Transport: shipping - finance in United States

Blank Rome LLP

With a presence in Washington DC, New York and Houston, Blank Rome LLP's dedicated ship finance practice is balanced between both borrower (shipowner) and lender (bank)-side work. Among its highlights, the firm is regularly involved in secured ship financing transactions and vessel finance and leasing transactions, as well as structuring ship finance transactions involving foreign investment in Jones Act (which regulates US maritime transportation) trade. The team is led by highly experienced Washington DC-based partner Anthony Salgado, who has over 30 years' experience in ship finance work and ship transactions; Salgado stands out in the market for his knowledge of Jones Act citizenship issues. His recent highlights include advising Dominion Energy, as maritime counsel, on a $550m lease financing for one of the first new-build wind turbine installation vessel to be built in the US. Former senior partner Brett Esber retired from the practice, but remains as senior counsel for the firm in DC.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Salgado

Other key lawyers:

Brett Esber; Natalie Radabaugh

Key clients

American Shipping Company

Carlyle Group

Dominion Energy

Harvey Gulf International Marine

J.F. Lehman & Company

JP Morgan Chase

Lindblad Expeditions

Philly Shipyard

PNC Equipment Finance

Seaspan Corporation

Work highlights

  • Represented American Shipping Company in a $305m loan refinancing package.
  • Acted as maritime and government contracts counsel to long-time client Philly Shipyard, with respect to a $630m contract awarded by the Maritime Administration to build up to five vessels.
  • Advised the lease finance arm of a major bank (PNC), on two sale-and-leaseback transactions to develop four new-build tugs.

Cozen O'Connor

Cozen O'Connor 'provides excellent client service and execution, and finds solutions to any impasse'. Well known for its representation of vessel owners and operators, as well as financial institutions and investors, the practice group advises on all aspects of ship finance, including asset-based loans, leasing transactions and government guaranteed credit facilities. It also fields specialists in the listing of publicly traded securities and privately placed debt instruments. Jeffrey Lawrence in Washington DC chairs the practice, while New York-based US and non-US flagged shipping expert Geoffrey Ferrer serves as vice chair. Ferrer advised Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation on the US maritime, Marshall Islands and Liberian law issues associated with first priority ship mortgage notes. Also in DC, Anne Mickey 'stands out as being clearly very knowledgeable in this sphere'; and Joshua Stein and Jeff Vogel are standout up-and-coming partners.

Practice head(s):

Jeffrey Lawrence; Geoffrey Ferrer

Other key lawyers:

Anne Mickey; Joshua Stein; Jeff Vogel 


‘A wonderful firm to work with; it provides excellent client service and execution, impeccable knowledge, and is always helpful in anticipating issues. It also finds solutions to any impasse; and cost wise, the practice is also very reasonable.

Deep knowledge of Marshall Islands and Liberian law, combined with an understanding of the shipping industry.

Direct access to partners, swift and to the point replies, and an innovative approach to finding solutions that move transactions forward.

Excellent backgrounds in both corporate work and litigation.

Very knowledgeable and competent team that is committed to clients and the task at hand, so as to deliver the best possible result.

Anne Mickey is very competent, to the point and committed.

Anne Mickey has an incredible combination of experience, competence and practicality, and delivers great value.

‘Anne Mickey is very knowledgeable about the regulatory framework in the marine industry. She is affordable, trustworthy and practical.

Anne Mickey stands out as being clearly very knowledgeable in this sphere.

Key clients

Safe Bulkers, Inc.

Höegh Autoliners AS

Shelf Drilling Holdings, Ltd.

GasLog Partners LP

Morgan Stanley Senior Funding Inc.

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC

Port Imperial Ferry Corp

Tote Services, LLC.

Navios Maritime Holdings Inc.

Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation

Navios South American Logistics Inc.

McAllister Towing & Transportation Company, Inc.

Norwegian Car Carriers AS

Work highlights

  • Advised Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation (as special counsel) on the US maritime, Marshall Islands and Liberian law issues associated with first priority ship mortgage notes.
  • Acted as special maritime counsel to Shelf Drilling on matters of Vanuatu, Liberian and Marshall Islands law, which concerned amendments to an existing credit facility and amendment to the indenture, among others.
  • Advised, as special counsel to Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, on maritime and Liberian law issues, which concerned a term loan financing for Royal Caribbean Cruises (secured by vessel mortgages and vessel-related security, among others).

Jones Walker LLP

With one of the broadest maritime transactional practices in the US, Jones Walker LLP represents public and private companies in an array of financings, acquisitions, divestitures and restructurings. The team's attorneys handle high-value financing and refinancing transactions in a range of maritime segments, from blue water to offshore to inland marine. In New Orleans, leader of the firm's maritime transactions team William Baldwin recently acted as maritime counsel for debtors in a Chapter 11 restructuring involving preferred ship mortgages on seven Liberian flagged drillships; Kelly Duncan was special maritime counsel to Spectacle Entertainment in a $100m financing; and Amy Garrity Scafidel co-leads the firm’s finance team alongside Phoenix-based Hughes Grehan. Also key to the group is James Kearns in Washington DC, whose experience includes financings under the Title XI loan guarantee program administered by the US Maritime Administration. At associate level, Christopher Ulfers (also in New Orleans) advises marine clients on finance deals.

Practice head(s):

William Baldwin

Other key lawyers:

Kelly Duncan; Amy Garrity Scafidel; Hughes Grehan; James Kearns; Christopher Ulfers; Lance Sannino; Cindy Matherne Muller

Key clients

Pacific Drilling

Spectacle Entertainment, LLC

Hornbeck Offshore Services, Inc.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation

Inter-Oceanic Holdings, LLC

Watson Farley & Williams (New York) LLP

Watson Farley & Williams (New York) LLP's maritime practice advises on all manner of shipping finance transactions, including capital markets deals, as well as restructurings. In addition to its New York and US federal law expertise, the team’s knowledge extends to Marshall Islands and Liberian maritime law, as well as Vanuatu maritime law matters. New York office head Daniel Rodgers recently assisted the Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry with updates to the Liberian Maritime Law, the Liberian Maritime Regulations and the Liberian Mortgage Recording Procedures; Christopher Belisle is experienced in matters involving US flag vessels operating in coastwise (Jones Act) trade; Steven Hollander predominantly focuses on international shipping transactions; and John Benson's practice has an emphasis on cross-border asset-backed structured transactions and joint ventures. Also recommended are maritime sector-focused Susanne Burstein, and recently promoted senior associates Maxi Adamski-de Visser and C J Chido. Marsila Karpida relocated to the firm's Athens (Greece) office in October 2020. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Rodgers; Steve Hollander

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Belisle; John Benson; Susanne Burstein; Maxi Adamski-de Visser; C J Chido


The team brings vast experience to its delivery of legal advice, alongside a strong commercial context and mindset. Also unique is that some of the key admiralty lawyers have in-house experience at shipping companies, making their reads of complex situations highly valuable.

In depth knowledge of shipping finance, with a commercial approach and a very good team overall.

Very commercial and very good at client relationships.

They mainly act as our Marshall Islands counsel, and they have a strong team with good experience. They also have good inter-jurisdictional capabilities and they work well with other offices on cross-border deals. Solid, knowledgeable and approachable lawyers.’

Daniel Rodgers is a very knowledgeable and experienced lawyer, who provides great service and runs a solid team.

Steven Hollander is conscientious and reliable, and provides good corporate support.

John Benson truly understands our needs and mindset, and delivers resources across the firm to service us. He understands how we think and is able to align accordingly but also push back if we, as clients, are missing a key point.

Key clients

Hartree Maritime Partners

Capital Product Partners LP

Teekay Corporation

Seadrill Partners LLC

Offshore Merchant Partners Asset Yield Fund LP

Deutsche Bank AG

Dorian LPG

Transocean Ltd


Seanergy Maritime Corp.

Altera Infrastructure Partners L.P.

Holland & Knight LLP

Traditionally representing US and foreign banks, investors and shipping companies, Holland & Knight LLP is increasingly acting for non-traditional sources of ship financing, including governmental finance support entities and underwriters, in capital markets and private equity transactions. The practice also has extensive experience in shipping group restructurings, workouts and Chapter 11 insolvencies. Maritime finance head Jovi Tenev  represented International Seaways (one of the world’s largest crude oil and petroleum product tanker companies) in a $390m committed secured loan transaction; Richard Furey  is a name to note for matters involving alternative financing sources; and Washington DC-based Gerald Morrissey 's practice covers distressed debt and corporate workouts in the maritime industry. Named lawyers are based in New York unless otherwise mentioned.

Practice head(s):

Jovi Tenev

Other key lawyers:

Richard Furey; Gerald Morrissey

Key clients

International Seaways, Inc.

Citibank, N.A.

Olympic Shipping

Onassis Foundation

BTMU Capital Corp. (Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi)


Nordea Bank Finland

Fleet Management Ltd.

Wells Fargo Bank, National Association

Banc of America Leasing & Capital LLC

CIT Bank N.A.

CIT Finance LLC

Work highlights

  • Represented International Seaways, Inc., one of the world’s largest crude oil and petroleum product tanker companies, in a $390m committed secured loan transaction (with a $100m uncommitted accordion).
  • Represented Eletson Holdings, Inc. (and its subsidiaries) in an offer to exchange the $300m (in aggregate principal amount) outstanding of first preferred ship mortgages notes due 2022 (previously issued by the company and Eletson Finance).
  • Represented Citigroup Global Markets, as purchaser under a bond purchase agreement, in financing a portion of the cost of construction of combination roll-on/roll-off and container LNG-powered vessels.

Norton Rose Fulbright

'Truly a global presence in the world of shipping', Norton Rose Fulbright's full-service team 'routinely goes above and beyond, and has deep expertise in everything it does'. The firm's US shipping practice handles an array of shipping-related transactions, including complex structured financing and leasing deals. It typically represents US and foreign banks, and is increasingly advising non-traditional sources of ship financing, including funds and governmental finance support entities. With a particular emphasis on maritime-related assets, US head of transport Brian Devine 'has a genuine knowledge of numerous aspects of the shipping world'. Counsel Kassandra Savicki and associate Nicholas Santangelo specialize in maritime and international finance. All attorneys listed are based in New York.

Practice head(s):

Brian Devine

Other key lawyers:

Kassandra Savicki; Nicholas Santangelo


The NRF shipping finance team is truly a global presence in the world of shipping.

Super service oriented, routinely goes above and beyond, and has deep expertise in everything it does.

The NRF shipping finance team has expertise, experience and depth, and is one of the go-to firms in this speciality.

Brian Devine has a genuine knowledge of numerous aspects of the shipping world, allowing him to provide top quality advice to owners and financiers alike.

Brian Devine is knowledgeable, able to think through issues, and comes up with creative solutions to the unique challenges encountered in this area.

Key clients


Citibank N.A.

Mercuria Energy Group


Banco Santander

Deutsche Bank AG


Northern Fund Management America, LLC

Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB

National Australia Bank

Work highlights

  • Advising the lenders, including ABN AMRO (as agent), on the $266m financing of 21 of Eagle Bulk Shipping’s fleet of vessels.
  • Represented the lenders (ABN AMRO Bank N.V. and Citibank NA) on a New York law refinancing, amendment and restatement of a $760m facility to finance a fleet of 18 LPG carriers.
  • Represented ABN AMRO Bank NV and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB in an innovative financing for Greenheart Gas LLC (a joint venture), which involved the acquisition of LNG carriers.

