-based loans, letter of credit financing, credit facilities, and commercial loans in the marine industry. We also assist lenders in analyzing the prospects of foreclosing on various maritime-related assets, such as offshore supply vessels and lift boats. The boats, barges, and vessels that serve as collateral are extremely specialized; the value of marine equipment is particularly susceptible to market volatility as well as being subject to specialized maintenance, insurance, and storage concerns. Our attorneys understand the nuances of providing counsel to lenders in this specialty area.