Admiralty, Maritime, and Transportation counseling and litigation in the Commonwealth and Federal Courts and administrative government agencies.

Since opening our doors in 1968 Jiménez, Graffam & Lausell has maintained an intensive admiralty practice. Our office is the only active law firm in Puerto Rico with such an extensive history and experience in the maritime field. Our maritime practitioners are highly experienced and thoroughly prepared.

The scope of matters we handle is wide and diverse:

  • Collision and allision cases
  • Ship groundings
  • Cargo claims
  • Personal injury actions
  • Merchant seaman claims
  • Multiparty and mass tort actions
  • Shipowner Limitation of Liability actions
  • Environmental damage claims
  • Ship sales and financing
  • Charter party agreements and disputes
  • Terminal permits and licenses
  • Port State Control inspections
  • Marine terminal lease, construction and operation
  • Trailer interchange agreements and related litigation
  • Maritime contract disputes
  • Maritime insurance coverage disputes
  • Administrative practice before local and federal government agencies
  • United States Coast Guard, National Transportation Safety Board investigations, and Chemical Safety Board.
Ocean Eagle oil tanker wreakage at the San Juan Harbor, 1968.

The Jiménez, Graffam & Lausell admiralty practice has no equal in Puerto Rico. Since its founding it has been involved in complex, groundbreaking and precedent setting litigation.

Our maritime attorneys have taught admiralty and maritime law in local law schools, have appeared as speakers in international maritime forums and seminars, and have participated in drafting local maritime regulations. They have been called upon to represent vessels and underwriters’ interests throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America. Notwithstanding strong diversification into other areas, JGL boasts a proud history of robust and continuing participation in this field.

JGL has participated in every major maritime casualty in Puerto Rico in the last 50 years, from the OCEAN EAGLE oil spill at the entrance of San Juan Harbor in 1968, to the Shipowners Limitation of Liability action in 2009 regarding the explosion and fire at the Caribbean Petroleum Refinery tank storage facility involving more than 4,000 claimants. Between 1997 and 2009, JGL represented ship interests in sixteen major groundings incidents.

Our admiralty attorneys are prepared to handle any and all issues in the maritime field in both the Commonwealth and Federal Courts. From the small survey coordination or cargo claim action; to the single party or mass tort and multi-party litigation action. The spectrum of matters handled by our maritime attorneys includes: collision and allision cases, ship groundings; OWS investigations; cargo claims; personal injury actions; multiparty and mass tort actions; Shipowners Limitation of Liability actions; environmental damage claims; ship sales and financing; charter party agreements; terminal permits and licenses; marine terminal leases, construction and operation; trailer interchange agreements and related litigation; maritime contract disputes; maritime insurance coverage disputes; administrative practice before Commonwealth and Federal Government Agencies; and on board investigations and attendance to United States Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board investigations and public hearings.

Leading Cases

Response and related litigation on behalf of ship interests in allisions, collisions, drug or contraband seizures, fires and explosions, groundings, oil spills, OWS (MARPOL) violations, stowaways, and other marine casualties in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and other Caribbean Islands, include, among others:

  • M/T ALBINONI (Fire and Explosion/Sinking), Dominican Republic in 1994
  • MORRIS J. BERMAN (Oil Spill/OPA’90), San Juan, PR in 1994
  • VOLCAN DE TENEGUIA (Grounding), Dominican Republic 1996
  • FORTUNA REEFER (Grounding), Mona Island in 1997
  • KAPITAN EGOROV (Grounding), Port of Guayanilla, PR in 1998
  • AUTHOR (Grounding), Port of Ponce, PR in 1998
  • SERGO ZACKARIADZE (Grounding), Port of San Juan, PR in 1999
  • BT NEPTUNE (Grounding), Port of San Juan, PR in 1999
  • M/V BOLERO (Grounding), St. Marteen in 1999
  • NP UNITY (Grounding), Dominican Republic in 1998
  • M/V MISTRAL (Grounding), Nevis, 2001
  • M/V PROVIDENCE (Grounding), Port of San Juan, PR in 2002
  • KNOCK DUN (Grounding), Antigua in 2002
  • KENT RELIANT (Grounding), Port of San Juan, PR in 2003
  • MARGARA (Grounding), Port of Guayanilla, PR in 2006
  • TUG EL MORRO (Fire), Barahona, Dominican Republic in 2006
  • CARIBBEAN BARGE, (Grounding) Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic in 2007
  • M/T GENMAR PROGRESS (Oil Spill/OPA’90), Guayanilla, PR in 2007
  • M/V SPORTSQUEEN (OWS), Port of San Juan, PR in 2007
  • M/V HARNS (Grounding), Silver Banks, Dominican Republic in 2009
  • MATTHEW LNG Tanker (Grounding), Port of Guayanilla, PR in 2009
  • M/T PORT STEWART (Grounding), Port of Yabucoa, PR in 2009
  • CCNI VADU LIGURE (OWS), Port of San Juan, PR in 2010
  • M/V DELTUVA (OWS), Port of San Juan, PR in 2010
  • STI BATTERY (Allision Oil Dock), Port of San Juan, PR in 2015
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. The S.S. ZOE COLOCOTRONI
628 F.2d 652 (1st Cir. 1980)
Leading case on measure of damages for environmental claims.
Puerto Rico Ports Authority v. M/V MANHATTAN PRINCE et. al.
897 F.2d 1 (1st Cir. 1990)
Allision incident fault allocation case.
In re Cape Bruny Tankschiffarts GMBH and Co. KG
Civil No. 10-1337 (USDC-PR 2009)
Shipowners Limitation of Liability action involving over 4,000 claims as consequence of explosion/fire in tank farm storage facility.
EAC Timberlane v. Pisces Ltd.
580 F. Supp. 99 (USDC-PR 1983); 745 F.2d 715 (1st Cir.1984)
Full exoneration from the explosion and total loss of the M/V EVA MARIA.
Matter of Baja Ferries S.A. De C.V.
Civil No. 17-1172 (USDC-PR 2016)
Shipowners Limitation of Liability action (over 250 claims as consequence of a fire aboard a passenger/cargo ferry).
Santos v. America Cruise Ferries
100 F.Supp.3d 96 (D.P.R. 2015)
Injury on the high seas; survival and non-pecuniary damages are not recoverable under the general maritime law.

Admiralty Attorneys

Our maritime attorneys have taught admiralty law in local universities and appeared as speakers in international maritime seminars. Our maritime attorneys have been called upon to represent vessels and underwriters in other Caribbean venues, as well as in Central and South America. Even though our Firm has diversified to offer legal services in other areas of the law, admiralty is the practice area that has existed since the Firm opened for business in 1968.

Other Practice Areas & Services