Shipping: finance in United States

Blank Rome LLP

Fielding a dedicated ship finance team from its Washington DC, New York and Houston offices, Blank Rome LLP‘s broad maritime client base includes shipyards, owners, operators, cargo interests, lenders and investors. The firm’s US maritime practice has an enviable market reputation for structuring ship finance transactions involving foreign investment in the Jones Act trade, as well as ship financings registered under the laws of Liberia and the Marshall Islands. It is also experienced in vessel finance, construction, sale, purchase and chartering mandates, and routinely represents debtors and creditors in maritime restructuring and bankruptcy matters. Practice head and the firm’s lead ship finance and transaction practitioner Anthony Salgado stands out for his knowledge of Jones Act citizenship issues (and related laws administered by the Coast Guard and Maritime Administration) and their impact on US ship financings and transactions, and Douglas Shoemaker in Houston focuses on complex maritime transactions and litigation. Providing key support at senior associate level, Natalie Radabaugh‘s workload is concentrated on maritime transactions, corporate governance issues and ship financing matters. All advisers mentioned are based in Washington DC, unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Salgado

Other key lawyers:

Douglas Shoemaker; Natalie Radabaugh

Key clients

American Shipping Company

Blackstone Group



Dominion Energy

Harvey Gulf International Marine

J F Lehman & Company

JPMorgan Chase Bank

Philly Shipyard

PNC Bank, National Association

Signature Bank

Swire Shipping Pte

Work highlights

  • Advised long-time client Philly Shipyard on the negotiation of a vessel construction agreement with Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation to build a Jones Act-compliant fall pipe subsea rock installation vessel.
  • Advised American Shipping Company on the negotiation and documentation of new three-year bareboat charters for two US-flag tankers.
  • Advised ESVAGT, a Danish shipping company that is active in the European offshore wind market, on the formation of a joint venture with US-based Crowley to construct specialist vessels designed to service wind farms.

Cozen O'Connor

Widely respected for its representation of vessel owners and operators, Cozen O'Connor also acts for financial institutions and investors on the gamut of ship finance work. The firm’s practice covers asset-based loans, leasing transactions and government-guaranteed credit facilities, while its credentials extend to maritime M&A matters and advising publicly-listed shipping companies on the listing of publicly-traded securities and privately-placed debt instruments. The department also houses experts in Marshall Islands and Liberian maritime law, as well as maritime bankruptcies. Clients also benefit from the group’s experience in advising liner shipping companies on antitrust and competition law issues, along with US sanctions that apply to maritime activities. In Washington DC, Joshua Stein‘s track record includes representing companies active in international and US inland transportation, offshore drilling, dredging, environmental remediation, and marine construction; Jeff Vogel advises shipowners on the financing of commercial, passenger and fishing vessels, and luxury yachts; and of counsel Anne Mickey assists with financing deals involving the registries of the US, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Vanuatu and the Bahamas. Over in New York, Geoffrey Ferrer focuses on both US and non-US flag shipping matters, as well as asset-based lending and equipment leasing work.

Practice head(s):

Geoffrey Ferrer

Other key lawyers:

Joshua Stein; Jeff Vogel; Anne Mickey


Small but great team, New York location, and excellent contacts.’

‘Geoffrey Ferrer is well informed about recent developments in law and the market, and always available to assist.’

Key clients

Citigroup Global Markets

Safe Bulkers (Marshall Islands)

Safe Bulkers Participations (Cyprus)

Morgan Stanley & Co

Easterly Fleet Holding

Easterly Fleet Holdings II

GasLog Partners

Stonepeak Partners

Höegh Autoliners

Maersk Line

NOCC Shipowning AS

Patriot Contract Services

TOTE Services

NOCC Shipowning

Norwegian Car Carriers

Work highlights

  • Acted as special maritime counsel to Shelf Drilling on matters of Vanuatu, Liberian and Marshall Islands law.
  • Advised Costamare (as special counsel) on Marshall Islands and Liberian law, in relation to a €100m Greek law 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

