Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich is a market leader in advising all participants in the shipping industry. We combine private practice, in-house and insurance maritime expertise to deliver results to clients on a broad range of issues in the shipping sector.

This includes transactional, front-end advice, putting shipping projects together, through to handling disputes that may arise.

We are the only law firm that has been ranked by Legal 500 for their shipping work in both England and the US, and Chambers & Partners also ranks us in the US, with an individual partner also recognised on both sides of the Atlantic. Our unique transatlantic offering is testament to our commitment to this area of law. Many clients come to us to handle cases that involve both English and US law, leveraging our dual capability and achieving costs efficiencies.

Carriage contract disputes are invariably on the firm’s books at any given time. This dry shipping experience complements our wet shipping work managing and advising on major casualties, collisions, local authorities’ investigations, damage claims, personal injury defense, and other catastrophic events. A highly creative and successful approach to securing assets for clients in precarious circumstances (or defending security actions) sets us apart and leads to regular, repeat business.

Carriage and Freight Contract Disputes

We have extensive experience acting on the full range of shipping contract disputes. Those include bills of lading, charterparties, contracts of affreightment, letters of indemnity, seawaybills, and bills of exchange.

Under time charterparty disputes, our work encompasses off-hire issues, advising on withdrawal for non-payment of hire, re-delivery issues, hold cleanliness cases, speed and performance warranties and much more.

In respect of voyage charterparites, we act on demurrage claims, claims relating to payment of freight or deadfreight and missed cargoes. We also act for clients in respect of bill of lading claims, including mis-delivery or damage to cargo.

Shipping disputes regularly involve arbitration (LMAA, LCIA, ICC, SMA, AAA, SIAC, HKIAC, CIETAC and ad hoc), as well as litigation and conservatory measures in the English courts, and the US federal and state courts.

Back to top

Asset Security and Enforcement Actions

A successful claim means an actual return. Not just the paper an award is written on.

Across our office jurisdictions and working closely with our local network, we act swiftly, accurately and where necessary, assertively to secure our client’s position. We are recognised as market-leaders in US security actions, including enforcement actions against ‘alter-ego’ defendants by piercing the corporate veil.

Our security actions involve vessel arrests, asserting liens over cargo, sub-freights and sub-hires, securing attachments over business receivables or attaching other assets belonging to the defendant. We frequently do so in the backdrop of insolvency, including actions to unwind potentially fraudulent transfers and to trace funds so that our clients can make a full recovery.

Obtaining security requires a blend of creativity and forensic study. We combine these attributes to enforce claims and turn judgments into money.

Back to top

Shipping contracts – advisory and projects

We have extensive experience of charterparty negotiations and drafting. We perform various roles in the charterparty process – from leading negotiations with the counterparty and the drafting exercise to advising behind the scene on specific clauses. We have been involved in countless long-term and short-term charter negotiations both from an in-house and a private practice perspective and consider ourselves well-placed to work efficiently with our clients to finalise the contracts accurately and promptly.

Back to top

Shipbuilding, Ship Sale and Purchase

We have experience acting on both sides of newbuild transactions: both for major shipyards and for purchasing vessel owners. We advise buyers during the transaction period and have acted for buyers in respect of warranty claims following delivery.

We also advise on disputes relating to ship sale agreements, including issues relating to vessel condition and sellers’ delivery obligations.

Back to top

Ship Finance and Mortgage Enforcement

Our Shipping team are experts in enforcement actions, either in our office jurisdictions or further afield (working in close contact with known and trusted foreign lawyers).

We have acted for a series of major financing institutions in obtaining a recovery against vessel portfolios. Our experience includes overseeing the entire process, from an initial letter of default to a court ordered sale of a vessel. Our approach is to maximise recovery, while minimising risk to the lender.

We also have considerable experience advising on ship finance transactions, loan agreements and ship mortgages.

Back to top

Casualties, Collisions and Oil Spills

Casualties, collisions and oil pollution claims require an urgent and considered response. We act swiftly, always cognisant that the first priority in any casualty situation is the safety of the vessel and crew.

