Banking and Marine Finance

We specialize in . . .

We specialize in . . .

IMG has strong financial services practice, with experience touching all aspects of marine finance.  Whether you are an investment advisor looking to expand your maritime portfolio, an institutional lender enforcing a preferred ship mortgage, or a shipowner trying to understand your rights and responsibilities under a finance or lease agreement, our attorneys can help navigate you through these challenging waters.

We advise financial institutions, private equity firms, shipowners, lessees, operators, and others on all aspects of asset finance issues ranging from purchase, sale, or lease transactions to remedies in default and maritime lien enforcement. We also assist clients with restructurings, including asset buybacks, sale and leasebacks and refinancing.

IMG attorneys routinely represent banks and other financial institutions with their asset-based loans and asset recovery actions, and have years of experience negotiating forbearance or debt restructuring agreements well before any maritime litigation, foreclosure, or arrests actions are undertaken. When matters turn contentious and litigation or an arrest action is unavoidable, IMG will carefully assist our institutional clients in enforcing their rights as secured and unsecured creditors—regardless of the forum, type of proceeding, or governing law.


  • Over $1,000,000.00 judgment from the Western District of Washington for breach of preferred ship mortgage and deficiency.
  • Over $225,000.00 judgment for attorneys’ fees in deficiency collection action.
  • Judgment in favor of lender dismissing borrower’s against claims of Uniform Commercial Code violations during repossession and sale of vessel.
  • Negotiated payments from defaulted borrower based upon vessel security agreement.
  • Perfection and enforcement of claim of maritime lien and notice of lien for vessel necessaries.

R. Isaak Hurst, Esq.

Founder and Principal Attorney

  • 24/7 Emergency Response
  • Contract Negotiation and Drafting 
  • U.C.C. Commercial Reasonableness Expertise 
  • Arbitration and Litigation
  • Vessel Arrests

or call (206) 707-8338
to speak to someone today.

How We Can Help

Transactional Guidence and Legal Support

IMG takes pride in helping customers who are burdened with large volumes of contracts or unique maritime agreements. Our team of expert attorneys works as an extension of our customers’ teams, taking on routine tasks that can be managed efficiently and effectively by us, which again results in significant cost savings to our clients. By outsourcing key components of contract drafting, review, and management to us, we enhance our clients’ productivity and scalability, which results in significant cost savings to our clients. Importantly, the use of our talents will free up our clients’ internal resources for doing the high value work that they do best.

Preferred Ship Mortgage
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Arbitration and Litigation

Our attorneys bring energy, personal attention, industry knowledge, and substantive legal expertise to each matter. Our clients, whether they are large multinationals or small vessel owner/operators, turn to us for help with their most difficult legal issues. We work closely with our clients to understand their businesses, identify potential areas of legal exposure, devise strategies to manage risk, and, where appropriate, resolve disputes short of trial. As a result, IMG is able to tailor its advice to our clients’ needs and circumstances in a manner calculated to achieve the best possible result in each case.

Navigating Non-Judicial Foreclosures of Preferred Ship Mortgages

Mortgages and supporting loan agreements often provide that the mortgagee may take possession of the mortgaged vessel and conduct a private non-judicial sale of the vessel.

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IMG is a Proud Member and Supporter of the National Marine Lenders Association.

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Frequently Asked Questions

A maritime lien is an extremely powerful legal tool.  Essentially it is a non-possessory property right of a non-owner in a vessel, its earned freight, cargo or other maritime property that gives the lienholder the right in admiralty courts to have the property sold and the proceeds distributed to the lienholder to satisfy an in rem debt of the property. 

A Preferred Ship Mortgage is a special lien on a mortgaged vessel.  The weight of the lien is the amount of the indebtedness on the vessel, which is secured by the mortgage. The purpose of preferred ship mortgages is to encourage private investment by protecting creditors in the cases of default, thus protected status may extend to shareholders and management of owning entities, so long as the mortgage is not a sham to shield the vessel owner’s property from legitimate creditors.

The ranking of maritime liens is filled with legal confusion and great obscurity.  Nevertheless, maritime liens generally are ranked as follows:

  1. Expenses of the administration of justice, including those necessary to preserve a vessel while it is in custodia legis.
  2. Crew members’ liens for wages, including statutory penalties, and maintenance and cure.
  3. Salvage liens.
  4. Maritime tort liens, including liens from collision, personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage.
  5. Preferred mortgage liens. In general, the preferred mortgage lien is outranked by contract liens arising before the mortgage and outranks those arising subsequently. If the preferred ship mortgage is foreign, however, the mortgage lien is outranked by all contract liens for necessaries provided in the United States.
  6. Contract liens, including those arising under the Commercial Instruments and Maritime Liens Act for necessaries.
  7. State law liens of a maritime nature.
  8. Government tax claims.

After determining the class of a lien, it is then prioritized in accordance with its time of accrual. The general rule is that liens have priority inverse to the order of accrual, i.e., “last on, first off.”

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