Admiralty and Maritime Law

Maritime Personal Injury

We represent vessel owners and charterers in defending seaman and passenger suits, as well as longshore and harbor worker personal injury cases. Our experience includes investigations aboard containerships, tankers, bulk carriers, cruise ships, and fishing vessels, and at sea terminals.

Carriage of Goods by Sea

Our attorneys have handled hundreds of ocean and inland cargo damage suits in state and federal courts. We have vast experience with U.S. COGSA, the Pomerene Act, the Hague Rules, COGWA, the Carmack Amendment, and other governing carriage legislation. We closely monitor developments in the law, including the “Rotterdam Rules”, which may soon become law in the United States.

Collision and Marine Casualties

Due to our knowledge of ship handling, seamanship and marine investigation, Swain & Dipolito LLP is uniquely qualified to investigate and handle maritime casualties, as well as resulting general average claims, limitation of liability actions, hull and cargo damage claims, and U.S. Coast Guard investigations.

Hull and Machinery Claims

Swain & Dipolito represents vessel owners and marine underwriters in hull and machinery claims involving loss or damage to ships, fishing vessels, work boats, and pleasure craft. We defend and prosecute hull and machinery claims in state and federal courts.

Freight, Demurrage and Defense

Although most charterparty disputes are subject to arbitration in other jurisdictions, we are frequently asked to assist London solicitors and New York arbitration counsel in obtaining security in California for arbitration awards. We prosecute actions under Rule B to secure property, such as cargo or containers, and obtain jurisdiction over absent maritime defendants. We defend shipowners in vessel arrests arising out of bunkering, wharfage, pilotage, stevedoring, and other maritime contract or lien claims. Importantly, we also prosecute freight and demurrage collection cases under ocean bills of lading and charterparties. We have collected over $1 million in ocean freight and demurrage for shipowners.

Immigration, Customs, and Shipping Regulation

Swain & Dipolito offers immigration and other corporate assistance to foreign shipowners seeking to place foreign citizens with U.S. subsidiary companies. We also handle matters involving stowaways, crewmembers seeking refuge or political asylum, and related civil penalty and repatriation issues. Our attorneys have handled U.S. Customs seizures and drug and contraband smuggling cases. We have also represented owners and crewmembers in connection with alien smuggling operations on containerships. We can also guide shipowners through regulatory proceedings and rate issues before the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission.