With over 2,000 lawyers in offices across five continents, K&L Gates is among the few large global law firms with a far-reaching maritime practice. We bring our deep knowledge of the industry, cross-practice capabilities, and international presence to all aspects of the maritime industry.
K&L Gates offers the U.S. and international maritime industry comprehensive legal, transactional, legislative, and regulatory capabilities. Our combined knowledge and experience are valuable assets for any business or association in the maritime industry. Our global presence allows us to offer our services wherever our clients’ needs may arise. The breadth of our experience is reflected in the geographic span of our work and in our understanding of the maritime industry as a business. We help our clients manage risk and achieve their goals.
Our maritime practice dates back more than four decades. Today, the group represents all major sectors of the maritime industry—vessel owners, operators, managers, underwriters, shippers, terminal operators, liquid and dry bulk, liquefied natural gas, container, roll-on/roll-off, passenger and/or cruise, and specialized vessels, such as offshore drilling units, power-generating barges, tugs, mobile offshore drilling units, offshore supply vessels, dredging, dive support, pipe and cable laying, fishing, and recreational boats. Our maritime clients include vessel owners and operators, underwriters, ports, marinas, energy companies, shore facilities, shipyards, investment and financing entities, industry groups and associations, as well as shippers, commodities traders, and others with maritime-related needs.
Through our work for clients, we are actively involved in all aspects of maritime-related matters, including traditional maritime issues such as collisions, groundings, charter party disputes, cargo damage, hull and machinery, product liability, and personal injury, as well as commercial litigation; criminal defense; environmental compliance; ship sale and purchase; shipbuilding, repair, conversion, and construction matters; and U.S. legislation and rulemaking. Our maritime group is especially skilled at handling complex international maritime arbitrations, mediations, adjudications, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. We also regularly represent clients before congressional committees, the Maritime Administration (MARAD), the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), the Coast Guard (USCG), the Department of Defense (DOD), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and other executive branch agencies in the United States and abroad.
Our lawyers are also well-recognized as leaders in the field of maritime environmental issues, including defending ship owners, operators, managers, charterers, and crewmembers in matters involving civil fines and penalties and/or criminal prosecution of environmental regulations, such as International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA), and the Clean Water Act (CWA). Our lawyers have been involved in most major oil spills in the United States over the last 25 years, and are practiced in dealing with governmental authorities, clean-up efforts and issues, third-party claims arising out of spills, civil and criminal defense of clients, federal and state trustees, National Resource Damage Assessments and resolution of claims, and the filing and successful handling of claims with the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
Our attorneys also advise regarding vessel construction contracts, credit agreements, secured vessel financing, project financing, leveraged lease transactions, international structured financial transactions, and public financing of maritime projects. 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.
Additionally, the scope of our services and capabilities enables the maritime group to seamlessly assist clients with most, if not all, of their legal service needs, such as insurance coverage issues, labor and employment matters, real estate transactions, construction law, and international transactions of every form. K&L Gates’ maritime practice takes a variety of forms to suit the requirements and goals of our global clients. Our cross-practice work involves all issues faced by maritime interests, including: