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Maritime & Offshore

The V&E Maritime & Offshore team includes lawyers representing every major sector of the maritime and offshore industries, with a particular focus on domestic and international marine and energy transactions involving LNG and the upstream, midstream, and downstream segments of the oil and gas industry. Our maritime lawyers include a former licensed mariner and tanker broker. The internationally recognized commercial and operational experience we bring to increasingly complex transactions is matched by our knowledge in regulatory, compliance and policy matters. Complemented with our team of admiralty litigators and dispute resolution attorneys, V&E’s Maritime & Offshore Practice is well-positioned to provide our clients a full range of legal services.

 Additional Information
We have world-wide experience in drafting and negotiating drilling contracts, master service agreements, and other offshore services contracts. V&E lawyers also have deep experience with complex joint operating agreements, offshore production and development agreements, and rig assignment and sharing contracts. In negotiating offshore contracts, our lawyers understand the market positions and perspectives of the operator and the contractor, as well as issues involving insurance, indemnity, and risk allocation.
We have extensive experience in drafting and negotiating voyage, time, and bareboat charters, as well as in drafting and negotiating client and trade specific clauses for industry standard charter forms. Our lawyers also draft and negotiate contracts of affreightment, contracts of carriage and bills of lading, towage contracts, and marine provisions and shipping terms for cargo sales, supply, and offtake agreements.
The Firm represents maritime and energy clients in various shipping finance transactions, including project financing and arranging credit facilities. Our lawyers have experience advising clients in lender relationships, and drafting and negotiating ship mortgages, leases, and other financing instruments for marine assets. V&E lawyers also assist in structuring transactions to accommodate various tax laws, and we regularly assist in registering and documenting vessels, and re-flagging vessels, under a variety of flags.
Our lawyers have experience in representing clients in transactions for the sale or purchase of nearly every type of vessel – from small passenger cruise ships to offshore rigs.
V&E’s lawyers draft and negotiate contracts for new vessel construction, ship repair, and substantial vessel modifications and retrofittings. We have also been engaged in drillship and FPSO/FSRU newbuild and conversion projects. Our maritime attorneys have experience in resolving disputes arising from construction projects, construction delays, and product/service warranties.
V&E’s maritime lawyers represent clients in environmental, regulatory, and maritime security matters before a variety of U.S. and international government agencies and authorities. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge of the legal and regulatory framework in which the maritime and offshore industries operate. We regularly assist clients in navigating issues arising under U.S. laws (including the “Jones Act,” OPA90, and MTSA) as well as under international maritime codes and conventions (including ISPS, MARPOL, and the international marine liability and compensation regimes). The Firm’s lawyers have also assisted clients with issues involving classification societies and other shipping industry trade groups.
V&E’s admiralty lawyers are experienced in litigating complex maritime and offshore commercial disputes, collisions, marine insurance coverage and indemnity issues, products liability claims, general average, cargo claims, and vessel seizure/arrest. We are also experienced in defending personal injury and wrongful death suits by marine and offshore workers. Our lawyers have handled maritime casualties around the world, and our capabilities in the investigation and handling of such incidents provides clients with needed information to effectively evaluate and prosecute or defend these claims.

Practice Highlights

Maritime & Offshore Transactions

  • Avista Capital Partners in its $150 million investment in a joint venture with SEACOR Tankers to operate and construct  Jones Act vessels
  • An Oil Major as lead counsel in connection with the long-term time charter of a U.S.-flag tanker to support production offtake of Eagle Ford Shale crude oil
  • A Fortune 500 midstream energy company in connection with the client’s crude oil supply and chartering program; included the negotiating and drafting of voyage and time charters, contracts of affreightment, sub-freight agreements, and the shipping terms of the client’s crude oil sales agreements, as well as the development of the company’s general terms and conditions for its marine terminals
  • An Oil Major as lead counsel in connection with the US$600 million financing, construction, and long-term time charter of a series of double-hulled “Jones Act” products tankers; includes the reorganization and restructuring of this significant marine finance and construction project, involving four lending banks and 11 different shipyards/vendors
  • A Multinational lender as maritime counsel in the US$500 million financing, construction, and charter of a semi-submersible drilling platform to be built in Abu Dhabi and operated offshore Brazil; included review of all related engineering, design, and construction contracts that were subject to lender approval
  • An International LNG project developer as lead counsel in the acquisition and conversion of a 72,000-ton LNG tanker to a floating storage and regasification unit; included drafting and negotiating the EPC contract for the conversion
  • A Lender group as lead maritime counsel in the US$100 million construction financing for a newbuild Baker Marine Pacific Class jack-up drilling rig
  • An Oil Major as lead maritime counsel in the design, construction, and acquisition of four, purpose-built tractor-tugs and the negotiation of related agreements for third-party towage and emergency marine services
  • Citibank, N.A., as agent, in a $1 billion secured revolving credit facility to Transocean Inc.
  • Pacific Drilling Services, Inc. in a $1 billion senior secured credit facility agreement with a group of lenders to finance the construction, operation and other costs associated with two dynamically-positioned deepwater drillships

Admiralty Litigation & Dispute Resolution

  • An Oil Major in a court-ordered mediation on claims for substantial losses arising from the cross-contamination of high-grade petrochemical cargoes and shoretank inventories, V&E lawyers obtained recovery for the client against the transporting vessel, receiving terminal, and cargo inspection service
  • An International steel conglomerate in which V&E admiralty litigators obtained judgment on partial findings at trial in a multi-million dollar cargo dispute involving competing interpretations of Incoterms and CISG obligations, and factual disputes related to the nature of the cargo loss

Key Contacts

+1.713.758.3694
jmichael@velaw.com

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