Operating one of the broadest maritime transactional practices in the US, Jones Walker LLP‘s sizeable team represents public and private companies in a vast range of domestic and international financings, acquisitions, divestitures and restructurings. Recent work includes representing both debtors and lenders in substantial debtor-in-possession and exit financings, rights offerings, and debt-for-equity swaps. The firm’s attorneys are also routinely sought out to advise on complex domestic and international ocean and inland vessel acquisitions, National Vessel Documentation Center registrations, and the flagging of vessels in registries across the world. The track record of maritime transactions team head William C. Baldwin (who also co-leads the firm’s offshore wind initiative alongside Houston-based Cindy Matherne Muller) includes leading multiple marine financings for new, purpose-built offshore wind vessels. Kelly Duncan has significant experience in admiralty, maritime, and international and customs law work, while James Kearns in the Washington DC office focuses on maritime transactions, and the practice’s key associate Christopher Ulfers advises both borrowers and lenders on marine finance matters. All advisers named are based in the firm’s New Orleans office, unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

William C. Baldwin

Other key lawyers:

Cindy Matherne Muller; Kelly Duncan; James Kearns; Christopher Ulfers

Key clients

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation

JPMorgan Chase Bank

Watson Farley & Williams (New York) LLP

Housing a ‘strong New York-based team that is respected in the market‘, Watson Farley & Williams (New York) LLP covers a broad range of of shipping finance transactions, including capital markets and private equity deals. Other areas of strength range from restructurings and insolvencies, to sanctions and tax advice. The team also advises owners, shipbuilders, potential investors, lenders and operators on Jones Act issues, with expertise further extending to matters involving Marshall Islands and Liberian corporate and maritime law, as well as Vanuatu maritime law work. Senior partner George Paleokrassas acts for major shipping lenders and shipowners on the structuring and restructuring of loan and leasing transactions, while Daniel Rodgers is particularly focused on shipping and offshore industry-related matters. Christopher Belisle advises on lease financings and asset-based loan facilities, Steven Hollander regularly advises on entities formed in Liberia and the Marshall Islands, and John Benson assists with cross-border asset-backed structured transactions and joint ventures. Additional key practitioners include Will Vogel, who is an expert in representing public maritime sector companies in US corporate and securities matters, as well as experienced counsels C J Chido and Maxi Adamski-De Visser.

Practice head(s):

George Paleokrassas

Other key lawyers:

Daniel Rodgers; Christopher Belisle; Steven Hollander; John Benson; Will Vogel; C J Chido; Maxi Adamski-De Visser


Watson Farley and Williams has a large team of lawyers specializing in different areas of the law, allowing them to consult with each other as needed and provide advice in an efficient way.

Very responsive to clients’ queries and assist with completing transactions seamlessly.

The lawyers are all very knowledgeable and fully capable of meeting clients’ legal needs.

Strong New York-based team that is respected in the market and well known in the industry.

Very responsive, and always focused on finding practical and efficient solutions.

A strong team with an array of attorneys at different seniority levels.

Steven Hollander in particular is very practical, which clients appreciate.

Daniel Rodgers always provides strong technical, yet cost-efficient and practical, advice.

Key clients

Hudson Structured Capital Management (formerly Northern Shipping Management)


Royal Caribbean Group

Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Höegh LNG Holdings

Altera Infrastructure

Dorian LPG

Danish Ship Finance

Ulstein Werft

Pangaea Logistics Solutions

Globus Maritime

Seanergy Maritime Holdings Corp

Top Ships

United Maritime Corporation

Performance Shipping

Work highlights

  • Advised Northern Shipping Funds on the sale of key business assets to Hudson Structured Capital Management.
  • Advising Dorian LPG on a $260m senior secured facility for the financing of 10 ECO VLGCs, made available to Dorian LPG Finance (as borrower) by, inter alia, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, ING Bank (London Branch) BNP Paribas, Danish Ship Finance and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken.
  • Advised both Seanergy and United Maritime on US securities and regulatory matters and Nasdaq regulations, as well as Marshall Islands law.

Holland & Knight LLP

Well known for its representation of banks, investors and shipping companies in international shipping deals, Holland & Knight LLP‘s practice is increasingly mandated by governmental finance support entities and underwriters for significant capital markets and private equity transactions. The firm’s specialists also advise foreign and US lending institutions and borrowers on Jones Act-compliant domestic financings, and provide representation in US, Marshall Islands and Liberia-related tax issues. Other key areas span lender-side shipping group restructurings, workouts and Chapter 11 insolvencies, as well as handling corporate acquisitions for strategic investors. Heading up the firm’s ship finance practice, Jovi Tenev has notable experience in advising banks and other financiers and companies on an array of shipping, offshore and finance work, and the workload of asset and infrastructure finance expert Richard Furey covers maritime sector mandates. In Washington DC, Gerald Morrissey III is a specialist in the financing of maritime-related companies. All practitioners mentioned work from the firm’s New York office, unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

