Sensor Ships: Managing Big Data Generated in the Maritime World

Vanessa C. DiDomenico, Karen H. Shin, and Sharon R. Klein


Big data is not a “trend” or fad; big data is a concept of gathering, deciphering, and analyzing massive quantities of information to ultimately reveal patterns and associations, and it’s here to stay. Companies have proven how useful it can be to interpret performance trends to expose areas of vulnerability or underperformance within a company. Big data can be used to make strategic decisions within a company’s operating profile. In particular, the maritime industry is using big data to revolutionize the way engine performance and maintenance is carried out aboard vessels. Understanding how to effectively capture data—and the risks involved—will enable users to apply big data in ways never considered before.

The Value of Big Data

The maritime industry has progressed at a moderately stable speed with various innovations to proven mechanical systems, such as energy reducing pumps and updated models of equipment; however, compared to other industries it is decades behind digitally. To capitalize on the benefits of big-data technology, maritime companies must define the goals they will achieve, such as reducing fuel consumption. By clearly defining a goal, systems can be constructed to deliver the required data points.

Once the goals are defined, sensors and instruments can be installed onboard to capture new data points that, when spliced with existing readings already extracted from the vessel’s automation, such as weather patterns and engine load signals, create interconnected data ecosystems that can be used to examine performance.

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Must Foreign Debtors Have U.S. Property to be Eligible for Relief under Chapter 15?

Rick Antonoff and Evan Jason Zucker


Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code provides a streamlined process for recognition (a form of comity) of a foreign insolvency proceeding. However, courts are divided as to whether a foreign debtor must satisfy the general definition of “debtor” as that term is used in section 109(a) of the Bankruptcy Code, which requires a debtor seeking bankruptcy relief to reside or have a domicile, a place of business, or property in the United States.

On February 28, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida (the “Florida District Court”) ruled that section 109(a) does not apply in chapter 15 cases. Talas Qais Abulmunem Al Zawawi v. Diss, et al. (In re Talas Qais Abdulmunem Al Zawawi), Case No. 21-894-GAP (M.D. Fla. Feb. 28, 2022). The court relied on a straightforward interpretation of section 1517(a)’s mandatory criteria, finding that chapter 15 “provides the sole requirements for recognition” and that recognition is not premised upon a foreign debtor meeting section 109(a) requirements for eligibility. The Florida District Court’s opinion conflicts with an opinion rendered in 2013 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (the “Second Circuit”) in the case Drawbridge Special Opportunities Fund L.P. v. Barnet (In re Barnet), 737 F.3d 238 (2d Cir 2013), which held that section 109(a) is applicable in chapter 15. Al Zawawi is the latest in a string of judicial opinions and scholarly articles, disagreeing with the Second Circuit’s decision in Barnet. See In re Bemarmara Consulting a.s., Case No. 13-13037 (Bankr. D. Del. Dec. 17, 2013); Daniel M. Glosband and Jay Lawrence Westbrook, Chapter 15 Recognition in the United States: Is a Debtor “Presence” Required?, 24 Int’l Insolv. Rev. 28 (2015). See also, Douglas G. Baird, Revisions to Chapter 15 of the Bankruptcy Code, at 4–7 (letter from National Bankruptcy Conference to Congress proposing Bankruptcy Code revision to clarify that section 109(a) does not apply in chapter 15 cases).

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Chambers Global 2022 Ranks Blank Rome Attorneys and Shipping and Energy Practices

Chambers Global 2022 recognized the following partners for their industry knowledge and leading practices, as well as Blank Rome LLP as a global leader in Shipping: Litigation and USA leader in Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation).

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Blank Rome Earns Perfect Score in 2022 Corporate Equality

Firm Receives 100 Percent for the Seventh Year in a Row on Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Annual Scorecard on LGBTQ+ Workplace Equality

Blank Rome LLP is proud to announce that our firm has received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2022 Corporate Equality Index (“CEI”), the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey and report measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign (“HRC”) Foundation. With this score, Blank Rome has been designated for the seventh year in a row as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality” by the HRC, and joins the ranks of major U.S. businesses that also earned top marks this year.

To learn more about this honor, visit our website.

Blank Rome Announces 2022 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow and Pathfinders

Megan R. Wood
Saloni R. Patel
Samar Aryani-Sabet

Blank Rome LLP is pleased to announce that the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (“LCLD”) has selected Megan R. Wood to join the 2022 LCLD Fellows Program and Saloni R. Patel and Samar Aryani-Sabet to join the 2022 LCLD Pathfinder Program. These hallmark programs are dedicated to producing a generation of attorneys with strong leadership and relationship skills who are committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion within their individual institutions and throughout the legal industry. 

“We are thrilled to have Megan, Saloni, and Samar represent Blank Rome in the 2022 LCLD Fellows Program and Pathfinder Program,” said Grant S. Palmer, Blank Rome’s Managing Partner and CEO. “They have all demonstrated a real commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at our firm, throughout the legal industry, and within their local communities, and we look forward to celebrating their successful achievements in this critical mission in the years to come.”

“As a longstanding LCLD member organization, Blank Rome is more committed than ever to accelerating diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the organization, legal industry, and beyond,” said Krystal Studavent Ramsey, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Blank Rome. “The retention, development, and advancement of our diverse attorneys is at the core of our firm’s culture and mission, and we are proactively engaged in identifying, implementing, and supporting new opportunities through progressive programs, policies, and initiatives such as the LCLD Fellows and Pathfinders programs.”

To read more about the program and Megan, Saloni, and Samar, please visit our website.

Blank Rome Newsletters

The BR Privacy & Security Download We invite you to read our April 2022 edition of The BR Privacy & Security Download, the monthly digital newsletter of Blank Rome’s Privacy, Security & Data Protection practice, which covers current trends and updates in the areas of state, local, and federal laws and regulations, U.S. litigation and enforcement, and international laws and regulations, as well as the group’s recent events and webinars, media activity, and news. Read More »

The BR State + Local Tax Spotlight Welcome to the March 2022 edition of The BR State + Local Tax Spotlight, our monthly newsletter from Blank Rome’s State + Local Tax team that highlights important State + Local Tax developments across numerous jurisdictions and provides updates on significant legislative developments and judicial decisions that could impact business operations. Read More »

Severe Weather Emergency Recovery Team (“SWERT”)

SWERT is an interdisciplinary group of Blank Rome attorneys and government relations professionals with decades of experience helping companies and individuals recover from severe weather events, including recent hurricanes, wildfires, and mudslides across the United States. We are ready to assist those in the path of storms and other severe weather events. 

Learn more at blankrome.com/SWERT.

Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) Task Force

From supply chain disruption, government-ordered closures, and event cancellations to employee safety concerns, vaccine requirements, and social distancing recommendations, every company is facing its own unique challenges surrounding this ongoing global pandemic. Blank Rome’s Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) Task Force is monitoring this ever-changing situation and is here to help. 

Learn more at blankrome.com/covid19.

Blank Rome’s Maritime Industry Team

Our maritime industry team is composed of practice-focused subcommittees from across many of our firm’s offices, with attorneys who have extensive capabilities and experience in the maritime industry and beyond, effectively complementing Blank Rome Maritime’s client cases and transactions. 

Download our Maritime Industry Team flyer for a detailed listing.

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