The Pacific Northwest’s maritime industry is represented by Schwabe. 

Regionally Ranked Admiralty & Maritime Law

U.S. News Best Lawyers


You Know It’s Maritime!

The maritime industry is a driving force in the global economy and affects us all, wherever we live. Our podcast aims to raise awareness of the extraordinary people and amazing companies involved in this industry.

What our clients say

Schwabe skillfully helped us navigate a NOAA investigation and brought the right experts to the table to help us negotiate a resolution to a NRD matter based on law and science. We value our relationship and the contributions they make to our mission–to do and honor great industrial work in the maritime, complex infrastructure and defense project industries.

Dawn Cartwright, Vice President, Human Resources Services and Risk Management, Vigor Marine LLC.

“Schwabe’s maritime lawyers really know admiralty law and do an excellent job at being immediately ‎responsive to our needs.”‎

Tidewater Barge Lines


  • Represented maritime clients regarding highly contentious labor disputes with the longshoremen’s union, which have involved several administrative hearings, lawsuits, and appeals to both the Ninth Circuit and D.C. Circuit Courts of Appeals.
  • Represented maritime operators and a port in defeating an “Act of God” defense when multiple ships dragged anchor in a 50-year windstorm, damaging four Columbia River docks.
  • Responded to and favorably resolved shipboard fatality in the Columbia River on behalf of vessel owners and their P&I Club.
  • Favorably resolved longshore injury claim against Columbia River terminal operator on the eve of trial.
  • Negotiated and structured research charters between vessel operators and federal agencies.
  • Successfully resolved numerous claims by foreign seafarers under the Federal Arbitration Act and the International Convention of Arbitration Awards.
  • Obtained successful U.S. Build Determination authorizations on behalf of shipyard clients for numerous special projects.
  • Obtained vacatur of Rule B attachment of multiple containerships, including award of substantial costs to client.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of classification society against claims of breach of contract and negligence related to issuance of tonnage certificates.
  • Tried yacht construction breach of contract case to jury, prevailing on the client’s claims.
  • Served as lead defense counsel in marine pollution (MARPOL) criminal investigations, prosecutions and probation proceedings, and in implementing environmental compliance plans.
  • Served as lead trial counsel in federal and state court jury and bench trials involving personal injury, cargo claims, limitation of liability arising from embarrassment of navigation, insurance coverage and asset tracing, among others.
  • Successfully represented client in $80 million cargo damage claim involving a pure car carrier; prevailed at Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on novel forum selection clause issue.
  • Served as primary on-scene counsel for vessel interests in marine casualties, including groundings, dock damage, oil spills, vessel fires, serious injuries and deaths, collapsed cargo stow and various other vessel mishaps.
  • Successfully represented and resolved a disability discrimination and retaliation lawsuit on behalf of a Fortune 500 shipping company arising from an alleged mental health disability that created unique evidentiary challenges.
  • Obtained a temporary restraining order on behalf of a maritime client in a unique employee dishonesty matter.
  • Represented ship owners and their insurers in numerous marine casualties, including the total loss of a large commercial vessel and rigs, government investigations and casualty investigations.
  • Represented a barge owner in successfully defeating maritime and state lien claims following shipyard default.
  • Served as outside general counsel to one of the Pacific Northwest’s leading tankship operators.
  • Represented a non-U.S.-owned cement supplier in forming a Jones Act compliant barge company under the “Bowaters Amendment.”
  • Represented a tug company and its insurers in litigation following Washington State’s largest oil spill.
  • Obtained Coast Guard approval for foreign construction of non-integrated cargo tanks installed in U.S.-built barges while maintaining Jones Act compliance.
  • Represented a Pacific Northwest shipyard in contracting for construction and heavy lift transport from China of a new build 960-foot drydock.
  • Represented a Pacific Northwest shipyard in contracting for construction of a 540-foot ATB tank barge as well as multiple general cargo and tank barges.
  • Obtained a favorable summary judgment ruling on a maritime negligence counterclaim.
  • Successfully challenged an illegal transit tax imposed against passing ships by a Columbia River Port under the Tonnage Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Port was ordered to repeal its tax and return all collected funds.
  • Developed a long-term (25 years) container terminal lease, requiring extensive due diligence on environmental, labor, tax, and commercial contracting issues.

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