Jovi Tenev

Other key lawyers:

Richard Furey; Gerald Morrissey III

Key clients

International Seaways

HPS Investment Partners

The Mosaic Company

DNB Bank

Citigroup Global Markets

Southern Cross Group

PNC Bank, National Association

Mizuho Bank

Centerline Logistics Company

Valley National Bank

Work highlights

  • Represented International Seaways in various marine integration activities, following its merger with Diamond S Shipping.
  • Served as a special maritime finance counsel to HPS Investment Partners, which was the lead arranger and lender on a $395.6m senior-secured term loan and a $169.4m senior-secured delayed draw term loan (used to finance the acquisition of Seacor Holdings by American Industrial Partners).
  • Representing The Mosaic Company in ongoing vessel financing, lease financing, Jones Act structuring, vessel sale, and operational contracting matters, in relation to a fleet of vessels carrying (primarily) proprietary cargos.

Norton Rose Fulbright

As an integral part of the worldwide shipping team, Norton Rose Fulbright‘s US shipping practice handles a vast range of shipping-related mandates, from complex structured financings, leasing deals and litigation, to major sale and purchase transactions, charter-party negotiations and cargo claims. The client list traditionally comprises US and foreign banks that are highly active in international shipping transactions, but the group increasingly represents funds, governmental finance support entities and issuers in capital markets deals. The shipping finance team is additionally able to leverage the firm’s full-service practices in tax, litigation and regulatory work. US head of transport Brian Devine, who is qualified to practice Marshall Islands law, is well known for his advice to both financial institutions and borrowers on maritime-related assets. Additional key practitioners include counsel Kassandra Savicki and senior associate Nicholas Santangelo, who both specialise in maritime and international finance work. All advisers listed are based in the firm’s New York office.

Practice head(s):

Brian Devine

Other key lawyers:

Kassandra Savicki; Nicholas Santangelo; Julie Pateman Ward


Long considered a leading firm for shipping finance, the team boasts a wealth of expertise.

Always a go-to firm providing sound and efficient advice.

Brian Devine has been in shipping finance for a very long time, even before he joined NRF. Always very approachable and efficient, and a pleasure to work with. Highly recommended.

Brian Devine is very knowledgeable about the shipping industry in general and particularly the US market. He is always easy to work with and service oriented, addressing a client’s concerns efficiently and in a timely manner.

Key clients

Credit Agricole




National Australia Bank

Citibank (London Branch)

Auxilior Capital Partners


Banco Santander

Deutsche Bank AG


Northern Fund Management America

Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken

Work highlights

  • Advised Tidewater on the $200m refinancing of its US and Norwegian debt.
  • Advised Apollo on a $2bn joint venture with New Fortress Energy for a fleet of 11 LNG infrastructure vessels, including floating storage and regasification assets, floating storage vessels and LNG carriers.
  • Advised the lenders, including ABN AMRO (as outgoing agent) and Credit Agricole (as incoming agent) on the transfer of a $266m financing of Eagle Bulk Shipping vessels.

Reed Smith LLP

Providing an ‘exceptional, cutting-edge service‘, Reed Smith LLP‘s New York-based group regularly acts for borrowers and private equity entities on major ship financing deals. It has also expanded its expertise to encompass traditional shipping lenders, while the team covers both shipping industry-related capital markets and M&A transactions. Clients additionally benefit from the firm’s global platform, which comprises offices in shipping hubs such as London, Singapore and Hong Kong, along with specialisms in corporate, securities and environmental law. ‘Excellent finance lawyer‘ Greg Chase, who advises on all aspects of the financing of ships, offshore assets and other related capital equipment, heads up the firm’s shipping and maritime finance team in the US, while a significant part of Houston-based Kevin Keenan’s practice focuses on LNG and shipping work. Within the counsel pool, Han Deng focuses on cross-border and domestic shipping finance mandates, and Robert Lustrin has longstanding experience in high-profile shipping transactions, including IPOs and bond offerings. The workloads of key associates James Wade and Alice Colarossi also cover ship finance.

Practice head(s):

Greg Chase

Other key lawyers:

Kevin Keenan; Oliver Beiersdorf; Han Deng; Robert Lustrin; James Wade; Alice Colarossi


‘Exceptional, cutting-edge service with attention to detail and client service.’

‘Greg Chase is an excellent finance lawyer with multilayer experience in the maritime finance world.’

‘Fast, efficient team work and reliable advice.’

