A Note From the Chair

Mainbrace | March 2017 (No. 2)

John D. Kimball

What’s different about “change” in 2017? It certainly seems that we need to redefine what we mean when we consider the term itself.

Shipping historically has been a conservative industry, but its adaptability over the long haul has been proven time and time again. Some sectors of the industry will be coming to this year’s CMA Shipping 2017 conference with a more buoyant step than we have seen in recent memory, and for good reason. Only time will tell if the global markets will create the right environment for a strong economic recovery. With the Trump administration promising fiscal stimulus and interest rates still at low levels, however, there is a feeling of optimism in the room. Continue reading “A Note From the Chair”

Ballast Water Management: Latest Developments and More Things You Should Know

Mainbrace | March 2017 (No. 2)

Jeanne M. Grasso

As briefly described in my recent January Mainbrace article, ballast water management has been one of the most challenging and oftentimes frustrating regulatory issues of the past decade. The principal reason is that the international regime under the International Maritime Organization’s (“IMO”) Convention on the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (“Convention”), and the U.S. regime under the National Invasive Species Act (“NISA”), are not quite in sync when it comes to approving equipment to meet the standards set forth in the Convention and the U.S. Coast Guard’s (“USCG”) NISA regulations.

Continue reading “Ballast Water Management: Latest Developments and More Things You Should Know”

Blockchain Technology: Securing and Transforming Commercial Transactions, and Its Implications for Maritime Trade

Mainbrace | March 2017 (No. 2)

Keith B. Letourneau

A recent news article about an oil commodities transaction sparked considerable interest in the maritime transportation sector when worldwide commodities trader Mercuria announced it would employ “blockchain” technology to carry it out. Previously, blockchain technology served as the foundation to secure bitcoin transactions. Now, this technology promises to supersede hundreds of years of maritime commercial practice by replacing bills of lading and attendant transactional documents and substituting a secure online mechanism to buy and sell goods. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal on November 7, 2016, wrote that “[t]oday, blockchain—the technology behind the digital currency bitcoin—might seem like a trinket for computer geeks. But once widely adopted, it will transform the world.”

Continue reading “Blockchain Technology: Securing and Transforming Commercial Transactions, and Its Implications for Maritime Trade”

Concurrent Plenary Insolvency Proceedings: Additional Options for Cross-Border Reorganization and Liquidation

Mainbrace | March 2017 (No. 2)

Michael B. Schaedle and Bryan J. Hall

For the most part, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code formally and specifically deals with cross-border cases through chapter 15, a statute based on the Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency promulgated by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (“UNCITRAL”) in 1997.1 The purpose of chapter 15 is to enhance cooperation between U.S. and foreign courts in connection with cross-border insolvencies to promote greater legal certainty for trade and investment, fairness, value optimization of a debtor’s assets, and the protection of investment and employment.2 Chapter 15 serves these goals by providing a foreign debtor’s representative with access to U.S. courts to assist a foreign main or non-main proceeding, which has been raised cross-border in a jurisdiction that is either the center of the debtor’s main interests or in which the debtor has an important facility.

Continue reading “Concurrent Plenary Insolvency Proceedings: Additional Options for Cross-Border Reorganization and Liquidation”

Innovative Uses of Chapter 15: Energy Coal and Vneshprombank

Mainbrace | March 2017 (No. 2)

Michael B. Schaedle and Rick Antonoff

Blank Rome has the distinction of representing the foreign representatives in two recent chapter 15 bankruptcy cases that broke new ground in U.S. law by being the first to recognize foreign insolvency proceedings under the newly revised insolvency law of Italy and a bank insolvency proceeding in Russia.

Revised Italian Insolvency Law (Concordato Preventivo)

Energy Coal is a petroleum coke and specialty fuel merchant and supplier based in Genova, Italy, with substantial business in the United States as well as a complex capital structure. When the Delaware Bankruptcy Court recognized Energy Coal’s concordato preventivo proceeding in Genoa, it was the first U.S. bankruptcy court to recognize a concordato preventivo since the recent amendments to the Italian Insolvency Law that were enacted to facilitate debt restructurings and distressed investing, while binding dissenting creditors to homologated arrangements.

Continue reading “Innovative Uses of Chapter 15: Energy Coal and Vneshprombank”

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments and Foreign Arbitral Awards in the United States

Mainbrace | March 2017 (No. 2)

William R. Bennett and Lauren B. Wilgus

Our clients regularly seek our assistance in recovering foreign arbitral awards and foreign judgments from debtors and/or their alleged alter egos in the United States. Each case has its unique facts that dictate the level of effort that we must make to bring about a successful outcome. For example, obtaining a recovery from an alleged alter ego may require a Rule B attachment followed by significant factual discovery, while obtaining a recovery from a debtor with assets and business connections in the United States may require less effort. Regardless of the facts that may be unique to each matter, the basic framework to seek a recovery, discussed herein below, is the same.

The United States has been a signatory of the 1958 United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (“New York Convention”) since 1970; however, it is not currently party to any international treaty for the recognition of foreign judgments. Unlike foreign arbitral awards, which are governed by the New York Convention, no treaty outlines the circumstances under which U.S. courts may recognize foreign judgments. In the United States, for instance, only the principle of comity, the common law, and individual states’ laws allow U.S. courts to recognize and enforce foreign judgments.

Continue reading “Enforcement of Foreign Judgments and Foreign Arbitral Awards in the United States”

U.S. Coast Guard Proposes Significant Updates to Marine Casualty Reporting Damage Thresholds

Mainbrace | March 2017 (No. 2)

Sean T. Pribyl and Jeanne M. Grasso

01n January 23, 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) that proposes to amend the monetary property damage threshold amounts for reporting a marine casualty and serious marine incident (“SMI”). ­Industry stakeholders should be aware of the significant changes in the NPRM, potentially easing the reporting burden.

Continue reading “U.S. Coast Guard Proposes Significant Updates to Marine Casualty Reporting Damage Thresholds”