Maritime - Environmental

Green Sailing


MARITIME EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM

Please click here for a full listing of our Maritime Emergency Response Team (MERT) members.

Our MERT members are ready—24 / 7 / 365—to respond to pollution-related incidents and vessel casualties at a moment's notice, and manage the potential civil and criminal consequences involved.  In the event of an incident, please contact any of our members directly. 

Environmental Capabilities

Without doubt, the United States has the world’s most stringent marine safety and environmental regulations, and enforces them aggressively.  We regularly advise international vessel owners and operators, managers, charterers, and shippers on the complex U.S. federal, state, and local environmental requirements—as well as on the international conventions—that govern all transportation, including the carriage of passengers and the handling of petroleum products and hazardous materials.  In addition to the marine transportation industry, our clients include agricultural and fishery interests, oil and chemical companies, and other manufacturers and shippers.

Blank Rome Maritime has a dedicated team of attorneys focused to respond at a moment’s notice to environmental and other incidents for our clients domestically and internationally.  In addition to having served as on-site criminal and environmental counsel to oil refineries, chemical facilities, and ship owners and operators, our team has represented owners, operators, charters, and responders as on-site counsel in varied incidents, including:

  • Julie N oil spill in Maine
  • Bouchard No. 120 oil spill in Massachusetts
  • Ammonia release from a pipeline in Iowa
  • Asphalt release from a barge in Virginia
  • Pesticide release from an ISO tank in South Carolina
  • Incidents and criminal investigations involving oil-water separator issues for tanker, cruise ship, and cargo ship operators
  • Incidents and criminal investigations involving Clean Water Act discharges, and Clean Air Act and CERCLA emissions and releases from chemical plants and refineries

Blank Rome Maritime attorneys have been involved in many of the most significant pollution incidents of the past century, including the Amoco Cadiz, Athos I, Cosco Busan, Deepwater Horizon, Exxon Valdez, San Jacinto, Morris J. Berman, Torrey Canyon, Nepco 140, and Amazon Venture spills.  Our Maritime Emergency Response Team (MERT) is prepared to immediately respond to any major casualty, incident, or investigations and we are well equipped to handle not only the civil consequences but also the potential criminal implications that are, more and more, a critical component of almost any incident.

We Understand What Is at Risk

When maritime companies and executives face civil and criminal charges, or when their companies are threatened by regulatory action, Blank Rome Maritime’s team is uniquely qualified with former federal prosecutors and with talented defense attorneys with previous service at the U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other U.S. federal and state agencies.  Our lawyers know the procedures and unwritten rules that govern investigations—knowledge that benefits clients who are targeted in civil and criminal proceedings and regulatory enforcement actions.

Government Investigations

We represent business entities and individuals that are, or may become, the focus of a government investigation.  We serve clients in all aspects of enforcement proceedings:  from dealing with routine inspections and pollution investigations, appealing Notices of Violation, and responding effectively to subpoenas and search warrants, to negotiating penalties and—when necessary—providing aggressive trial defense.

Internal Investigations

Blank Rome Maritime’s team also conducts sensitive corporate internal investigations when misconduct, or allegations of misconduct, arise.  We develop and analyze the factual and legal issues and develop strategies to help protect clients from exposure to criminal and civil liability, including assessing the merits of voluntary disclosures.  We develop creative solutions for problems identified during the internal investigation.  In high-profile cases, we are experienced in handling the media issues that can impact ongoing business operations.

With government’s increasing use of criminal statutes in the business arena, we emphasize awareness, compliance programs and training, and early intervention as critical factors in minimizing exposure to criminal prosecution.

Insurance Litigation

On behalf of both underwriters and claimants, including P&I Clubs,  we routinely handle litigation—administrative, civil, and criminal—involving pollution, collisions, allisions, cargo claims, and personal injury.  We are also regularly called upon to defend or issue opinions in marine insurance coverage matters on behalf of leading insurance companies.