Douglas Burnett has 36 years’ experience as a maritime and admiralty attorney. His practice focuses on maritime, energy and telecommunications industries in the marine domain, including litigation, arbitration and regulatory disputes. His clients include major companies that own international cables and the ships that lay and maintain them, major energy, logistics and shipping companies with disputes involving transportation, commodity contracts and admiralty claims concerning petroleum and chemical products, LNG and LPG, and regulation of deep water ports and ocean terminals. He has successfully arbitrated and mediated cases before the International Chamber of Commerce, American Arbitration Association, Society of Maritime Arbitrators and North American Export Grain Association. Douglas has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America for his maritime practice and is rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell.
He is the International Law Adviser to the International Cable Protection Committee (ICPC), which represents nearly 166 companies from 60 countries that own or operate the global submarine telecommunications and power cables, and operate the cable ships that lay and maintain these systems. He is a subject matter expert on international law, treaties and their application to ocean commerce. He counsels clients on their rights and responsibilities under international law, associated treaties and national legislation, including the US Jones Act. He has presented on maritime and law of the sea topics at numerous international workshops, diplomatic side events at the UN and conferences, most recently in Rome, Germany, Ankara, Indonesia, Singapore and Beijing. Douglas has been a frequent invited expert lecturer on international law at the Rhodes Academy on Ocean Law and Policy in Greece, most recently in 2016. He is a task force member of the Hoover Institute Arctic Security Initiative (2015-2016). He is an editor and co-author of Submarine Cables The Handbook of Law and Policy (2014) and co-author of Submarine Cables and Biodiversity in the Area Beyond National Jurisdiction-the Cloud Is Beneath the Seas (2017), both published by Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, which are considered the leading references on submarine cables and policy, law and regulation.
In 2007 he provided expert testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on accession to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the ratification of the 1984 Agreement regarding Part XI of the Convention.
Douglas is a member of several professional organizations including The Maritime Law Association of the United States, where he currently serves as chair of the Committee on International Law of the Sea, a position he has held from 1996 to 2017; the New York County Lawyers Association, where he chaired its Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee from 2003 to 2007; and the Instituto Iberoamericano de Derecho Maritimo. He is also chair of the Law and Education Committee of IEEE-OES. Since 2000 he has served on the Trade and Investment Committee of the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce in New York.
Douglas served in the Brazil Navy as an exchange officer from 1976 to 1978, as a deck and operations officer aboard USS CAMDEN AOE-2, and as an operations officer with the Military Sealift Command of the US Navy where he was recalled to active duty during the first Gulf war. He also served as commanding officer of several units involving maritime logistics. Douglas holds the rank of Captain USN (ret.).
Reported Cases and Arbitration Awards
US Maritime Cases
Society of Maritime Arbitrator Award Decisions