As we have held the command position in these emergency situations, we are adept at managing the various interested parties, including responders, salvors, technical experts, investigatory bodies, media relations, insurers/P&I Clubs and the corporate clients and counterparties.

Evidence gathering, protecting and preserving is another aspect. Such steps as: securing witness statements, relevant vessel documents, attending witness interviews by investigative authorities and liaising closely with other concerned parties in the immediate aftermath to obtain information. Each casualty response demands a different approach. Our experience makes us adaptable.

We can be contacted in an emergency at our 24/7 phone line: +1 917 868 1245 or +44 7920 519 233.

Back to top

Personal Injury defense

Personal injury and wrongful death verdicts have reached all-time highs.

Whether defending against maritime personal injury claims on the water, or injuries suffered in over-the-road accidents, lawyers at Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich have the experience and know-how to investigate the incident, identify critical defenses at an early stage, and protect the interests and assets of our clients. Our attorneys regularly appear in state and federal courts throughout the country, achieving excellent results as efficiently as possible.

Our lawyers stand ready to respond to maritime incidents, preserving critical evidence, interviewing witnesses and assisting with US Coast Guard investigations. We defend clients in court cases involving Jones Act and LHWCA 905(b) claims, and injury and death actions resulting from vessel accidents.

In addition, we represent transportation and logistics companies involved in injury claims on land. Our clients include carriers, brokers and equipment owners throughout the US. We vigorously defend claims in court, preserve contractual and equitable claims against responsible parties, and assist insurers in analysing the merits to set appropriate reserves.

Relying on industry experience and legal expertise, we are proud to serve as the “go to” lawyers for P&I Clubs, insurance companies and companies that serve the maritime and transportation industries.

Back to top
Philip Vagin
Associate - New York
Andrea de la Brena
Partner - Mexico City
Timothy S. McGovern
Partner - Chicago
Shannen Trout
Trainee Solicitor - London
Nicholas Paine
Of Counsel - New York, Houston
Luke Zadkovich
Partner - New York, London, Sydney
Katherine Georginis
Associate - Chicago
Jonas S. Patzwall
Associate - New York
Gerold Zeiler
Partner - New York, Vienna
Eva-Maria Mayer
Associate - New York
Edward W. Floyd
Partner - New York
Damon Thompson
Partner - London
Carolina Palacios
Senior Associate - London
Calum Cheyne
Associate - London
Alfred Siwy
Partner - Vienna, London
Aiden Lerch
Associate - London, Sydney
  • Assessing criminal and civil options, and coordinating an asset seizure search and attach strategy in Mexico for a major case for shipowners pursuing a Chinese mining conglomerate in Mexico. The underlying case involved allegations of cartel cooperation and fraudulent dissipation of assets (USD 2.5 million).

  • Representation of Asian governmental energy entity in Coronavirus related advice reagrding current portfolio of charter parties.

  • Representation of major international LNG supplier in Coronavirus related advice on Indian customs regulations regarding presence of armed guards and piracy prevention personnel, off hire and risk assessment.

  • Representation of major Central European Energy Company in relation to a failure to load at a North African LNG terminal. The issue was successfully resolved with the client being “kept whole” and the terms of loading and delivery of the cargo re-negotiated.

  • Representation and assisting the representation of several clients in several US Federal District Courts regarding seeking of security for underlying claims by way of maritime attachment proceedings.

  • Representation of International bank involving actions under the Insolvency Act 1986 to unwind a transaction at an undervalue/a transaction entered into with intent to defraud creditors. Part of a broader coordinated global approach to enforce a claim against an insolvent entity.

  • Representation of a major US oil refinery in relation to disputes under their shipping contracts during the COVID-19 crisis. The dispute related to delays under a bespoke charterparty.

  • Pursued a claim for major US commodities trading house for damages in respect of late delivery / unseaworthiness against vessel owners in LMAA arbitration proceedings. Also handled negotiations with Mediterranean receivers. Brought related actions in Texas and Turkey for discovery and vessel arrest against the owners.

  • Commenced ad hoc London arbitration proceedings for an Italian coal trader claiming wrongful arrest in respect of a time charterparty. Involved complex conflict of laws questions.

