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Office of the Chief Counsel

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The Office of Chief Counsel provides legal advice and services to all offices of the Maritime Administration (MARAD) of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Office of Chief Counsel staff is fully committed to the MARAD mission to promote the development and maintenance of the United States merchant marine, and to ensure the United States maintains adequate shipbuilding and repair services, efficient ports, effective inter-modal transportation systems, and reserve shipping capacity for use in times of national emergency.


The MARAD Office of Chief Counsel is under the direction and supervision of the Chief Counsel, who reports to the Maritime Administrator. The Chief Counsel is appointed by the Secretary of Transportation, with approval of the President. The Chief Counsel and Deputy Chief Counsel lead a dedicated team of lawyers and support staff. The principal areas of their legal practice include:

  • Legislation and Regulation
  • Information Law
  • Government Acquisitions and Grants
  • Issues related to use, sale, reefing, and donation of vessels
  • Environmental Law
  • Employment and Labor Law
  • International Law
  • Ship financial guarantees under 46 United States Code Chapter 537, capital construction funds, and Maritime Security Program Agreements

Office of Chief Counsel attorneys also provide advice relating to administration of the following maritime programs: (1) Cargo preference; (2) domestic cabotage; (3) war risk and marine insurance; (4) the American Fisheries Act; and, (5) vessel documentation.

Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2018