Transport: shipping - finance in United States

Blank Rome LLP

Ship finance is a core part of Blank Rome LLP‘s US maritime practice. Run from the firm’s Washington DC, New York and Houston offices, the team’s broad maritime client base including shipyards, owners, operators, cargo interests, lenders and investors. Notable expertise includes secured ship financing and vessel leasing transactions, with a particular focus on structuring ship finance deals involving foreign investment in Jones Act trade. The practice also houses specialists in ship financings that are registered under the laws of Liberia and the Marshall Islands, and regularly represents debtors and creditors in maritime restructuring and bankruptcy matters. In recent highlights, the team advised Signature Bank on its advance of a $46m loan to New York Cruise Lines. The firm’s lead ship finance partner, Washington DC-based Anthony Salgado, is a widely respected authority on Jones Act citizenship issues and related laws, as well as their impact on ship financings. Also in DC, associate Natalie Radabaugh, whose career includes working with the US Navy, the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Transportation Security Administration, focuses her practice on maritime transactions and ship finance.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Salgado

Other key lawyers:

Natalie Radabaugh

Key clients

American Shipping Company

Blackstone Group

Dominion Energy

JMB Shipping

JPMorgan Chase

Lindblad Expeditions

Murray Energy

Philly Shipyard

PNC Equipment Finance

Signature Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised JMB Shipping on the $115m acquisition of 29 vessels from Bouchard Transportation Co.
  • Advised Signature Bank on its advance of a $46m loan to New York Cruise Lines.
  • Advised American Shipping Company on a number of bond issues.

Cozen O'Connor

Cozen O’Connor has a strong reputation for their representation of vessel owners and operators, as well as financial institutions and investors, in ship financings. The team handles asset-based loans, leasing transactions and government-guaranteed credit facilities, and also advises publicly listed shipping companies on the listing of publicly traded securities and privately-placed debt instruments. Also of note, the practice assists with maritime bankruptcies and US flag shipping matters. Jeffrey Lawrence chairs the ‘very strong‘ transportation and trade practice, which includes New York-based Geoffrey Ferrer, whose practice includes ship finance and equipment leasing. The ‘very thorough, knowledgeable and solutions-oriented‘ Ferrer also routinely advises on US, Marshall Islands, Bahamian, Liberian and Vanuatu maritime and corporate law. Also highly rated is of counsel Anne Mickey, who regularly advises on the citizenship and cabotage requirements surrounding transactions involving US flag vessels. The second line of key partners includes Joshua Stein, who represents shipowners and other entities on financing-related issues; and Jeff Vogel, whose track record includes advising shipowners on the financing of luxury yachts, and commercial, passenger and fishing vessels. All attorneys listed are based in the Washington DC office, unless otherwise stated.

Other key lawyers:

Anne Mickey; Joshua Stein; Jeff Vogel

Testimonials

The firm is very strong on matters of Liberian and Marshall Islands law.

Efficient and accurate advice from personable lawyers.

It compares favourably to other firms because it combines many different qualities that I feel make a firm/team great.

Our longstanding relationship with Cozen translates into a deep understanding of our business; and as a result, we receive prompt, quality and practical advice from the Cozen team.

Geofrey Ferrer – we are very happy with him and will surely work with him again in the future. He is very thorough, knowledgeable and solutions oriented.

Geoffrey Ferrer is an efficient, accurate and polite lawyer, and he has solid knowledge of the law and practice areas in which he is involved. All these qualities are important to me.

Key clients

Safe Bulkers

Höegh Autoliners

Shelf Drilling Holdings

GasLog Partners

Costamare

Costamare Participations

Danaos Corporation

TOTE Services

Navios Maritime Holdings

Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation

Norwegian Car Carriers AS

NOCC Shipowning AS

Easterly Fleet Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advised Shelf Drilling on matters of Vanuatu, Liberian and Marshall Islands law, which concerned the replacement of a credit facility.
  • Advised Costamare (as guarantor) on Costamare Participation’s €100m five-year bond loan.
  • Representing TOTE Services in its role as the prime contractor/vessel construction manager for the Maritime Administration’s National Security Multi-Mission Vessel program.