  • Pursued a large energy company for shipowner clients seeking damages arising due to delay / fire to a terminal in Brazil. We intervened into related English Court of Appeal proceedings and obtained a favourable outcome.

  • Representatin of a major Korean shipyard in arbitral proceedings against a Dutch shipbuilding conglomerate regarding a share purchase agreement (ICC).

  • Assessing the laws on lifting the corporate veil on companies in Mexico for a major shipping demurrage case, where the underlying cargo interests were not in a position to accept delivery and the vessel carrying crude ended up waiting for months before discharge could occur (USD 3+ million).

  • Advised a major international trading house (Singaporean plc), in respect of a cargo claim against vessel owners. Travelled to Lagos and Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to take evidence from our trading clients, surveyors, port terminal operators and harbour masters. In the arbitration proceedings, the Owners counter-claimed for wrongful arrest in Nigeria / breach of London arbitration agreement.

  • Advising a catering service company for cruise ships on matters of employment law and industrial relations, including the applicability of Austrian collective bargaining agreement to their employees.

  • Acted for Owners in relation to a vessel collision, involving issues of English, US and Australian law. The dispute involved complex claims in General Average, under a Charterparty and under Bills of Lading.

  • Advised major LNG chartering company on midterm charter parties with multinational oil trading company.

  • Representation of major Danish shipowner in an off-hire and performance dispute which threw to both US and English jurisdictions.

  • Acted for a Belgian/Turkish shipowner in relation to outstanding sums under a series of charter parties.  Obtained an award in the client’s favor. The matter involved dispute over jurisdiction, overdue hire payments and the validity of an assignment.

  • Representation of major international LNG supplier and charterer on their position in respect of a multi-million dollar off-hire claim. The dispute turned on bespoke off-hire wording and complex legal questions in LCIA arbitration.

  • Representation of major international LNG supplier and charterer in drafting and negotiating long term charters for four new-build LNG carriers.

  • Defense of logistics company against claims involving a cargo of copper that disappeared from a container in transit. Enforced package limitation under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act and won appeal before Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

  • Advised Italian shipowner on sanctions related to trade in South and Middle America.

  • Advised major European shipping company on the provision of an insurance product in England, Australia and the United States.

  • Representation of European bank regarding recovery of a multi-million dollar claim against an insolvent entity under claims relating to mis-delivery of cargo. Assertively pursued security actions against possible assets and successfully obtained an attachment over assets belonging to an alter-ego in a US targeting a vessel in the Southern District of Texas. In a reported decision, successfully defeated post-discovery motion to vacate seizure order and dismiss action. Global litigation included proceedings in UK and East Asia.

  • Representation of Italian shipowners in defense of numerous cargo claims resulting from signficant vessel incident involving major container loss.

  • Advised on and drafted protective clauses for a major US oil refinery in relation to risk under their shipping contracts during the Covid-19 crisis.

  • Negotiated and drafted multi-million-dollar offshore services contract on behalf of vessel-owner client.

  • Acted for a Norwegian chartering company in four separate arbitrations/charters.  Issues include failure to nominate, coercion to pay outstanding demurrage, failure to pass on money received from sub-charterers and receipt of fund by agents for principals. There were separate Norwegian proceedings for security.

  • Advised client shipowner on various cabotage issues in multiple jurisdictions.

  • Advised a major Polish chemical company, as charterers, in relation to an LMAA arbitration claim brought by the Owners for demurrage and other outstandings.

  • Representation of major international LNG supplier in negotiations of several charter parties with Indian oil corporation.

  • Representation of global energy major in an LMAA arbitration in a long-term charterparty dispute for a LNG carrier.

  • Representation of European ro-ro operator and logistics services provider in relation to a multi-jurisdictional dispute arising from container damage at the Port of Cork, UK.

  • Represented charterers in a case ultimately determined by the Court of Appeal. The case involved a point of general application in relation to the Barecon 89 form, and turned on the construction of the requirement for the vessel to remain in class.

  • Acted for client on a multi-million dollar dispute relating to an FPSO vessel re-fit. The case involved a detailed and technical review of claims arising out of a series of variation orders, and a detailed legal analysis of the overarching nature of the contract.

