U.S. lien: pirate ransom money reached?

“The wording could definitely be construed to make payments of ransoms illegal,” Bruce Paulsen, a partner at Seward & Kissel in New York, who negotiated a ransom payment with Somali pirates for a U.S. owned ship hijacked in 2008, said about the new executive order. “The wording is just vague enough to give the Treasury some flexibility in how they apply it.*
Holman Fenwick Willan, which was established in 1883 by a prominent shipping family, is the leader in the field. Partner James Gosling is an acknowledged piracy expert. As at April 2009 he had advised shipowners in almost 30 ransom negotiations off the Horn of Africa. Partner Toby Stephens is another piracy expert.

* Ince & Co has acted for war risk underwriters and shipowners in piracy kidnaps and ransoms in the Horn of Africa, the Niger Delta and the Straits of Malacca. Partner Stephen Askins, a former officer in the Royal Marines, is the firm's leading piracy expert.

* Stephenson Harwood has also been involved in hijack situations. Partner Duncan MacDonald, a specialist in negotiations and contractual disputes, appears to be this firm's main piracy expert.

Kenya's Mr. Kadima, 50, who took on his first piracy case in March, said he had yet to see a shilling from any of his piracy cases, though he conceded that the publicity was good for business.

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