Jones Walker LLP

Jones Walker LLP‘s wide-ranging transactional practice represents a vast array of public and private companies in financings for both domestic and international transactions. It routinely handles large-value financing and refinancing deals for maritime clients from every sector of the industry, from blue water to offshore and inland marine. The practice’s recent experience includes assisting with marine restructurings, acting for both debtors and lenders on debtor-in-possession and exit financings, rights offerings, and debt-for-equity swaps. Heading up the firm’s maritime transactions team, William Baldwin has over a decade’s experience in representing borrowers, lenders and agents in marine finance deals, also handling leveraged lease financing deals involving marine assets. Also integral to the department are Kelly Duncan, who has longstanding experience in admiralty, maritime, and international and customs law matters; Washington DC-based James Kearns, an expert in the financing of vessels engaged in foreign and coastwise trade; and Houston’s Cindy Matherne Muller, whose broad practice includes maritime transactional work. At associate level, Christopher Ulfers‘ expertise includes representing borrowers and lenders in marine financings. All attorneys listed are based in the firm’s New Orleans office, save where otherwise mentioned.

Practice head(s):

William Baldwin

Key clients

JP Morgan

Diamond Offshore Drilling

Pacific Drilling

Watson Farley & Williams (New York) LLP

With ‘deep expertise on a global basis‘, Watson Farley & Williams (New York) LLP handles the full gamut of shipping finance work, including capital markets aspects, as well as restructurings. The team routinely assists with New York and US federal law matters, along with Marshall Islands, Liberian and Vanuatu maritime law issues. ‘On par with the most knowledgeable legal minds in shipping finance‘, Daniel Rodgers‘ practice covers asset-based lending and project structured finance, lease financings, and US capital markets transactions. International transactions specialist Steven Hollander advises a range of clients including corporates, sponsors and acquirers, to targets and private equity firms. Also integral to the group are Christopher Belisle, who advises on asset-based loan facilities for ships; the ‘extremely pragmaticJohn Benson, who is admitted to practice law in both New York and the Republic of the Marshall Islands; and Will Vogel, who represents maritime sector-related public companies in their US securities matters. Primarily acting for banks, financial institutions and private equity funds on cross-border, asset-backed financings, counsel C J Chido also focuses his practice on the maritime sector. All named attorneys are based in the firm’s New York office unless otherwise mentioned.

Testimonials

Deep expertise on a global basis, with strong coordination across the firm to deliver optimal advice to clients.

Commercial mindset to help clients develop complete solutions and not merely legal feedback.

Leverages its network in the industry to be a thought leader and supporter of industry players.

Shipping and maritime law, particularly with respect to the US Jones Act, is a niche specialty that requires specialized knowledge only gained over many years of experience and successful transactions. WF&W has this expertise, as well as international maritime law experience – they are well known experts in this field.

Leading expertise and experience within shipping and capital markets transactions across a range of jurisdictions and across the capital structure (both debt and equity products).

Daniel Rodgers is an excellent and knowledgeable attorney, and his personality and work ethic are well suited to our legal needs and our transactions generally. He is practical in spotting issues and understanding what is important to us. Daniel is on par with the most knowledgeable legal minds in shipping finance, and he is an asset to our growing investment strategy.

Steven Hollander delivers on time and budget and with high availability – a strong project manager who ensures attention to all aspects of the transaction.

John Benson coordinates across the firm to meet clients’ needs, is extremely pragmatic, and has a commercial mindset. Clients appreciate this.

Key clients

Globus Maritime

Royal Caribbean

Teekay Corporation

Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry

Altera Infrastructure

Borealis Finance

Maritime Holdings Corp

Dorian LPG

Top Ships

Seanergy Maritime Holdings Corp

Work highlights

  • Advised longstanding client Royal Caribbean Cruises on Liberian law matters, which concerned a $2.2bn term loan with Morgan Stanley Senior Funding.
  • Advised the debtor-in-possession lenders on their $500m DIP term loan credit agreement with Valaris, an offshore drilling services provider.
  • Advised longstanding client Globus Maritime on a public offering.