  • Advised Skandinavian shipowner regarding informal arrest of vessel in Venezuela on claims of “stolen cargo” valued at several million USD.

  • Defended oil spill indemnification claims against client time charterer following oil spill event on Mississippi.

  • Representation of Asian shipowner in US federal litigation brought against a publicly traded US minerals and mining company in connection with the pursuit of fraudulent transfer claims. In a reported decision, successfully defeated summary judgment motion made by defendant.

  • Secured a settlement at almost the entire value of the claim for a major shipping operator in respect of a shortage claim under bills of lading.

  • Defended an ICC arbitration claim for our Egyptian trader clients, as sellers, for short shipment under a sale and purchase contract.

  • Obtained dismissals based on U.S. maritime law defenses resulting in reduction of client’s damages from multimillion-dollar jury verdict to less than $300,000.00 in a lawsuit by former Jones Act employee and family.

  • Advising Mexican subsidiary of a major Austrian group in the oil drilling industry on its day-to-day corporate and employment issues, including the drafting and reviewing of master sales agreements that contain provisions stipulating specific timeframes and transportation information for delivery and return of rental equipment, as well as other complex commercial contracts.

  • Representation of major LNG supplier on a 15-year Gas Sales Agreement and Terminal Use Agreement for supply of LNG/natural gas in West Africa The project involved intense time pressure; technical and contractual complexity with a Floating Storage Unit and a Floating Regasification Unit and the trader client retaining title to the LNG/gas during the regasification process; local legal requirements; and inherent political and regulatory risk.

  • Representation of US energy major in defense of general average claims following vessel grounding. Claims not pursued following aggressive pursuit of international discovery and investigation. Handled global coordination of legal and investigatory team.

  • Defended demurrage claim based on a series of long-term delays at various load/discharge ports. Developing arguments based on tendering of an invalid NOR and deploying compelling fact-based evidence to fall within an exemption to demurrage

  • Advised coal trader on a 1.5 year coal supply contract dispute against the receiver. The receiver argued repudiation for alleged fraudulent conduct, namely backdating a B/L. Client claimed damages for wrongful repudiation in LCIA proceedings. There were related LMAA arbitration proceedings and UK court proceedings for freezing orders and vessel arrest.

  • Advised shipowner clients and its P&I Club on a cargo misdelivery claim and associated indemnity action.  The bill holders’ claim was subject to LMAA arbitration proceedings and the indemnity proceedings were before the English High Court.  Our client obtained freezing orders against the commodities trader in England, enforced those in Switzerland and Rule B attachments against the indemnifying party in the US, having defended a sister-ship arrest in Morocco and related proceedings in Dakar.

  • Obtained dismissal of employee’s workers’ compensation claim for Longshore Act employer client at trial level, resulting in settlement for amounts previously paid following appeal of court’s dismissal.

  • Representation of a Singaporean shipping company with its main seat of business in London in enforcement and recognition of foreign award proceedings (USD 5.7 million, Mexican courts).

  • Advised a large US commodities trader in an arbitration claim for overpaid hire and bunkers on a time charterparty. This involved insolvency proceedings in Greece and various actions for security.

    Chambers & Partners USA 2020

    • Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich
      Ranked firm (Band 3 - US Nationwide Shipping/Maritime)
      “A boutique firm with specialist expertise in maritime and admiralty law… Stands out in the market for its combined focus on English and US maritime logistics and trading cases.” Notable practitioner – Ed Floyd and Luke Zadkovich
    • Edward Floyd
      Ranked Individual (Band 4 - US Nationwide Shipping/Maritime)
      “Ed Floyd has noteworthy experience advising clients on maritime and trading law. His broad practice covers cargo damage and loss, charter party disputes and sanctions advice.”
    • Luke Zadkovich
      Ranked Individual (Band 4 - US Nationwide Shipping/Maritime)
      “Luke Zadkovich is frequently engaged in complex cargo disputes as part of his broader shipping and maritime practice. He also provides strong guidance to clients on English maritime law.”
    • Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich
      Tier 3 Firm in Transport: Shipping - Litigation and regulation
      “[T]he team is noted for its ability to advise on US and UK law, working in conjunction with its counterpart in the firm’s London office.  The firm is led by name partners Luke Zadkovich and Edward Floyd: Zadkovich has previous experience working at a major P&I Club…”
    • Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich
      Tier 3 Firm in Transport: Shipping - Litigation and regulation
      “From its base in New York, the team has expanded quickly over the past couple of years, having opened an office in Chicago with the hire of Timothy McGovern from Swanson, Martin & Bell; and then establishing an office in Houston in 2020. In addition to its expansion across the US, the team is noted for its ability to advise on US and UK law [...]"
    • Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich
      Tier 5 Firm
      “For shipping, the team... is 'knowledgeable, personable and hardworking, with a genuine dedication to its clients, and a commercially astute understanding of their needs'.”
  • Ed Floyd presents at event for US intel community

