PICO to Pay for Mammoet Contract Breach

Tim Strickland accepts an appreciation plaque from Bas Coppes, President of Mammoet Salvage Americas.

By MarEx 2016-05-26 18:41:29

Mammoet Salvage Americas has won over $28 million in arbitration against PICO, a Mexican subsidiary of an Egyptian drilling company arising from a dispute over the salvage of the liftboat PICO 4.

Fowler Rodriguez represented Mammoet Salvage Americas (MSA) who entered into a Wreckhire 2010 salvage contract with PICO. In November 2011, the PICO 4 suffered a catastrophic punch through while attempting to perform work alongside a fixed platform owned and operated by PEMEX in the Bay of Campeche, Mexico. As a result of the punch through, the lift boat legs had to be severed from the vessel's hull and left on the sea floor imbedded in mud and clay. 

MSA was hired by PICO and its underwriters to retrieve the legs. However, PICO failed to provide critical information relating to the legs weights and penetration depths which resulted in significant delays. The legs were located in a water depth of approximately 45 meters in close proximity to an operational platform with high-pressure oil pipelines. Mammoet Salvage hired the vessel Topaz Captain to pull the legs out of the seabed and successfully lift them to the surface and land them on a barge.

However, PICO began to slow pay and eventually stopped making payments to MSA.

After numerous attempts to resolve the dispute, MSA commenced arbitration proceedings in New York City. A team of lawyers from Fowler Rodriguez led by Tim Strickland, managing partner in Houston, worked on the arbitration which took over one and a half years to complete with several weeks of hearings in New York City. 

After nearly a year of deliberation, the Panel unanimously awarded MSA over $28 million for PICO's breach of the clear language found in the Wreckhire and the addendum negotiated between the parties.