Holland & Knight LLP

Holland & Knight LLP traditionally represents US and foreign banks, investors and shipping companies in international shipping transactions. The team is increasingly active in relation to non-traditional sources of ship financing, including representing governmental finance support entities and underwriters in capital markets and private equity deals. It also has extensive experience in US, Marshall Islands and Liberia-related tax issues, as well as shipping group restructurings, workouts and Chapter 11 insolvencies. In New York, shipping, offshore and finance specialist Jovi Tenev leads the practice, which also includes maritime sector expert Richard Furey. Gerald Morrissey III in Washington DC regularly acts on the financing of maritime-related companies and projects.

Practice head(s):

Jovi Tenev

Key clients

Citigroup Global Markets

Southern Cross Group

International Seaways

HPS Investment Partners

The Mosaic Company

NOVA Infrastructure

Mizuho Bank

Centerline Logistics Company

Work highlights

  • Advised HPS Investment Partners, the lead arranger and lender on a $395.6m senior-secured term loan and $169.4m senior-secured delayed draw term loan.
  • Represented International Seaways in its merger with Diamond S Shipping.
  • Represented The Mosaic Company in refinancing structured lease finance transactions involving three vessels.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Typically representing US and foreign banks, Norton Rose Fulbright acts on the full range of shipping-related deals, including complex structured financing and leasing transactions. The team also increasingly acts for non-traditional sources of ship financing, including funds, governmental finance support entities, and issuers in capital markets transactions. Clients also appreciate the firm’s ability to leverage the firm’s shipping team worldwide for cross-border matters. US head of transport Brian Devine focuses on the representation of financial institutions and borrowers in relation to maritime-related assets. Providing key support are counsel Kassandra Savicki and senior associate Nicholas Santangelo, who are both maritime and international finance specialists. All attorneys named are based in New York.

Practice head(s):

Brian Devine

Key clients

ABN AMRO Bank

Crédit Agricole

Citibank

Auxilior Capital Partners

DNV GL

Banco Santander

Deutsche Bank

DNB

Northern Fund Management America

Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken

National Australia Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised the lenders, including Crédit Agricole, on the $400m refinancing of Eagle Bulk Shipping’s Norwegian bond debt.
  • Represented Textainer Marine Containers VII in a notes issuance transaction.
  • Represented a lender group, comprising Citibank Europe, Société Générale, HSBC France and SMBC Bank International, in relation to the restructuring of ECA-backed loans to Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP‘s New York-based practice offers ‘years of industry knowledge’. Leading the firm’s shipping and maritime finance team in the US, Greg Chase advises on the financing of ships, offshore assets, and other related capital equipment. At counsel level, cross-border and domestic shipping finance specialist Han Deng is ‘a go-to person for shipping transactional work‘; and shipping finance expert Amanda Brown is ‘incredibly well versed in vessel financing‘. In June 2021, Robert Lustrin joined as counsel from Seward & Kissel LLP to lead the firm’s New York shipping capital markets group, while former partner Jane Sarma retired from the practice in October 2021.

Practice head(s):

Greg Chase

Testimonials

The team has years of industry knowledge in the shipping market and the people are great to deal with.

The team specializes in vessel finance, which was critical to our secured financing. It was extremely competent in all aspects of vessel finance, and provided efficient and cost-effective services during the entire transaction, which spanned two closings over several months.

The team was extremely responsive throughout the transaction and a pleasure to deal with.

I appreciate how counsel Han Deng cares for clients, explains the legal jargon in layman terms, and simplifies the documentation process in a way that is understandable to clients, whether a bank or a company.

Han Deng is a seasoned shipping finance and transactional attorney, who is a very well-respected attorney – an indispensable member for the firm’s US shipping finance practice and growth plan.

Han Deng has in-depth knowledge of the law, and is skilled in the practice of shipping finance and Marshall Islands and Liberian corporate and maritime laws. She identifies potential legal issues for clients, and provides clear guidance and effective and practical solutions- she is routinely seen as a go-to person for shipping transactional legal work.

Counsel Amanda Brown is incredibly well versed in vessel financing. Amanda kept me well informed and provided me with a good understanding of what was going on in the transaction, and she was incredibly thorough in all aspects of the transaction, and very responsive to my enquiries. This financing could not have been successfully completed without her.