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP's New York-based Greg Chase leads the firm's shipping team in the US, which is highly rated for its expertise in traditional finance, alternative finance and private equity transactions. Chase's expertise includes advising major lenders, operating companies and equity investors on all aspects of the financing of ships, offshore assets, and other related capital equipment. Up-and-coming partner Jane Sarma's areas of focus include ship finance, while Han Deng (promoted to counsel in 2020) has a notable cross-border and domestic shipping finance practice. Further counsel-level support is provided by Amanda Brown, who advises both lenders and borrowers on ship finance deals.

Practice head(s):

Greg Chase; Jane Sarma

Other key lawyers:

Han Deng; Amanda Brown

Vedder Price

Vedder Price‘s New York-based maritime practice group has extensive experience in all types of finance transactions involving maritime and offshore assets, including vessels engaged in international, inland and domestic transportation. It also has expertise in workouts and restructurings. John Bradley is experienced in cross-border marine finance structures; and John Imhof Jr has over 30 years’ experience in advising on the domestic and cross-border financing of transportation and offshore assets. Representing clients in corporate and securities matters (with particular emphasis on structured financing), Chicago-based Geoffrey Kass chairs the global transportation finance practice.

Practice head(s):

Geoffrey Kass

Other key lawyers:

John Bradley; John Imhof Jr

Key clients

Bank of America Leasing & Capital LLC

CIT Group Inc. (including CIT Bank, N.A.)

Global Container Terminals, Inc.

Maher Terminals LLC

Signature Financial

Stonebriar Commercial Finance, LLC

Triton Container International Limited

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

Work highlights

  • Advised a European private equity fund on New York, Delaware and US federal maritime law, which concerned the formation of a joint venture for the acquisition and financing of beneficial interests in two US vessels.
  • Advised two shipping executives, as initial owners of a newly formed joint venture, on the joint venture’s purchase and financing of a Marshall Islands flagged 127,000 cbm liquified natural gas carrier.
  • Advising a New York-based private equity fund (as administrative agent, collateral agent and lender) on a $165m term loan facility to refinance a fleet of ten US flagged, coastwise-qualified (Jones Act) vessels.

Winston & Strawn LLP

With broad experience in shipping finance, Winston & Strawn LLP's maritime attorneys regularly lead major finance deals in the sector. Their experience includes assisting US and non-US entities with 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. Widely lauded for his expertise in US shipping regulations, Charlie Papavizas chairs the firm's maritime and admiralty practice from the Washington DC office. Also recommended in DC is Bryant Gardner, a key point of contact between the federal government and the international logistics community. Gardner and Papavizas recently represented BP in the sale of three large Alaskan-class, Jones Act-qualified tankers.

Practice head(s):

Charlie Papavizas

Other key lawyers:

Bryant Gardner

Key clients

Liberty Maritime Corporation

BP America, Inc.

Centerline Logistics Corporation (formerly known as Harley Marine Services)

Black Diamond Capital Management

Stellex Capital Management LLC

The Mosaic Company

American Cruise Lines

Liberty Global Logistics

Barclay’s Capital, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised BP America, Inc. on the sale of three large Alaskan-class, Jones Act-qualified tankers, which included vessel sale, purchase and chartering, tax and labor, and US maritime statutory and regulatory issues.
  • Advised BP America, Inc. on the sale of a position in Alaska Tanker Company, L.L.C., a consortium formed in 1999 by BP, Overseas Shipholding Group and Keystone Shipping.
  • Represents Barclays Capital Inc., as underwriter, in supporting Global Ports Holding Plc with the $435m project to repair, expand, finance, maintain and operate cruise terminals in San Juan Bay.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

Leveraging deep roots in maritime law and the shipping industry, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP has established niche expertise in distressed shipping restructurings, and also has substantial experience in securities offerings. In New York, co-chair of the firm's corporate practice Richard Brand has an active shipping industry-related practice; and Joshua Apfelroth regularly advises leading shipping companies on acquisitions, public offerings and restructurings. Also recommended is financial restructuring group  chair Gregory Petrick, who works across the firm's London and New York offices.

Practice head(s):

Richard Brand; Gregory Petrick

Other key lawyers:

Joshua Apfelroth

Key clients

Safe Bulkers