Mammoet Salvage Americas (MSA) – an internationally known salvage company – entered into a Wreckhire 2010 salvage contract with Pico, the Mexican subsidiary of an Egyptian drilling company.

In November 2011 the Pico 4 liftboat suffered catastrophic damage while attempting to perform work alongside a fixed platform owned and operated by Pemex in the Bay of Campeche. As a result, the liftboat's legs had to be severed from its hull and left on the seabed, where they were imbedded in mud and clay.

Pico and its underwriters hired MSA to retrieve the legs. However, Pico failed to provide critical information regarding the weight of the legs and their penetration depths, which resulted in significant delays. Eventually, Pico began to delay its payments to MSA and eventually stopped making them pursuant to the terms of the salvage contract.

Despite numerous attempts to resolve the dispute, MSA was forced to commence arbitration proceedings in New York pursuant to the terms of the salvage contract. After more than 18 months of proceedings and several weeks of hearings, the arbitration panel unanimously awarded MSA over $28 million for Pico's breach of:

  • the clear language found in the salvage contract; and
  • the addendum negotiated by the parties.

The panel issued a nearly 50-page well-reasoned opinion, which will be published by the Society of Maritime Arbitrators.

For further information please contact please contact Timothy Strickland or Stacey Norstrud at Fowler Rodriguez by telephone (+1 713 654 1560) or email (strick@frfirm.com or sn@frfirm.com). The Fowler Rodriguez website can be accessed at www.frfirm.com.

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