Transport: shipping - finance in United States

Blank Rome LLP

Blank Rome LLP acts for lender and borrower clients on a range of ship finance instructions, including secured ship financing transactions, vessel leasing transactions, ship sale and purchase, and maritime restructuring and bankruptcy matters. Brett Esber advised Quark Expeditions on a cross-border project involving the construction and financing of an ice-class polar expedition cruise ship; he also advised American Shipping Company on the construction and financing of two new Jones Act product tankers, which will be chartered to a high-profile vessel operator. Anthony Salgado advised private equity firm JF Lehman & Company on ship loan and Jones Act issues relating to its sale of NRC Group to Hennessy Capital Acquisition. Additionally, Salgado advised Harvey Gulf International Marine on its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and related restructuring. Esber and Salgado are based in Washington DC.

Cozen O'Connor

The ‘responsive and practical’ team at Cozen O'Connor advises vessel owners and operators as well as financial institutions and investors on a full range of ship financing and refinancing work. Maritime M&A and bankruptcy issues are key areas of expertise. Geoffrey Ferrer in New York, who is ‘very service-minded’ and has ‘a very good command of his material’, routinely advises clients on US and Marshall Islands maritime and corporate law; in a recent highlight Ferrer acted as US special maritime counsel to Navios Maritime Partners, a Marshall Islands limited partnership, as borrower, in relation to the amendment of a term loan facility. The ‘very knowledgeableAnne Mickey, Josh Stein and Jeff Vogel are also recommended. Jeffrey Lawrence, who is ‘well-connected and has a profound understanding of the client’s needs’, jointly leads the team alongside Ferrer. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC unless indicated otherwise.

Jones Walker LLP

Jones Walker LLP handles a range of maritime finance matters including vessel acquisitions, financings and refinancings, sale and leaseback transactions, restructurings, and Title XI financings. William Baldwin advised Pacific Drilling and its subsidiaries on preferred ship mortgages on seven Liberian-flagged drillships in relation to the company's restructuring and bankruptcy. Elsewhere, Amy Garrity Scafidel advised Great Lakes Dredge & Dock, as borrower, on a sale and leaseback financing transaction. Also recommended are Kelly Duncan, who is ‘very experienced’; John Broders, who represents owners of mega-yachts on finance, construction and ownership matters; and Marshall Page, who leads the firm's bussiness and commercial transactions practice group.  Baldwin and Scott Jenkins jointly lead the shipping and maritime practice group. Named lawyers are based in the firm’s New Orleans office.

Watson Farley & Williams (New York) LLP

The New York-based team at Watson Farley & Williams (New York) LLP is commended for its ‘deep knowledge’ of ship finance mandates; it regularly advises prominent lenders, private equity funds, major shipowners and operators on a full range of ship finance transactions and restructurings. Department head Daniel Rodgers advised Standard Chartered Bank on a $1bn syndicated term loan facility made available to Petrobras Netherlands and guaranteed by Petróleo Brasileiro. John Benson, Steven Hollander, Christopher Belisle (his ‘knowledge and dedication to his clients makes him an outstanding individual’) and recently promoted partner Marsila Karpida are also recommended, as is counsel Susanne Burstein, who is ‘a dedicated and smart lawyer’.

Holland & Knight LLP

Holland & Knight LLP regularly acts for lender clients including US and foreign banks, investors and companies in international shipping transactions. In addition, advising lenders on restructurings, workouts and Chapter 11 insolvencies is a key part of the firm’s expertise. Jovi Tenev in New York heads the team and acted as Liberian and US maritime counsel to Nordic Trustee ASA on the enforcement of a $550m ship mortgage over a Liberian flag vessel on long term charter in international waters. Tenev also acted as Liberian counsel to the Bank of Nova Scotia, as mortgagee, in the $308m reflagging of a vessel and recording of a Liberian First Preferred Ship Mortgage covering the vessel. Richard Furey, who is also based in the firm’s New York office, is experienced in asset and infrastructure financing mandates.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP regularly acts for US and foreign banks in international shipping transactions. The team is instructed by funds, governmental finance support entities and capital markets issuers, and is often involved in advising on non-traditional sources of ship financing. Restructuring and bankruptcy-related mandates are also a key area of activity for the team. New York-based Brian Devine, who is an expert on Liberian and Marshall Islands law, heads the team. Also recommended in New York are counsels Kassandra Lydia Savicki and Julie Pateman Ward. Brad Berman left the firm in 2018.

Reed Smith LLP

The New York-based team at Reed Smith LLP regularly acts for banks in ship-finance mandates and is also instructed by private equity investors and other funds in sector transactions. Greg Chase, recently promoted partner Jane Sarma and senior associate Han Deng are key figures.

Vedder Price

Leveraging ‘deep industry experience’ and ‘a practical approach’, Vedder Price handles a variety of finance transactions involving maritime and offshore assets, often working closely with colleagues across the firm’s London and Singapore offices. Contacts in the New York include Francis Nolan and John Bradley, who is ‘readily accessible to address any needs in an efficient and timely manner’. Additionally, John Imhof joined the New York office in 2018 from Seward & Kissel LLP. Geoffrey Kass in Chicago heads the transportation finance team.

Winston & Strawn LLP

Winston & Strawn LLP regularly acts for US and non-US entities in vessel-related transactions, including Jones Act financing, foreign investments in Jones Act vessels and companies, and vessel finance involving the US government’s Title XI guarantee and Capital Construction Fund programs. Department head Charlie Papavizas has ‘a very broad and deep knowledge of maritime issues’; he recently advised Harley Marine Services on a $455m asset securitization involving Guggenheim Securities, US Bank as indenture trustee, Midland Loan Services, a division of PNC Bank as servicer, FTI Consulting as backup manager, and The Shearer Group as valuation agent. Bryant Gardner, Allen Black, Gerald Morrissey and associate Brooke Shapiro, who is based in New York, are also recommended. Named lawyers are based in Washington DC unless indicated otherwise.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP is particularly experienced in acting for creditors and bondholders in distressed shipping restructuring mandates. Of recent note, financial restructuring group chair Gregory Petrick is based across the firm’s London and New York offices and advised an informal ad hoc secured lender committee in the Chapter 11 cases of Toisa, Trade and Transport and certain vessel-owning affiliates; the restructuring involved approximately $1bn in debt across more than 20 credit facilities, which were secured by, among other collateral, 13 tankers, seven dry bulk vessels and 26 offshore support vessels. Further, Joshua Apfelroth advised Hemen Holdings on the Chapter 11 restructuring of Seadrill and new money capitalization. Elsewhere, Ira Schacter advised Guggenheim Securities on the $455m whole-business securitization of Harley Marine Services, which was collateralized by a portfolio of 122 owned and leased-in marine vessels and related customer contracts. Corporate group co-chair Richard Brand is also a key figure. Named individuals are based in New York unless indicated otherwise.