Seward & Kissel LLP

Fielding ‘very responsive and diligent advisers‘, Seward & Kissel LLP‘s New York-based maritime practice advises major public and private maritime companies and financial institutions on banking, finance and capital markets work. The department’s corporate and transactional expertise covers initial structuring, formation and seed financing, along with capital raising transactions in the US and overseas. Clients additionally benefit from the team’s specialisms in M&A, private equity, tax, litigation and regulatory issues, and restructuring and insolvency mandates. Heading up the firm’s maritime and transportation finance group, Mike Timpone is highly focused on the representation of US and non-US banks and other institutional lenders in secured loans and other financing deals, in addition to acting for shipowners as borrowers in such transactions. Also integral to the group are Keith Billotti, whose practice involves advising domestic and foreign maritime industry clients on corporate and US securities law, and corporate securities law expert Edward Horton. Additional key partner Hoyoon Nam advises on complex financings, while counsel Kurt Plankl and senior associate Sophia Agathis are also active team members.

Practice head(s):

Mike Timpone; Keith Billotti; Edward Horton

Other key lawyers:

Hoyoon Nam; Kurt Plankl; Sophia Agathis


Very responsive and diligent advisers who almost act as part of clients’ banking deal teams.

A very tight team, led by Mike Timpone, that seamlessly supports lenders during transactions.

Key clients

Hudson Structured Capital Management

Scorpio Tankers

Eagle Bulk Shipping



SFL Corp

Euronav NV


Flex Lng

Global Ship Lease

Work highlights

  • Represented DNB Bank in a $175m multi-currency senior secured green facility.
  • Represented Eagle Bulk Shipping in its $400m fleet refinancing.
  • Represented Frontline in the approximately $4bn stock for stock merger with Euronav NV.

Vedder Price

As ‘one of the go-to firms in the industry‘, Vedder Price‘s global transportation finance team regularly acts for lenders, borrowers, lessors, lessees, shipbuilders, marine terminal operators, owners and charterers on structuring major maritime and offshore finance deals. The group advises on a broad range of maritime and offshore assets, including cargo and passenger transportation vessels, intermodal containers, chassis, barges, terminal facilities, ferries, and offshore construction and oil exploration vessels. It also has extensive experience in workouts and restructurings, and is additionally sought out for its expertise in maritime and offshore construction contracts, and ship registration and mortgage recordation laws in the US, the Marshall Islands, Liberia and Vanuatu. In New York, John Bradley is a specialist in cross-border marine finance structures, the ‘responsive and experiencedJohn Imhof Jr is experienced in a range of financings, and associate John Geager consistently advises on large-scale vessel financings and refinancings. Geoffrey Kass chairs the firm’s global transportation finance group from the Chicago office.

Practice head(s):

Geoffrey Kass

Other key lawyers:

John Bradley; John Imhof Jr; John Geager


Vedder Price provides experienced advice on maritime finance issues and knows the market well.’

‘One of the go-to firms in the industry and involved in a large share of deals in this space.

Strong shipping industry expertise and knowledgeable on facility structure and security arrangements, as well as the commercial terms of time charter and bareboat charter contracts.

John Imhof Jr is responsive and experienced, and has a great understanding of all the issues surrounding financings secured by vessels, as well as the contracts related to those vessels.

John Imhof Jr is very helpful when clients need to understand what is standard in the industry, since he sees so many deals in the space.

Key clients

Bank of America Securities

CIT Bank

GCT Global Container Terminals

Institute for Shipboard Education

Maher Terminals

Stonebriar Commercial Finance

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

In addition to its track record in successfully representing creditors and bondholders in distressed shipping restructurings, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP‘s New York-based maritime law and shipping industry practice advises on major corporate transactions, including M&A, joint ventures and securities offerings. The team has recently been particularly active in shipping industry deals involving restructurings, financing and M&A matters. Consistently mandated by public companies, hedge funds, private equity houses and investment banks, co-chair of the firm’s corporate practice Richard Brand maintains an active shipping transactions practice, and complex business reorganization specialist Gregory Petrick, who works across the London and New York offices, is the firm’s financial restructuring group chair. In July 2022, Joshua Apfelroth exited the firm for Proskauer Rose LLP.

Practice head(s):

Richard Brand; Gregory Petrick

Key clients


Hemen Holdings


Work highlights

  • Represented Hemen Holding, the largest pre-petition shareholder of Seadrill, in a $50m unsecured convertible note investment, which related to Seadrill’s Chapter 11 reorganisation plan.