The Pacific Northwest’s maritime industry is represented by Schwabe.
Schwabe advises maritime businesses including ships, shipyards, shippers fish boats, and fleets.
Proudly supporting a vital industry
Schwabe lawyers believe deeply in the maritime industry as the essential foundation for global trade and regional growth. While we are trial and transactional lawyers we are, first and foremost, dedicated maritime lawyers. Like our clients, we’re drawn to maritime work because we know the industry and the unique legal challenges and opportunities it presents. We wouldn’t want it any other way.
Companies that move our economy forward call on Schwabe
Our clients are engaged in every sector of the maritime industry, from vessel construction to operation. We work with:
- Members of the maritime industry including vessel and tug and barge owners and operators, fishing companies, shipyards, ports and terminals, cruise lines, boaters and fishermen, and stevedore companies
- Protection and indemnity clubs and domestic maritime insurers
- Businesses that rely on ships, shipping, and shipyards to get their goods or services to market
Maritime industry insiders
Schwabe lawyers help clients see what’s on the horizon and possible opportunities in the years ahead. We maintain personal relationships with industry leaders and work closely with regional and national maritime organizations. As a result, we can tell our clients which way the tide is turning in order to prepare in advance for new business and regulatory trends. Our comprehensive maritime work touches all aspects of the industry, including:
- Jones Act/personal injury claims
- Collision, cargo loss, salvage, and marine insurance claims
- Shipping and vessel-related transactions
- Finance and liens
- Employment advice and litigation
- Real estate and leasing
- Purchase and sale of businesses
- Contract drafting and review
- Regulatory and environmental compliance
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 effects 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.
“Schwabe’s maritime lawyers really know admiralty law and do an excellent job at being immediately responsive to our needs.”
- 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’ drydock.
- Represented a Pacific Northwest shipyard in contracting for construction of a 540’ 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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