    Ed Floyd presents at event for US intel community

    Partner Edward Floyd had the honor this week of briefing a great group from the US intel community on the interrelation between maritime law and national security.

  • ICA Claims – Preserving Time

    ICA Claims – Preserving Time

    The inter-club agreement is designed to prevent litigation. It normally does so, so any reporting providing further clarity is welcome.

  • Uncertainty Around BIMCO’s Non-Payment of Hire Clause

    Uncertainty Around BIMCO’s Non-Payment of Hire Clause

    The vessel was time-chartered on an NYPE form containing the BIMCO Non-Payment of Hire Clause. Hire was payable 15 days in advance, every 15 days.

  • We publish an article in Tulane Maritime Law Journal, vol. 44

    We publish an article in Tulane Maritime Law Journal, vol. 44

    Lerch, Zadkovich and Floyd (authors), “International Uniformity and Maritime Liens over Cargo: An Ocean Not Easily Navigated”, Tulane Maritime Law Journal [44 TUL. MAR. L.J. 251 (2020)].

  • We publish an article in Tulane Maritime Law Journal, vol. 44

    We publish an article in Tulane Maritime Law Journal, vol. 44

    “International Uniformity and Maritime Liens
    over Cargo: An Ocean Not Easily Navigated”
    We are excited to share our full journal article published by the prestigious and highly acclaimed Tulane Maritime Law Journal [44 TUL. MAR. L.J. 251 (2020)], co-authored by Aiden Lerch, Luke Zadkovich and Edward Floyd.

  • Two Minute Case-Law: The “Alpha Harmony”

    Two Minute Case-Law: The “Alpha Harmony”

    The “Alpha Harmony” was a lesson in paying close attention to the Laycan provisions in voyage charterparties. The Vessel tendered NOR on a Sunday morning. Charterers under both a Head Charter and a Sub-Charter had a right to cancel later on the Sunday (12:00 under the sub-charter; 23:59 under the head charter). Charterers under each Charterparty purported to cancel.

  • HOT OFF THE PRESS

    HOT OFF THE PRESS

    US Supreme Court decides that the safe berth clause establishes a warranty of safety. A monumental, yet widely expected, decision.

  • Coronavirus and Force Majeure

    Coronavirus and Force Majeure

    It has been widely reported that LNG receivers in China have recently declared force majeure on LNG contracts due to disruptions caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) which has now been given the official name COVID-19 (“novel coronavirus”). This was done after force majeure certificates were issued from the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (“CCPIT”), with the approval of China’s Ministry of Commerce.

  • BIMCO Sanctions Clause 2020

    BIMCO Sanctions Clause 2020

    BIMCO rounded off 2019 by releasing an overhaul of the BIMCO Sanctions Clause. Owners previously held the right to ignore charterers’ orders based on owners’ “reasonable judgment”. That right is removed. This will be of some comfort to charterers, who will be pleased to see the back of a subjective test in owners’ favour.

  • A Cautionary Tale – Exxon Mobil wins rare victory in US sanctions matter

    A Cautionary Tale – Exxon Mobil wins rare victory in US sanctions matter

    This note reports on an interesting and important US federal court decision concerning sanctions enforcement and, significantly, a rare instance of a business challenging OFAC’s interpretation of a US sanctions regime. Exxon was successful in voiding a US$2 million sanctions penalty. However, for the rest of us this case demonstrates why caution around sanctions remains of paramount importance.