May 12, 2015– On May 1st, the New York Maritime Consortium (a coalition of leaders from New York Maritime Inc. (NYMAR), the Society of Maritime Arbitrators (SMA), the Maritime Law Association (MLA) and the Association of Shipbrokers and Agents (ASBA)) hosted an event called “Seven Days in May: Resolving your Arbitration Insecurities.” A real world scenario involving a marine casualty was played out culminating in an arbitration hearing and award. In the words of NYMAR Chairman, Clay Maitland, it was a “Very Off- Broadway production”.
Industry professionals played the roles of participants in the events and hearing, which highlighted the benefits of New York arbitration. Throughout the program, which featured a combination of stage performances and video production written by Freehill Hogan & Mahar’s Don Murnane, the audience was asked to vote on how they would have acted in the circumstances and how they would resolve the disputes. The results of each vote were immediately tabulated and displayed.
Keith Heard of Burke & Parsons led the audience through the production as the narrator in a scenario involving the fictitious “Diligent Voyager”, a ship owned by “All Aces Chemical Carriers, Ltd.” (with Freehill Hogan & Mahar’s Bill Juska playing the role of the owner and chartered by “Fidelity Chartering, Ltd, ” represented by Charles Taylor P&I LeRoy Lambert) which is carrying a seemingly benign parcel of paraffin wax that ignites causing other tanks to explode just outside New York Harbor. Complicating the investigation is false testimony given by the Chief Mate (played by the SMA’s Tom Fox) and Third Mate (Holland & Knight’s Blythe Daly) as well as press coverage of the explosion and counsel retained by one of the accident’s victims (played by Liz Burrell). A panel of SMA Arbitrators composed of Robert Shaw (Panel Chairman), Molly McCafferty of Clipper Bulk Shipping, and Bengt Nergaard was assembled and duly sworn in. Counsel for the owner was played by Don Murnane with counsel for the Charterer played by Leo Kailas of Reitler, Kailas & Rosenblatt.
Jack Warfield, President of the SMA, felt that the event effectively highlighted the strengths of SMA Arbitration: “This event clearly demonstrated the SMA’s ability to arrange emergency hearings, issue subpoenas to have witnesses appear, and authorize the posting of security amongst other attributes.”
Click here to view the video of the event.
Sponsors of the event included ASBA; BIMCO; Burke & Parsons; Connecticut Maritime Association; Freehill Hogan & Mahar Law; Hill Betts & Nash; Hill Rivkins; Holland & Knight; K&L Gates; Lennon Murphy & Phillips; Marine Society of the City of New York; Morgan Stanley; Nicoletti Hornig & Sweeney; NYMAR; Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt; Sea Trade Holdings; SMA; and Tisdale Law Offices.
New York Maritime Consortium members include
New York Maritime Inc. (NYMAR), a member-based association of maritime companies in the greater metropolitan New York area whose goal is to promote the benefits of the region as a maritime business center in order to attract more businesses to share in the opportunities available in this robust area (www.nymar.org.);
The Society of Maritime Arbitrators (SMA), a professional non-profit organization that has achieved international recognition as a leading forum for the arbitration of maritime and commercial disputes with a mission to promulgate arbitration, mediation, and to establish commercially effective legal procedures for Alternative Dispute Resolution and trains and provides the maritime industry with experienced commercial professionals who resolve disputes in an impartial, timely and cost-efficient manner (www.smany.org);
The Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA) whose objectives include advancing reforms in maritime law of the United States, promoting uniformity in its enactment and interpretation, furnishing a forum for the consideration of problems affecting the law and its administration, and acting with other associations to bring about greater harmony in the shipping laws, regulations and practices of different nations (www.mlaus.org); and
ASBA, an independent membership trade association, established in 1934 that brings together member Ship Brokers, Agents and Affiliates with offices in the United States and Canada and advances and fosters the ideals and standards of professional conduct and practices and is a medium through which members with common interests can communicate (www.asba.org).