- What We Do
- Maritime Companies and Fisheries
Representing the full range of legal and business needs for clients in the maritime, transport and fishing sectors has been a major practice area at Garvey Schubert Barer for many years. GSB is one of a handful of Northwest law firms that has a comprehensive maritime practice and is also a full-service business firm. Our clients include vessel owners and operators, international and domestic container shipping lines, tug and barge companies, fishing companies, ferry lines, terminal operators, luxury yacht owners, lenders, freight forwarders, shipyards and trade associations. We have the ability to provide timely, cost-effective services to our maritime clients anywhere in world, and work with clients on the East, West and Gulf Coasts of the United States as well as internationally.
We advise clients about contracts, including charterparties, preferential berthing agreements, stevedoring contracts, ship sales contracts and management agreements and service contracts for ocean transportation and terminal leases.
We assist clients in all aspects of the fishing industry. In recent years, many large fishing and seafood companies have changed hands as the original owners retire. In addition to representing sellers and purchasers, we have been special maritime counsel in several acquisitions.
We are a leader in structuring the participation of foreign equity owners and lenders. We often have assisted fishing industry clients with their operating contracts, such as charters, tendering contracts, and fish brokerage and custom processing agreements. We have represented both individual companies and regional and national trade associations before Regional Fishery Management Councils and the Department of Commerce in regulatory proceedings under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. We provide advice to foreign governments and foreign trade associations on both legislative and regulatory developments, including developments affecting trade in fishery products.
We counsel fishery clients on matters relating to compliance with wildlife protection laws, such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and we have represented industry groups in complex, high-profile ESA litigation relating to fishery management measures. We defend enforcement actions brought under a variety of resource management statutes, and we have handled numerous cases in federal courts involving challenges to the validity of fishery management regulations.
Financings play a key role in the maritime arena. These transactions are highly complex and must be carefully negotiated, drafted and implemented. Our lawyers have worked on virtually every type of maritime and fisheries financing. For example, we were borrower’s counsel in a multifaceted $405 million aggregate credit facility secured by multiple fishing vessels and other assets of the borrower. We have also handled financings involving ship mortgage and ship mortgage trust transactions in the cargo, passenger, fishing, and tug and tow trades and financings secured by marine equipment and asset backed financing. Our financing clients have included Jones Act qualified and American Fisheries Act qualified borrowers, foreign-owned borrowers and lenders. Our financing clients have included domestic banks, commercial financing companies and U.S. and foreign-owned borrowers.
Maritime Labor and Employment
Garvey Schubert Barer has a broad labor and employment practice with substantial experience representing maritime employers. We help you avoid, or at least minimize, employment disputes that can seriously disrupt your business and lead to costly litigation. Our services include advice on hiring, discipline and termination. We defend employers against employee claims, including those charging harassment. We represent shipowners in labor contract negotiations with maritime industry labor unions. In addition, we train managers on appropriate employment practices.
Regulations and Legislation
Clients rely on us to ensure that they comply with federal regulations governing the maritime industry, one of the nation’s most heavily regulated business sectors. Our advice covers all aspects of these regulations, including coastwise trade laws, maritime subsidy programs, rebuild classifications, reflagging issues, qualification of vessels and crews for participation in domestic fishing and cargo trades, enforcement matters and audits and investigations.
Tax and Regulatory Matters
We advise clients on the cross-border income tax as well as the effect state and local taxes have on maritime transactions. We also advise clients on the rules of regulatory agencies that affect operators, investors and lenders. These agencies include the Coast Guard, Maritime Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Federal Maritime Commission, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
U.S. District Court, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Successfully represented water freight carrier in U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division prosecution for multi-million dollar conspiracy to violate the Sherman Antitrust Act.
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Portland, Oregon
Obtained a non prosecution decision on behalf of a 15,000 ton research vessel under investigation for violations of the Clean Water Act.
U.S. Attorney's Office, Seattle, Washington
Obtained a non prosecution decision on behalf of an 11,000 ton international chemical/oil tanker under investigation for violations of the Federal Clean Water Act and MARPOL Conventions.
Recovery of years of hazard pay for 74 shipwrights. Opinion after trial on affirmative defenses at 75 Fed. Cl. 218 (2007).
Co-counsel in defense of price fixing claims in the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon industry.
Successful prosecution of claims for insurance coverage of environmental cleanup at federal Superfund site.
Represented lead lender in $116 million syndicated loan secured by more than 50 vessels and multiple parcels of real property, focusing primarily on documenting secured collateral.
News & Events
- GSB Newsroom, 11.1.17
- 30 GSB Attorneys Named to the 2018 The Best Lawyers in America® List; Three Lawyers Named ‘Lawyer of the Year’GSB Newsroom, 8.15.17
- GSB Newsroom, 5.1.17
- Pacific Maritime Magazine, August, 2016
- GSB Press Release, 11.9.15
- Benedict’s Maritime Bulletin, 11.19.13
- Pacific Fisheries Review, 7.1.13
- Senior Counsel
- Of Counsel
- Office Managing Director and Principal