Vedder Price

Vedder Price represents both lenders and borrowers in maritime and offshore finance transactions. The team also fields specialists in workouts and restructurings, as well as ship registration and mortgage recordation laws in the US, the Marshall Islands, Liberia and Vanuatu. In recent initiatives, the firm launched an environmental, social and corporate governance task force within its global transportation finance team, which focuses on developing green loans and green bonds. In New York, John Bradley is an expert in cross-border marine finance structures, while John Imhof Jr regularly advises on the financing of transportation and offshore assets. Chicago-based Geoffrey Kass chairs the global transportation finance team, while associate John Geager also assists with maritime and international finance. Former partner Francis Nolan III recently retired from the firm.

Practice head(s):

Geoffrey Kass

Key clients

Bank of America Leasing & Capital

CIT Group

Global Container Terminals

Maher Terminals

Stonebriar Commercial Finance

Triton Container International

Work highlights

  • Advised a major US-based bank on matters of Marshall Islands and US general maritime law, which concerned its role as administrative agent, collateral agent, security trustee and lender for a senior secured revolving credit facility.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP‘s New York-based practice is particularly noted for its representation of creditors and bondholders in distressed shipping restructurings. Its experience includes handling issues involving foreign shipping companies and Chapter 11 filings, bankruptcy structures, and maritime liens and vessel arrests. The practice’s transactional experience also includes advising on securities offerings. Key figures within the team are co-chair of the corporate practice, Richard Brand, who regularly acts on shipping industry-related matters; and financial restructuring group chair Gregory Petrick, who divides his time between London and New York. Joshua Apfelroth routinely advises shipping companies on public offerings and restructurings.

Practice head(s):

Richard Brand; Gregory Petrick

Other key lawyers:

Joshua Apfelroth

Key clients

Safe Bulkers

Seward & Kissel LLP

Seward & Kissel LLP‘s New York-based practice routinely advises public and private maritime companies, financial institutions and other industry participants on major financings. Acting for both borrowers and lenders, the team’s workload encompasses loans, finance leases, and alternative financing deals. It also assists with structured finance, debtor-in-possession and exit financings, credit support, and security interests in vessels in the US and US-influenced jurisdictions including the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Liberia and Vanuatu. Mike Timpone leads the maritime and transportation finance practice, while Keith Billotti and Edward Horton co-head the maritime and transportation capital markets and corporate securities group.

Key clients

Hudson Structured Capital Management

Scorpio Tankers

Eagle Bulk Shipping

Eneti

DNB Bank ASA

SFL Corp

Euronav NV

Torm

Star Bulk Carriers Corp

Global Ship Lease

Work highlights

  • Represented Hudson Structured Capital Management in relation to a joint venture with Pangaea Logistics Solutions to acquire, own and operate four newbuilding bulk carriers, the transaction involving a secured pre-delivery term loan credit facility.
  • Advised Eagle Bulk Shipping on its $400m fleet refinancing.
  • Represented a major shipping company in its acquisition of ten Suezmax tankers, the consideration including both ordinary shares and cash.

Winston & Strawn LLP

Winston & Strawn LLP‘s Washington DC-based practice represents a broad array of clients engaged in the financing of maritime transportation assets, including vessel owners, operators, port authorities, and businesses that charter vessels. The team offers expertise in assisting US and non-US entities with Jones Act financings, vessel finance involving the US government’s Title XI guarantee, and capital construction fund programs. Chair of the maritime and admiralty practice Charlie Papavizas focuses on the administrative and legislative aspects of the maritime industry. Bryant Gardner‘s broad experience includes fleet refinancing and newbuild financings.

Practice head(s):

Charlie Papavizas

Other key lawyers:

Bryant Gardner

Key clients

Barclays Capital

The Pasha Group

American Cruise Lines

Heung-A-Shipping Co

Pennantia

Work highlights

  • Advising Heung-A Shipping Co, a Korea-based shipowner and shipping and logistics company, on the chartering of a products tanker to Maersk Line.
  • Representing Barclays Capital, as underwriter, in relation to a project to repair, expand, finance, maintain, and operate cruise terminals in San Juan Bay.
  • Advising The Pasha Group on amendments to the financing for the construction of two dual power container vessels.